Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
April 6, 2020
Maleficent: Mistress of Gratuitous Homicide

So I just finished watching Maleficent: Mistress of Evil... and yeah, fuck that movie. Terrible. Terrible for no goddamned reason. First off -- for a movie *named* for Maleficent, the character has surprisingly little agency; she basically just stands around (and sometimes sits attentively) while other characters relay exposition to her. But one of the few things she does is KILL PEOPLE. She's the titular heroine of a Disney movie and she kills *at least* several dozen people. Shit, the first thing she does -- even before the movie title appears onscreen! -- is murder two dudes as they scream "NO PLEASE PLEASE NO" and then are apparently ripped the fuck apart offscreen. How is this okay?

I mean, sure, the murdered dudes were kidnapping fairies for use in horrific laboratory experiments (whether they knew precisely what was happening with the fairies is unclear; they just knew a shady dude was paying cash for fairies; in any case Maleficent didn't know that fact), but Maleficent still didn't have to kill them. In fact, considering that apparently nobody in the Fey community knew what had happened to or where to find the missing fairies, it would have been objectively better to keep the kidnappers alive: Maleficent could have interrogated them, or she could have had Aurora raise the issue with Prince Philip, or taken any number of actions that didn't involve murdering dudes in the night and abandoning their mutilated corpses on the riverbank. Later there's a big war between the humans and the Fey, and the humans kill a BUNCH of Fey, and then Maleficent acquires the Phoenix Force and swoops in and kills a BUNCH of (but not as many) humans, and that's perhaps a little less objectionable given the heat of battle (though even there Maleficent's been depicted as powerful enough to have subdued the humans *without* killing them).

But the most insulting thing there is that, after both sides are convinced to lay down their arms, I guess Maleficent secretly casts a spell that makes everybody forget what just happened? Because it's all happy music, the wedding of Aurora and Philip proceeds as planned, and nobody recalls that just several hours earlier a shit-ton of people died in one of the highest body count conflicts I've seen in a movie in quite a while. Arguably they hold the wedding outside because it's prettier and Maleficent uses her powers to make a lot of nifty flora, but it's not like they could have held it in the chapel because the chapel is super full of DEAD FAIRIES. One of the three fairy godmothers dies during the conflict, and when certain fairy species are killed flowers grow where they fell. Well, one of those flowers is clipped and SEATED AT THE WEDDING, and it's even implied that the flower has some agency when it turns Aurora's wedding dress blue. Because why should anyone acknowledge any consequences or sad outcomes of war and death? Happy happy love love song and flowers and magic!

I know, I know -- some of y'all are thinking, "Wow, harsh much? It's a kid's movie!" But for my part that makes it even *more* offensive. It would have been entirely possible to tell a story like this, with conflict and yet zero lasting consequences, WITHOUT ALL THE DEATH, because at least then that response might make sense. Maleficent could magic fix all of the property damage; she's been shown to heal wounds. Yet even from the start, and even as the movie consistently states that (despite the title) Maleficent isn't actually evil and is rather a victim of slander, the movie has Maleficent killing people when she doesn't have to. The writers had scores of humans and Fey die when they didn't have to. Disney released a movie brimming with senseless and quickly-forgotten death when it didn't have to.

And I just wrote a long post complaining about a stupid movie when I didn't have to -- but I did. Of course I did. It's me. I hate this movie, and now you know why.

They didn't even make cool action figures for it.

-posted by Wes | 4:29 pm | Comments (2)
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