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« Sundance / Netflix Instant: 'Mitt' Stays on the Surface | Main | We Can't Wait #7: Snowpiercer »
Tuesday
Jan282014

Yes, No, Maybe So: Maleficent

My favorite moment of the Grammys Sunday night was the premiere of the Maleficent trailer set to Lana Del Rey's hypnotically sinister version of Disney's "Once Upon a Dream"! Runner up was Imagine Dragons. Second Runner Up was Madonna resurrecting "Open Your Heart" briefly while people of all persuasions married (awwww) thereby rescuing me from that obnoxious if well-intentioned "Same Love" rap (Keith Urban with his new handsome-lady haircut was also happy to be rescued as he was totally crying. But where was Mrs. Keith Urban Whom We Worship?). Fourth runner up was a tie between Pink and Lorde... but I digress and am running way off track with the tracks.

MALEFICENT!

Well well."

Let's talk about that "Dream" trailer only we're doing things a smidge differently because we're in a mood. We're going to judge every shot of it with our Yes No Maybe So™ system.

Ready? Go!

Yes. Start with the awesome silhouette... unless you're a movie poster.

Yes. Candle Blow Out DRAMA

YES. Just the horns. I believe we've met before. Give me the face. Give me the face.

NO. That was not the face I was looking for.

YES. The anticipation is so great. What will she say. Whatever it is. Say it. Say it. SAYYYYY IT.

Well, well."

That'd be a "yes, yes". Love the grin as she moves to the side out of frame

Maybe So. I'm so tired of prequels / remakes / reboots. If you aren't going to tell me anything new...

Maybe So. Flora, Fauna and Merriweather will be hard to pull off. And a lot of these images are super muddy/dark.

YES, get it, Angelina. This frame is like right out of the animated classic, isn't it?

Yes, for the simplicity of the spinning wheel.

Maybe So. I'm tired of all magic being green balls of CGI light.

Yes. Because in the movie's defense, . Disney's original Maleficent imagery does suggest that greenish CGI flames are the way to go.

Yes. Angelina demonstrates my heart exploding while watching this. It's not that I think it's going to be good (the odds are against it, right?) but that my eyeballs want what my eyeballs want.

No. This is not based on a true story.

Maybe So. This shot tells me nothing. Is that a throne of thorns? If so, Yes.

Yes. I love the cheesiness of this shot happening WHILE Lana Del Rey croons...

 that look in your eyes is so familiar... 

It's like that Literal Music Video craze from some years back.

Yes. Spawn of Jolie-Pitt

No. Who grows up to be Elle Fanning? After Boyhood I want all movies to just film for decades if the actors have to age in them. I'll wait. 

YES. I was worried how the thorns might look but love how the thorny enchantments look... at least in teaser and trailer form.

YES. 

YES. Creepy. Hallucinatory. Not sleepwalking but sleepfloating

Maybe So...  back in the palace.

Maybe So. Unless that's Sharlto Copley in which case NO for reasons of overacting in Elysium.

No. slamming a knife into a table. cliche.

No. Armies? Boring.

Yes. Costume change!

Yes. Angelina gives good face.

Yes.

My film will be called Horses are Pretty. Because horses are pretty."

Maybe So. Nice army shot.

Maybe So. Let the thorn bush growth be not as dumb-fakey as the beanstalk in Jack The Giant Killer

Okay. YES. I was not expecting the thorn to = dragon. Nice one, filmmakers.

NO. it's a pretty shot but it immediately made me think of that very first image in the very first Phantom Menace trailer and how excited we all were and then it all came crashing down once you knew the images in their awful contexts. NO to that memory.

Yes, but did Guillermo Del Toro consult on this or something?

No. The King looks worried and so am I because...

NO Boring battle sequences when what we really want is Prince Charming and the Dragon or the Fairies and their dress-making. I don't want this to be too similar to Snow White and the Huntsman, which, well that movie should've totally been called Ravenna, don'cha know.

NO. I hate the prosthetic cheeks on Angelina.  It's like giving a boob job to Dolly Parton.

No. overheard army shot. 

NO. This is going to be exactly like Snow White and the Huntsman. Only instead of those glass shard soldiers it's going to be thorn bush soldiers? 

NO. The fairies. I'm hating the fairies. Or, rather, I'm worried about the fairies. 

YES. What an image even if it's borrowed glories from the impeccable design of the 1959 masterpiece.

YES. 

Maybe So. More kingdom stuff. Make me care or your movie will die whenever Angelina isn't in close-up.

Maybe So. Oh yeah, Sleeping Beauty is in this story too. But Angelina talks over her.

There is evil in this world - hatred and revenge."

YES. Touch it. It'll only hurt at first.

By now you know this is a yes.

No. This is going to be like when Queen Ravenna sent the soldiers flying up into the air with the glass shard telekinesis in the climax of Show White, right? Although they do look kind of creepy floating up... it's less violent looking than you'd expect. 

MAYBE SO. Upgrade to YES if she screams

And all the powers of Hell!

Maybe szzzzz

Yes to Angelina Jolie pondering her paycheck looking at Elle

Yes. She is. 

YES. Angelina makes a funny, pretending to be upset about the aforementioned "hatred & revenge"


Yes. This is certainly a better pillaging of their animated classic portfoilo than those lousy straight to DVD "sequels"

MAYBE SO. I can't say that any of the names excite me all that much on their own. Let's see what they contribute. I was totally in Sam Riley's corner during Control but since then he's been snoozeville onscreen. "Directed by Robert Stromberg" is nerve-wracking. I hated his Oscar-winning production design on Eyesore in Wonderland so much but this looks comparatively restrained so pluses for that. Maybe he'll make a good director? Crazy that Disney picked a newbie for something this expensive though, right?

YES to Lana Del Rey's "Once Upon a Dream" but if fucking Demi Lovato sings it during the credits I will revolt. (Sorry, I just watched Frozen again and that's such a buzzkill after a great movie. Menzel to Lovato is totally trading down.)

 

The trailer if you're not already sick of this post and good god, why aren't you?

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Reader Comments (31)

Nathaniel, this is just delightful. The only word that comes to mind.

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN is a movie I truly, truly, truly loathed so any memory of that is a no. I'm a maybe so on the movie really, but a YES on Angelina. So, I'm seeing it obviously.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Such a good breakdown of this trailer. The Lana cover in the background got me more excited than I was before, and Angelina nailed every frame. The only thing I disliked was it made me think Disney meets Lord of the Rings with that battle scene. I have faith though.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

This is amazing. I wish the switch of emotions were in GIF form.

What I found interesting about the trailer + the 'Once Upon a Dream' cover was the original song was a love song of the 'meant to be' couple of destiny, Aurora and Phillip. In this trailer of this retelling, the song is refocused to be between Maleficent's plotting and 'seduction' of tricking Aurora out of revenge. We never see Philip. He cast, yes, but given that I love Sleeping Beauty but always found Philip and Aurora ridiculous together, I'm kind of interested how this movie handles the central conflict of beating Maleficent beyond the whole destiny angle. Like how do the fairies figure? The fairies vs. Maleficent was always central but I like that Aurora as the character is getting played up beyond being a device though not in the equal iconography as Maleficent.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Loved your break down. Fun read.

As for the trailer, I watched it after reading your piece and it was a let down. Way too much Lord of the Rings with some Game of Thrones and 300 thrown in topped with lots of cliches. The parts I like are so similar to the original that I don't really get the point of the remake except to give Angie the chance to set the screen on fire with a glance. And I can't stand Lana del (death) Rey.. After Snow White, Mirror x2, Jack the Giant Snoozer, its going to have to get some stellar word of mouth to get me in the door. I'm a maybe not-no.

("Now Find out the Truth".....seriously?)

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I could marry this post.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

"well, well" (just the two)

too cgi-y for my tastes, but maybe i was bored by the trailer 'cause i'd just seen all the screen caps? (suggestion - trailer at the top the post)

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

If only this song was original, maybe Lana could've come back right after getting snubbed and nabbed an Oscar nod. Either way, good on her for seemingly finding a niche.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Every single trailer for Maleficent so far has screamed homoerotic subtext in the best way to me. Angelina Jolie could have sexual chemistry with a coffee table (or Elle Fanning), so every look Maleficent gives Aurora seems to say, "Let me show you my Enchanted Forest."

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

"Angelina Jolie could have sexual chemistry with a coffee table"

HAHA! That was gold and so true!

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJones

Great post! I m mostly in for now. I m always in for these movies with major movie stars playing villains. They potentially seem like so much fun but they disappoint most of the times so I m not completely sold yet. Even Nicole couldn't save the Golden Compass

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony T

Great post! If the script is decent (for my tastes, of course) then I will probably like the movie because the aesthetics and performances seem promising. I expect Elle to be better than Angelina but only because Elle is very talented and Angie seems like she might go to caricature (no, the role doesn't require it) or dull mode but overal I expect her to be pleasing.
Good Lana cover.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

I am no great fan on Angelina Jolie, but her performance in the trailer alone makes this a yes for me, my affinity for Elle Fanning notwithstanding. After the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy all of these CG film battles have looked almost exactly the same, which makes me wonder why directors continue to insist upon them. Not ever fantasy movie needs or warrants one.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

I can already see all the drag queens going insane over this. It looks good, especially after the last trailer which was horrible.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Do I dare to say that I can tell some inspiration for this performance was borrowed from Charlize Theron's? If Jolie reaches that, performance-wise, it'd be great (preferably the movie will be as good as her performance, too). Jolie and Maleficient match well - she'd probably be the only actress with the charisma and gravitas to pull this off, although I'd LOVE to see what CATE BLANCHETT would do with this (especially since she signed on to play Lady Tremaine for Disney as well - and look at this trifecta, Theron/Jolie/Blanchett for the three most amazing villains of Disney; only Ursula - and Frollo - left).

Angelina Jolie truly gives good face. She looks amazing. If this isn't going for highbrow, at least I hope Angelina goes full camp on this.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Jay - i was thinking about Ursula yesterday because of this. An Ursula/Triton movie would be fun. If this is a blockbuster, that would totally get made EXCEPT for the fact that Ursula is fat and I can't imagine Disney bankrolling a would be blockbuster with a large actress headlining. Unless they cast Melissa McCarthy but methinks she'd be wrong for it as funny as she is.

January 29, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel,

Unfortunately, I can't see a Ursula live-action movie not being made without Melissa McCarthy at this moment. She's the plus-size ascendant star so she gets first pick of those roles now... -.-

Unless they go with Kathy Bates. Alas...

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJay

yeah, the Theron/Jolie/Blanchett trio in Disneyworld is great, isn't it?

Kenneth Branagh is a good director, too, so hopefully Cinderella will be on the acceptable level of Thor or even go to higher ground.

But then, with an actress like Blanchett, a director always has unlimited potential.

Still grieving over the fact that Mark Romanek was not allowed the artistic freedom to do this. Look at this guy's music videos, he CAN create truly unique things.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

A moment of appreciation for Close's Cruella.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Regarding "Ursula": if there ever will be one, I think Mo'Nique would be perfect for the role.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Infamous

MO'NIQUE. Damn. Wish I thought of that. Excellent.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJay

I was such a YES for the teaser trailer, but frame-by-frame explaining to me that it's the original movie? Ugh. A weak MAYBE SO veering tentatively on NO.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

for ursula- may be Queen Latifiah? Wasn't she the model for the Vanity Fair Disney issue?

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertom

THE INFAMOUS -- you win. what an awesome casting option.

January 29, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I see a lot of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in this.. Am I wrong?

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCris

Cris: Ditto. I feel like her stylized take on Catwoman has served as the template for many such performances. I was actually thinking that if Jolie pulls this off in grand movie-star fashion, she may just score an Oscar nod

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

This is the absolute best. Most fun I've had on the interwebz all week.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKurtis O

I can't stop listening to the Lana Del Rey song -- it gives the film a darker edge.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Nathaniel - Why do you think "the odds are against it" (being good)?

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn D.

Oooh, I'm really feeling this new trailer. Bonus points for that awesome cover of "Once Upon a Dream" by LDR. Perfect tone-setting of what to expect. Finding homoerotic subtext is interesting because I'd never seen it before but it totally makes sense now, going back to those leering looks and the constant obsession with a young and pretty, very feminine blonde.

An Ursula movie with Mo'Nique would be beyond epic. You can all see her deliciously evil grinning face now.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

YES! Disney's animated classic is one of my all time favorite films- La Angelina looks perfect.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

John D -- just because it looks too derivative of other movies (lord of the rings, snow white, sleeping beauty) to really be its own thing. and also these big corporate money machines are rarely about finding a way to be great... just about finding a way to get butts in seats.

January 30, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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