With everyone going mad on social media for the new Disney film Maleficent - a retelling of the original Sleeping Beauty film, from the point of view of the villian - I expected the film to live up to its reputation, especially with Twitter fans going wild with the #malificentpremier hashtag, Disney posting sneak previews in the run up to its release, interviews with the leading lady and CGI effects used.
When the first clips of Angelina Jolie in the title role were released, the hype started to grow. Throw in a re-imagined version of “Once Upon A Dream” sung by pop artist Lana del Rey in a haunting style - along with an intense marketing and social media campaign - and Disney can’t fail, right?
I’m no film critic, but the one thing I do know about (sadly) is Disney films! The fairy tale ending that Disney made us all buy into, where every girl is a princess, and being a morally righteous brand for children, is slipping away with each film they release.
Earlier this year Disney released Frozen and it was a huge success all over the world. An original cartoon film, with a fabulous soundtrack (sparking off vines all over the world – watch the best here) it became one of the most well-known films worldwide in a few days, and left social media to create a huge build-up of quizzes, debates and fan fiction following the film, making sure that social kept the film’s hype alive.
However, what Disney doesn't do well is recreating the original cartoon films it made years ago. Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, and now Sleeping Beauty have all been ripped apart by a dark and misleading world that completely contradicts the original film.
If you haven’t seen the original Sleeping Beauty, you might even enjoy Maleficent. But, if like me, you know the original, this new version will likely be the inspiration of many eye-rolling moments, with its extreme re-setting of the narrative table and obvious contradictions.
Angelina Jolie’s acting seems to be the best part of the film (just have a look at the tweets about her!) with her ever changing English accents bringing out the mostly Scottish and Irish accents from the other actors (I thought Sleeping Beauty was American?!). The stand-out moment for Jolie ends up being the “curse” scene, which (ironically) borrows dialogue straight from 1959’s Sleeping Beauty.
There are lots of mixed opinions about the film on social media - Disney’s very own Maleficent account tweets hourly, not to mention all the high profile celebrities! Pictures and clips from the film all over the web and social media leave you in love with the film before you’ve even seen it! This begs the question – does social media influence your opinion of films? In my case, no
A large majority of the Twitter population is raving about the film and from the Twitter images, I thought it looked amazing. The artistry behind it is also fabulous, but that sadly that doesn’t make up for the script and the storyline.
In my opinion, Disney - stick to doing what you do best. That is creating children’s films with morals and cute songs and posting cute pictures of Bambi from your Twitter account and leave the modern action films to the big boys.