Disney Gets Political—Using Angelina Jolie's Cheekbones

Over the last few years, Disney has been making live-action villain films, beginning with the “Mistress of Evil” herself, Maleficent. With her first film released in 2014, Disney brought Angelina Jolie and her beautiful cheekbones back this year for Maleficent’s sequel.

Now if you don’t already know, Maleficent was the fairy who cursed Princess Aurora, aka Sleeping Beauty, with the infamous sleeping curse. When the trailers for Maleficent 2 came out, I was confused and curious about what the storyline would be – the first movie ended on a happy note without loose ends that led to a second film.

Without giving away too much, Maleficent 2 focuses on two combined yet distinct storylines – Maleficent discovering other fairies of her kind and the impacts of Aurora marrying Philip.

Overall, the movie was a lot of fun and a rollercoaster of ~stressful~ emotions. Besides, who doesn’t want to stare at Angelina Jolie fighting Michelle Pfeiffer for a few hours? After further thought, it’s easy to see how this movie is Disney’s attempt at political commentary by hiding its comments in plain sight.

Maleficent is painted as a villain because she’s a winged fairy, capable of more than the humans who fear her. The fearmongering propagation of “absolutist” views by Queen Ingrid is ... honestly, a lot for viewers, especially since this is theoretically for children. While the movie attempts to continue the fun twist on a classic story, it touches on some pretty heavy topics, like death, the consequences of “Manifest Destiny,” and even has a Holocaust reference. Definitely the darkest Disney movie to date.

While I think this is a great step towards awareness, I can’t help but think Disney is capitalizing on social justice movements without actually saying anything of substance about the consequences of immoral politics or other extremely real struggles marginalized people face. 

If you’re on the fence about seeing Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, I’d definitely say to watch it (unless you are prone to motion sickness). I would give it 7.2/10. On one hand, Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Elle Fanning have great chemistry – you can feel their emotions and they sell their characters well. But on the other hand, Disney is blatantly participating in “woke culture,” which is a problem in itself. If you see it, let me know what you think!

 

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