There’s been a lot of talk lately about the highly anticipated film Maleficent, starring Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie as Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. Everyone I’ve spoken to can’t wait to see Angelina and her cheekbones on the big screen again (after her four-year hiatus) when the film hits movie theaters on May 30. The only question is who do you think is going to see this movie?
By now, anyone who has heard of Sleeping Beauty knows the premise of the story Maleficent places an irrevocable curse upon the king’s newborn infant Aurora, who is played by Ellie Fanning in the film. Aurora is caught between the forest kingdom she loves and the “human” kingdom that holds her legacy before Maleficent realizes that the princess holds the key to peace for both lands.
Directed by Robert Stromberg, who previously worked as a production designer on Alice in Wonderland and Oz: The Great and Powerful, many parents are concerned that Angelina Jolie’s character, complete with horns and a villainess look in her eyes that only she can perfect, might be a little too terrifying for young children. But is it?
The same was said about 2013’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, which starred James Franco and Mila Kunis. Critics deemed the movie “too scary” for children, which proved to be a massive hit for Disney Studios. Many parents took their first-graders along with their tweens to see the movie, which was described as very “entertaining, funny, and magical,” with a core message in believing in yourself.
With Maleficent, there’s no doubt that there’s been heavy interest in the film, with over 4 million views of its YouTube trailer last month along with 1.8 million likes on its Facebook fan page. While many fans think that this movie is going to be a huge box office success, it looks like critics are still unsure as to how it will be a success and with which target audience. Still, how scary can a PG-rated movie be?
While I have been dying to see this movie since I first saw photos of Angelina Jolie in costume, filming in the English countryside last year, I’ve been unsure if I want to take my 6-year-old daughter to see the film. After giving it much thought, I’ve ultimately decided that I want to give it a try. While she’s very interested in Disney princesses and movies, we haven’t made the jump from animation movies to live-action fantasy films just yet. But I have to start somewhere, right?
What I plan on doing is explaining to her who Angelina Jolie is — how she’s just a mom of six children, with a daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt (who plays the young Aurora/Briar Rose in the film) being almost the same age as her. Angelina Jolie even said herself that her own children were scared when she was in costume and makeup during shooting, which lead to the decision to cast Vivienne for the role of the young Princess Aurora, as she was the only little girl who wasn’t frightened of Maleficent (AKA: her mother).
I will try explaining the premise of the story so we can focus more on the characters than on the CGI affects and the darkness surrounding certain parts of the movie. In both the beginning and the end of the movie, I want her to realize that this is just a film, played by characters that are actors in real life. And while some elements can be a little scary on the big screen, that shouldn’t translate to fear offscreen.
After all, the live-action Maleficent is no different than any of the witches of villains she’s seen in the animated versions of her favorite classic Disney films. Plus, if my daughter can make it it through the incinerator scene in Toy Story 3, she can definitely make it through this. And if Snow White and the Huntsman found an audience, this one will too. Plus, let’s not underestimate the media-savvy children of our younger generation. Kids these days are smart, well-adjusted, and love a good mythic epic story.
Tell us Babble readers, do you plan on taking your children to see Maleficent? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photos via Disney Studios
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