Maleficent is based on the evil fairy godmother character in Charles Perrault’s fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, as well as the villainess who appears in the Brothers Grimm’s retelling of the story, Little Briar Rose. Maleficent was animated by Marc Davis.
It’s actually kind of a prequel, telling the back story behind the curse, why exactly did Maleficent cursed Princess Aurora to fall into sleep like death. This movie focuses on telling tale of sleeping beauty from Maleficent’s side. Maleficent was known as villain but this movie changes that perspective.
Maleficent’s Character Arc
This character arc tries to explain the evolution of Maleficent through out the 2 films. Maleficent’s persona, attitude, motive and relationships are explored further.
Maleficent (Part 1)
The movie starts with Young Maleficent, it shows how kind hearted, innocent & cheerful fairy Maleficent was, she met & saved a young boy Stefan who was a peasant, they became good friends & later fell in love with each other. But later while battling against King Henry when he tried to conquer Moors, the king got injured badly by Maleficent & he declared that whoever will kill Maleficent will become the next king, So Stefan’s greed to become king took over his love for maleficent, in order to become king, he betrayed her, he offered her drugged water & tried to kill her but couldn’t so he cut off her Wings when she was unconscious. When she gains conscious & realized about the betrayal, she was completely broken at first.
Betrayal by her first love which she thought was her true love, made her believe that there is no such thing as true love, humans are greedy & cruel, this incident completely changed her it gave birth to hatred & vengeance within her & turned a good fairy like her into Mistress of Evil. She was previously protector of the Moors but now she began to rule them. Further when she got to know about the birth of Queen Leah & Stefan’s child (Aurora) & a grand celebration is going to take place she decided to take her revenge.
In vengeance, she went there & cursed Stefan’s new born daughter Aurora. “Before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, and fall into a sleep like death! A sleep from which she will never awaken!” Stefan begged her to take back her curse but she just amended it.
“The princess can be woken from her death sleep, but only by True Love’s Kiss! This curse will last till the end of time! No power on earth can change it!” She said this as she believed there is no such thing as true love.
Maleficent and Aurora
Aurora was sent with three little fairies to an isolated place (by the orders of King Stefan). Maleficent followed them till there, she always watched over Aurora. She still had some kindness within her heart despite of all that happened in past.
Later after getting close & fond to Aurora due to her innocence she felt guilty to curse her, she regretted her actions & tried her best to revoke her curse, but couldn’t as she remembers that she herself said this “This curse will last till the end of time! No power on Earth can change it!” while giving the curse. Everyone around aurora tried their best to avoid the curse, even Maleficent herself, but they couldn’t stop it.
Aurora touched the spindle of the wheel & fall asleep. Maleficent truly loved & took care of Aurora as her own daughter that’s why Aurora woke up after maleficent pecked her forehead (Out of love, regret & sorrow). This gave kind of a message that a mother’s love is the best example of true love.
Later while leaving the palace King Stefan along with Aurora, Stefan attacked them, he trapped Maleficent with iron chains (as iron burns fairies) his motive was just to kill her but at the correct time she got her Wings back (that were cut off & trapped by Stefan)
After that she fiercely fights against Stefan & his army. Final battle scene specially how she breaks & flies through the window is really fascinating. By the end of the film everything is fine now, King Stefan got his karma & is dead, Maleficent crowned Aurora as Moors Queen & Maleficent is now back to being protector of the Moors.
Angelina Jolie as Maleficent: Maleficent (Part 1)
Angelina Jolie completely nailed the role of Maleficent. She was able to show any kind of emotions be it love, betrayal, evil or regret with ease. The accurate amount of tenderness, her evil side, her sarcastic dialogues & smile everything was just perfect. After watching the back story & Jolie’s Maleficent portrayal it definitely changes perspective towards Maleficent’s character (who was previously considered as Villain).
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Part 2)
This story is set five years after the events of previous movie. Aurora is looking after her responsibility as Queen of the Moors whereas Maleficent is the protector of the moors. She is known as Mistress of Evil among humans as they only know the half truth of the curse.
When Maleficent got to know that Aurora accepted Prince Philip’s marriage proposal, she was a bit offended. Initially she was against the marriage as she was concerned for Aurora, she even warned Aurora that “Love doesn’t always end well, Beasty” but after a mild debate Aurora convinces Maleficent for marriage & tells her that they are invited for dinner to celebrate wedding announcement by the King & Queen.
Maleficent reluctantly agreed to go along. But what they didn’t know that the dinner & all was just a trap by Queen Ingrith, she tries to provoke Maleficent by mentioning about the curse & King Stefan’s death but when she questioned & banished her maternal bond with Aurora, she loses her temper.
At the same time King John (Philip’s father) goes unconscious & the Queen claimed that Maleficent cursed the King everyone even Aurora believed it. But maleficent exclaimed that she did nothing & tried to take Aurora along with her but she refused to go & stayed at the palace by Prince Philip & his parents’ side.
So Maleficent left alone from there, but Queen’s servant Gerda shoots Maleficent with an iron bullet as ordered by the Queen as she flees away from the castle. She falls into the ocean wounded but was saved by a mysterious winged creature who looked just like her.
Later she awakens into a mysterious underground cave where there are several winged creatures like her, they were forced into hiding and driven to near extinction due to human maltreatment. Conall was their leader who prefers peace, he was the one who saved Maleficent from the ocean.
Maleficent, The Last of Dark Fey
Maleficent learns that she is among the last creatures known as Dark Fey, she is also the last descendant from the Phoenix, an ancient and powerful Dark Fey ancestor. Because Maleficent’s magic is so powerful, Conall and Borra believed she is capable in ending the conflict with humans, either by peace or war.
Later, by the order of the Queen some soldiers enter the Moors to gather Tomb-Bloom flowers (flowers that are doused with the essence of the Moor’s deceased) to use as weapons against the Fey. Sensing this, She and the Dark Fey go to the Moors to protect the flowers, but they get attacked suddenly, and while saving Maleficent Conall is killed, this persuades Borra to declare war against humans (specially Ulstead)
On wedding day, just few hours before the wedding Aurora learns about the intentions of Queen Ingrith & the truth of King John’s curse, & the fact that Maleficent wasn’t behind it but it was queen herself (she used Maleficent’s cursed spindle).
On the other hand, The Dark Fey launch an assault against the Ulstead, but they were being trapped & defeated with the use of iron weapons & deadly crimson powder, but Maleficent comes for their rescue, in her new powerful form (her new outfit was stunning). As always there’s a splendid war scene where she alone freed the other fey from iron chains & she also destroyed queen’s weapons & her soldiers.
Reborn as a Phoenix
Watching Maleficent in action like flying around with her huge wings & using her powers is always magnificent. She is on her way to kill the Queen but Aurora stops her for the sake of humanity, but on the other hand Queen Ingrith secretly attacks Aurora with a crossbow but Maleficent notices it & saves her but she herself got struck by the arrow turning her into ashes, this devastated Aurora (even me) but as Aurora’s tears falls on the ashes, Maleficent is reborn again as a Phoenix, this was a mesmerizing scene (It just makes me wish to see more of her as Phoenix).
Queen took a chance again & pushed Aurora off the tower but Maleficent saved her again & landed safely on ground then she stood there in her Phoenix form & the rest of the dark fey bowed as a sign of respect to her (This scene was just Epic) The movie ends with a happy ending Maleficent turned the queen into a goat as punishment.
Maleficent also completely destroys the curse & the spindle, resulting in King John’s awakening from the sleep. Both the kingdoms, the Moors & the Ulstead are united. After Aurora’s & Philip’s Wedding Maleficent returns to the Moors along with the other Dark Fey but she promises to return for the christening of Aurora & Philip’s child. This might be a hint that she might be back again to reprise her role.
Angelina Jolie as Maleficent: ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ (Part 2)
And Angelina Jolie is back again as Maleficent to steal the show. This movie focuses more on Maleficent’s origin like who is she really & how powerful she is. She learns that there are more creatures like her who are hiding from humans to survive. And now to save her people & moors she is back to fight for them with new look & powers.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
Maleficent’s Journey and Angelina Jolie’s amazing rendition of the character have been nothing short of magnificent and watching her evolve the character through the two movies inspired me to write this character study of her. Also don’t forget to check the Character Sketch on Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones.