Animated Maleficent takes villainy to a whole new level.
We are now into the month full of spine-chilling terror. We devote October to Disney’s antiheroes and their notable sordid acts. Few Disney villains can send chills down our spine with an existence so sinister, so evil, that we perceive a sense of fear. So what animated Maleificen so deserving of her “Mistress of All Evil” title? With her second movie, Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil creeping up upon us on October 18, it is clear the most devilish sorceress is still a fan favorite.
Maleficent made her first appearance as the antagonist in the 1959 classic tale Sleeping Beauty, archetypal fairy tale, well-loved all over the globe. She’s the entity of pure evil, accountable for every tragedy in the realm of King Stephen. With her composure and intimidating demeanor, she opposes all who defy her. She strikes with a vigorous effort while holding an aggressive disposition. She remains persistent as she strives towards her corrupt goals without any guilt in her mind. Her artifice makes her exciting to observe; the way she uses her magic is compelling.
The King and Queen insult Maleficent when they fail to send her an invitation to Princess Aurora’s christening. She cannot bear the offense. Clouded with a vengeance, she casts on the newborn child a curse only True Love’s Kiss can sever. To doom a child, it takes pure heartlessness which Maleficent embodies unapologetically.
The very name Maleficent prefigures pure conscious evil. She is cruel and uncompromising, giving everything she can to meet her evil ends. We learn of her incite behavior displayed by her taunting Prince Philip after his capture. She provides an ominous feeling to everyone around her.
Her best-known statement betrays her narcissism:
“You poor simple fools, thinking you could defeat me. Me, the Mistress of all Evil.”
She feels superior to all living creatures, even marking her allies in the legion, her supporters, a horde of goblins and troll-like beasts, her “pets.”
In addition to her deviance is a manipulative personality, often spiteful. Yet Maleficent unleashes the full bulk of her vengeance with a grin under the mask of stoicism. During their first encounter at Aurora’s Birthday Celebration, we see clearly how much she enjoys watching others suffer. When Merryweather asserts, “You weren’t wanted,” Maleficent appears stunned and wounded, while snidely remarking: “In that event, I’d best be on my way.” Yet, she spins around and casts a spell on Aurora, cackling in her sweet vengeance.
Her prominence is about much more than her nature though; it’s also in her style. Her stylish gothic looks, flashy animation, further built her legendary status among Disney villains. Animated Maleficent arises as a tall, slim, slender sorceress with green skin. Marc Davis designed her to resemble a vampire bat with a long, narrow chin, arching eyebrows, and a grin that was far more menacing than her scowl. She has yellow eyes with a horned headdress indicative of her dark powers.
Animated Maleficent is designed with a bat wing-like robe decorated in purple and black. The prominent appearance of her magic staff is her source of powers, including her ability to manipulate her form. Capable of taking many forms, such as a mesmerizing light resembling the will-o’-the-wisp and an enormous purple and black dragon.
The live-action movie Maleficent is much more complicated than Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent is beloved and legendary in the Disney universe because her motive is insubstantial. She takes the absence of an invitation to Aurora’s ceremony as a declaration of war whereas the live-action gives her a reason to commit the despicable acts she chooses, and more dimension born from a tragic backstory.
The film takes Maleficent in a new direction as she engages with and grows close to Aurora. Most particularly, her behavior is out of character and makes little sense. Being a mother figure is the last role she should portray; Maleficent is simply incapable of love or compassion.
In shows such as Descendants, Maleficent takes on a parental role. Also, shows portray her character as the “comic relief.” Disney makes Maleficent more emotional with funny characteristics. For many reasons, that harms the character and her very nature. Animated Maleficent is not comical like other villains are — even though at intervals, she exhibits a wicked sense of humor. She has an intimidating aura and she holds herself with sophistication and beauty.
So why is Maleficent a beloved Disney villain? For the simple reason that she is irredeemably evil. She is corrupt and petty; she curses a baby out of spite and on a whim. Maleficent is harmful and, by far, one of the most competent in her treachery, compared to other Disney villains. Maleficent raised the bar high and paved the way for the other villains to follow her legacy. As one of Disney’s greatest mischief-makers, she certainly holds the title of the Mistress of all Evil in our hearts.
What are your thoughts on Maleficent?