Heroes are all the same. Tall, handsome, brave and in love with the lead lady. In a Disney movie, it is even more so. To me they have always been the most boring characters in a story. They are all cast from the same mold and sickeningly nice.
The villains, now they are the meat of the movie. From Cinderella’s stepmom, Captain Hook, Voldemort, the wicked witch of sleeping beauty the variety, breath and range that a villain can have is truly amazing. So expecting to see some serious badass, I eagerly got the tickets to Angelina Jolie starrer Disney’s most iconic villain – Maleficent.
The trailer and the hoardings were scary enough. But I was in for a surprise and how! Maleficent was just a name. She was so benign in the movie. The movie, adapted from sleeping beauty tells the tale from the wicked witch’s point of view this time around. I guess it would be logical to expect arrogance, attitude and some scheming plots resulting in gruesome climax with the Prince slaying of the protagonist. The movie confused my simple concepts of hero and villain.
The Prince was not the true love, Maleficent was not really cruel and happily ever after did not lead to marriage.
But wait! This is not the first time Disney has changed the logic this way. The last three movies of the Prince-Princess genre has this different ending.
The change may have begun with the orange haired impulsive Merida who defies the necessity of a Prince for her to lead a happy life in the movie Brave. It was a movie on girl empowerment and a tribute to mother daughter relationship though with some distaff twists.
Later came the magnificent Frozen – a movie where again the stereotyped Prince did not thaw the ice but the sister’s true love.
Now we have maleficent – a witch who cursed in rage and slowly over years becomes attached to the baby, whom she incidentally calls beasty. And finally it’s her maternal tears and kiss that brings sleeping beauty out of the spell.
I am not sure what upsets me more. Maleficent not having a good villain or the Disney has stopped believing in regular true love stories.
I think this opinion is in continuation with my previous post on changing faces of the female protagonists in YA fiction. This maybe yet another facet. Women do not need the love, affection and approval of a man, not even if he’s a Prince and not even in a Disney movie.
As a lover of all things fiction, I have ambiguous feelings – my hero and villain are greyer now than black or white but as a marketing enthusiast I wonder what will companies like De Beers do now? Will we now have diamonds for sisters and mothers as the only way to say we love them?