And potentially the greatest Disney villain of all time, and yet she didn’t even make my list of Disney villains. Why?
A lot of critics give a lot of flak to Dreamworks for not being Pixar, or Disney. Well, sometimes Pixar isn’t Pixar either. For myself, I find most of the Dreamworks movies to be fair to good, somewhere in the C+ to B range. And frankly, that’s fine by me. These are actually movies made for children that adults can enjoy, rather than many of the best Pixar movies which are movies that are made for adults that children can enjoy. So the Dreamworks movies may be simpler. Sometimes simple is great.
I’ve written a long entry on how Disney is creatively robbing its own vault to avoid even beginning to try to bank on a new idea. Disney is taking a lot of the animated classics and remaking them as live-action movies. I thought this was silly and creatively bankrupt to begin with, but the next live-action remake is just absurd – The Lion King. The Lion King. You know, the movie about all the talking animals with celebrity voices? The movie with absolutely no people in it at all because it’s about the LION king?
This is basically the Disney special of the previous entry on re-whatevers.
So I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks because my life isn’t conforming to the schedule I need to do that. For reasons. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t care much for watching dramas because I feel life has enough drama that I don’t need to get invested in fictional drama to punch me in the feels. I understand the purpose of fictional drama is emotional catharsis; the audience gets emotionally invested in the story and whether or not there’s a happy ending, the audience gets to release all that emotion. I understand the theory but do not usually indulge in the practice, again, because life puts me in plenty of situations where my emotions are already wrapped up.
But I do occasionally make exceptions, and here are two. Option 1 is the darker option that doesn’t have a happy ending, although there is a conclusion. Option 2 is the lighter option with a happy ending and shorter.
Hallmark manufactured a holiday called “Sweetest Day” to be in October as kind of a second Valentine’s Day to cash in all that gushy and sweet romance money. I, of course, don’t care but it did give me some food for thought (although perhaps not an original one). I have many thoughts on romance as it is portrayed in media, and for many, many children, their first exposure to the concept of “true love” is through Disney movies in general and the classic fairytale interpretations specifically. What movies/couples am I talking about?
1) Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – Snow White and Prince Charming
2) Cinderella – Cinderella and Prince Charming II
3) Sleeping Beauty – Aurora/Briar Rose and Philip
4) The Little Mermaid – Ariel and Eric
5) Beauty and the Beast – Belle and the Beast
6) Aladdin – Jasmine and Aladdin
7) The Princess and the Frog – Tiana and Naveen
8) Tangled – Rapunzel and Flynn
9) Frozen – Anna and Hans/Anna and Sven
This is a horrible introduction to romance or romantic relationships in general.
or, “Maleficient deserved better”
Book – Today nameless Kingdom 1 is celebrating the birth of Princess Aurora. Everyone’s been invited except the fairy Maleficient. I’m sure this will go well.
King Hubert (of nameless Kingdom 2) – Philip, meet your new bride.
Philip – I’m like 6 years old and she’s like 6 weeks old.
King Hubert – Welcome to the joys of arranged marriages. It’ll be fine once you both grow up a bit.
Flora – We’re here to bestow special gifts on the baby princess.
King Stefan – That’s cool.
Flora – I give the gift of beauty, because that’s the kind of message we send little girls. Nothing is more important than looks.
Fauna – I give the gift of song, because even a pretty girl needs some kind of talent. This seems like a good one for a princess who isn’t expected to really do anything.
Merriweather – I give the gift of…
[[Maleficient appears in a cloud of smoke]]
Maleficient – Hold it right there! So you decided to have a birthday party for the princess and you didn’t invite me?
Merriweather – Duh, of course not, because you’re evil.
Maleficient – Yes, that’s true, but it shows you have no common sense because saying that is only guaranteed to make me mad.
King Stefan – Um, would you like to join the party?
Maleficient – Yeah, I don’t think so, losers. But I’ll give the princess a gift too. On her sixteenth birthday, the pretty pretty princess will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and DIE.
King Stefan – Hey, stop her or something!
[[Maleficient vanishes in a puff of green smoke and evil laughter]]
Merriweather – You gotta admit, she’s got style.
Flora – Merriweather, focus! She just cursed the princess to die and you’re the only one who can help her.
King Stefan – You can undo the curse?
Merriweather – Um, no, because Maleficient is really powerful. But I can try to give the curse a happy ending. My gift is that the princess won’t die, but will fall asleep until awakened by true love’s first kiss.
King Stefan – Well that’s nice and romantic but I’m going to try to prevent this curse from happening. Burn all the spinning wheels in the kingdom!
Nameless queen – But that will destroy our textile industry! Darn that Maleficient!
Flora – We think it would be best for us to take your only daughter into hiding for sixteen years. We’ll raise her by ourselves without magic.
Merriweather – Without magic? Is that a good idea?
Flora – Maleficient will never think of it.
Merriweather – That doesn’t really answer the question.
Cottage in the Woods (~sixteen years later):
Flora – Well, we’ve successfully managed to raise a child for nearly sixteen years. Tomorrow is her birthday and we’ll take her home to her parents who must miss her terribly.
Merriweather – Why are we taking her home the day the curse is supposed to go down? Wouldn’t it be better to wait until after her sixteenth birthday?
Flora – Don’t start talking sense. Let’s send Briar Rose out into the woods while we make her a special dress and cake and clean up the cottage.
[[The fairies send Briar Rose out on a frivolous errand]]
Flora – Right. I’ll make the dress, Fauna makes the cake, and Merriweather cleans the house.
Merriweather – Typical.
Briar Rose – I just love the forest and all the animals and singing to the animals. And all the animals love me too, isn’t that right cute furry creatures?
Cute furry creatures – Right!
Briar Rose – Even though I’ve been raised by three strange women and don’t remember ever seeing a boy, I’m still dreaming of a prince who will come and fall in love with me and take me away from all this because that’s totally what girls dream about. Isn’t that wonderful and not at all pathetic?
Cute furry creatures – Right!
[[Briar Rose starts singing about her prince and coincidence of coincidences, the now grown Prince Philip happens to hear her singing and goes to investigate]]
Philip – That is the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen and she sings so well. Of course, she is singing to animals who appear to be dancing with her, but she’s so gosh darn pretty I don’t find that in any way weird or creepy. I’ll just join in here.
Briar Rose – So my animal friends are singing back. That’s…weird…no, wait, it’s a man. I mean, I’m guessing a man. I don’t remember ever seeing one and I have no idea how they should behave so I’m going to assume watching me from the woods and interfering in my singing time is romantic or something.
Philip – This is totally romantic. It’s like your dream, right?
Briar Rose – Well, luckily for you, none of the magical gifts I got when I was born included the least modicum of intelligence or common sense, so I am totally going to be in love with you at the end of this song.
Philip – It turns out intelligence and common sense don’t run in my inbred family line either, so I’m also going to be in love with you by the end of this song. Also, this sends the message that sixteen is the perfect marrying age for a girl.
Merriweather – You know, seeing how difficult it is for you two to make a dress and cake makes me wonder how in the world we managed to raise that girl from infancy to near adulthood without magic. I mean, I know that this is a fancy dress and a fancy cake, but the principles of cooking and sewing are the same no matter the scale or difficulty.
Flora – I told you to quit talking sense. Obviously we’re just clueless about this one very specific thing.
Merriweather – Well, okay, fine, if we’re going to ignore sense, let’s just use magic and get this done quickly and competently.
Flora – That’s not a bad idea. Just this once though. Let’s patch up every crack just to make sure no magic can be seen from the outside.
Maleficient – How hard is it for you idiots to find the princess?
Minion – Well, there are a lot of babies in the kingdom.
Maleficient – *blink blink* I guess I answered my own question. Move it before I roast you. Crow familiar, you’re the only one with any intelligence here besides myself. Go find that princess so I can make sure my curse goes down.
[[in the meantime, Briar Rose and Philip go their separate ways without even remembering to ask each other’s names]]
Flora – Pink!
Merriweather – Blue!
Flora – Pink!
Merriweather – Blue!
Crow familiar – Even the pig things probably would have seen this gratuitous display of magic. Well, back to my Mistress of Evil.
Fairies – Surprise! You’re totally a princess!
Briar Rose – Can I still marry this young man I just met and fell in love with?
Flora – Um, no. You’re already betrothed to marry Prince Philip. But hey, you’re a princess, not a peasant girl. Isn’t that great?
Briar Rose – Nothing matters without love. [[goes off to weep uncontrollably]]
Merriweather – Where did she learn that kind of angst?
Flora – Apparently teenage girls are born with it.
King Hubert – So are you ready to meet the girl you’re going to marry?
Philip – Yes. I just met her in the woods and I don’t even know her name.
King Hubert – You’re already betrothed and she’s coming her tonight!
Philip – Yeah, that’s great, but I’m going to get the mystery girl in the woods and bring her back here to marry. Laters! [[rides off]]
King Hubert – That’s great, son, just wreck any chance at long-lasting diplomatic ties with another kingdom because you think you’ve fallen in love. Marriage for royalty is not about love, darn it. And now I have to break the news to Stefan.
[[thus begins a drunken musical number that proves intelligence and common sense don’t run in either of these royal families]]
[[The fairies have left to escort Briar Rose/Aurora back to the palace, leaving the cottage empty]]
Philip – Hey, girl I was singing with today, are you here? I’m going to take you back with me and marry you. Also, it would be useful if I knew your name. [[is captured by Maleficient’s goons]]
Maleficient – Well, not what I was hoping to catch, but I’ll take you to my dungeon just in case you’re actually that bubble-headed blonde’s true love.
[[So, to review, the fairies have chosen to bring the princess back to the palace the very day the curse is supposed to go down instead of the day after when ostensibly the curse is broken by default and for whatever reason chose to bring her in secret so no one even knows to guard her or anything]]
Flora – So wait here and we’ll go get the king and queen. You know, your parents who will be happy to see you and will treat you like the princess you are, not a peasant girl. Seriously, do you know how much better your life is about to be as a princess?
Aurora – Nothing matters without love. [[weeps uncontrollably]]
Fauna – Maybe we should have let her date or something.
Merriweather – I’m beginning to think I should have gifted her with some common sense and intelligence. Then she wouldn’t be acting so ungrateful and wouldn’t be at risk for jamming her finger onto the spindle of a spinning wheel.
Flora – Merriweather, you’re talking sense again. Stop it. Princesses don’t need intelligence or common sense. They need beauty and a talent. She’s all set.
[[Fairies leave to fetch the royals while Maleficient takes advantage of their absence to enchant the princess into following the in no way ominous green light]]
Flora – Ok, so the reception is all set…Where did she go?
Merriweather – Probably going to find a spinning wheel. You know, it might have been a good idea to tell her about the curse so she would know better.
Flora – Merriweather.
Merriweather – Right, I’m trying to be sensible again. Let’s go find her.
[[The princess reaches the top of the tower where she finds a spinning wheel and more ominous green light; she touches the spindle and the fairies barge in]]
Flora – Maleficient! Where’s the princess?
Maleficient – Unconscious on the floor because she didn’t have the sense not to follow the ominous green light or to not touch the sharp pointy thing. But you didn’t give her any common sense or intelligence, did you? By the way, it wasn’t real smart bringing her the day of the curse deadline, losers. [[vanishes in green smoke]]
Fauna – Oh dear. How are we going to tell the king and queen we utterly failed?
Flora – We won’t. We’ll put the whole kingdom to sleep so they never know.
Merriweather – Wow, doesn’t that seem a little, well, evil to you?
Flora – Do you want to explain this to the king? Anyway, we just need to go find that young man she was talking about and get him to kiss her.
[[The fairies proceed to put the whole kingdom to sleep and head back to the woods to find the mystery boy; when they find the cottage is wrecked, they put two and two together and head to Maleficient’s to bust him out, which is pretty pathetic since he’s supposed to be the dashing prince]]
Evil Lair (Dungeon):
Maleficient – So here’s the deal. You are an idiot. That mystery girl you fell in love with this afternoon, or whatever approximates love in that empty head of yours, is actually the princess you’re betrothed to. That’s great, right? Yeah, except I cursed her and now she’s asleep until she’s woken up by true love’s first kiss, which is you. But I’m not totally heartless. I’ll let you out in a hundred years so you can go awaken your lady-love, which she is sure to appreciate even though you’ll be a decrepit old man.
Philip – Wow, that is evil. I mean, really evil.
Maleficient – I know. Laters!
[[The fairies manage to sneak into the Evil Lair and bust Philip out of the dungeon]]
Flora – We need you to wake up the princess. Here’s a magic sword and shield so you can be the dashing hero.
Merriweather – And I’m taking out that crow! [[turns it to stone]]
Flora – Wow, doesn’t that seem a little, well, evil to you?
Merriweather – On the surface of it, yes, but I’m a good fairy so whatever I do is good, right?
Flora – Right. And that totally justifies me putting the whole kingdom to sleep.
[[Philip proceeds to saving at every turn until finally he gets out of the Evil Lair]]
Merriweather – You sure this is the right dashing prince, Flora?
Maleficient – Fine. You want something done right, you do it yourself. [[covers the castle with thorny vines to slow up the inept prince]] You want a fight, you got a fight. Just me and all the powers of Hell! [[Maleficient undergoes an awesome transformation into an awesomer dragon]]
Fauna – Can she say that word? It’s 1959!
Flora – Wow. She did say that. Well, slay that dragon, Philip.
Philip – I, er, just dropped my enchanted shield.
Merriweather – *facepalm*
Flora – Fine, fine, we’ll enchant the already enchanted sword to kill the dragon if you can manage to throw the pointy end at the dragon.
Philip – Right, the pointy end goes in the terrifying monster! [[throws sword which stabs the dragon through the heart]]
Maleficient – If I was completely heartless, this wouldn’t have killed me. This is not fair! The princess is utterly vapid, the prince isn’t much better and is a lousy hero, and you are the cutesy-est fairies ever animated! I deserve a better fate! I deserve to be defeated by a better hero!
Merriweather – You’ll just have to wait until “Kingdom Hearts.” Cheer up, maybe you’ll even get your own movie someday.
Maleficient – AAGH!! [[dies]]
[[All the thorns magically go away and Philip finds the princess. He manages to kiss her on the first try, which breaks the spell and they proceed to the reception]]
Fauna – How nice everyone got a happy ending. Except Maleficient.
Merriweather – She had style.
Flora – Speaking of which, why is that dress blue? It should be pink!
Merriweather – Blue!
Flora – Pink!
[[And the book is closed on them; poor Maleficient; she did deserve better]]