Tim here. This weekend, Disney’s latest attempt at brand leveraging, Maleficent, will be open, and critical word so far is not terribly positive, with only one consistent bright spot being called out in even the most savage reviews. That being Angelina Jolie’s performance as the titular wicked/misunderstood fairy. And this should come as absolutely no surprise to anybody, given that putting Jolie in the role was the only real justification the project ever had. And even moreso given that Maleficent, first introduced in the company’s 1959 animated feature Sleeping Beauty, has long been agreed to be one of the studio’s best villains, and one of the best in movies generally.
Some months ago, I said my piece on just why Maleficent was such a top-notch character, and I’ll refrain from belaboring the point again here. Instead, I hope you’ll indulge me if I take this opportunity to spend a moment praising her creator – her original creator, before screenwriter Linda Woolverton (who wrote the awful 2010 Alice in Wonderland) and director Robert Stromberg (the production designer of the awful 2010 Alice in Wonderland) had a chance to make her some kind of half-assed avatar of heavily corporatized feminism. I’m referring to Marc David, one of the famous Nine Old men animators at Disney between the ‘30s and ‘60s, the supervising animator on the original Maleficent.