Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found trailers to be endlessly fascinating.
Recently we got a look at the first teaser trailer for Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie and directed by Robert Stromberg. The film is a semi-remake, sort of prequel to Sleeping Beauty, focusing on the evil fairy of the title. We got our first information about the film back at D23, but this is our first real taste of the film. Take a look below and read on for my comments:
There isn’t a lot of plot to speak of in this trailer, but most of us already know the story. Maleficent, an evil fairy, curses the young Aurora to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die, although she is saved by the intervention of another fairy and instead will simply fall asleep until kissed by her true love. Aurora is hidden away from Maleficent by pretending to be a peasant, and falls in love with Prince Phillip, but still pricks her finger and falls asleep despite the attempts to protect her. Phillip must then defeat Maleficent and rescue Aurora from the curse. We don’t yet know what sort of twists Maleficent will put on the classic story (Wicked-style), but it will probably adhere to the broad points fairly closely.
Instead of plot, we’re treated in this teaser to lots of imagery, which is all rather breathtaking. It starts with an alternate take on the Disney logo, giving us a different, darker castle (Maleficent’s? Aurora’s? Phillip’s?) than normal:
We get our first look at that famous silhouette, one of the most iconic images from the early days of Disney animation:
Robert Stromberg, the film’s director, is making his debut after a career as a special effects artist, working on such films as Avatar, Oz the Great and Powerful, and Alice in Wonderland. It’s far too early to tell how he’ll handle his role as storyteller, but he clearly has an eye for both the style and composition of the images onscreen. For example, we next see a sequence of Aurora (Elle Fanning) in a grove surrounded by fairies:
The trailer is full of images that fans of the 1959 film will recognize, including Aurora and the fateful spinning needle:
We also get to see some early effects sequences (though no dragon) involving Maleficent’s trademark wall of thorns:
There is an interesting interchange between the innocent Aurora (perhaps going by Briar Rose at this point) and Maleficent, who is hiding in the shadows. Aurora tells Maleficent that she knows that the fairy has been following her, and tells her to come out and not to be afraid. Maleficent answers, “Then you’ll be afraid.”
We don’t get to see a lot from the performances, though Elle Fanning has a sweet beauty and grace that meshes well with the image of the girl from the story. Angelina Jolie obviously looks stunning as Maleficent, and has the ability to be menacing and alluring at the same time. But the trailer is mostly focused on the images. After this teaser I’m definitely sold on the film’s look, and I want to see more of a balance between visuals, story and acting in future trailers (we have a long time between now and May 30th).
What do you think? Do you like the look of Maleficent? What do you think of Elle Fanning and Angelina Jolie? How closely do you think Maleficent will follow Sleeping Beauty? Am I the only one hoping the dragon makes an appearance in the film (Maleficent as a dragon is one of my top 5 dragons of all time)? Let me know in the comments!