Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Now Shall You Deal with HER, O Tim....!

Tim Burton is reportedly being "Wicked."

A new project is underway to put the Gregory Maguire spin* on Disney's best villain. ("Best" is just my opinion, of course.)

Yep, he'll be making a movie called Maleficent, which would be the tale of Sleeping Beauty told from the point of view of the snubbed "dark fairy" herself.

Bart actually beat me to the punch on this one, meaning he came across an article on it first. I'm happy that he did, as Disney's Sleeping Beauty is his favorite of their animated features. In fact, it's the very reason we have a Blu-Ray player and a big (wide and flat) screen TV.

I have to say I'm both happy and shying away from this idea. Maleficent's backstory (or whatever it is to be termed) would certainly be intriguing, sure. But at the same time I rather liked just knowing that she's plain ol' evil. For no reason. Okay, yeah, there's the argument that "simply evil" does not make for a good story. In rare cases, however, it does seem to work. Take, for instance, Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight. Many people liked how he's just... cruel for fun. And here we have Maleficent - the Mistress of All Evil. Does she NEED a reason beyond that fact?

Yet at the same time I can certainly see why one would do it. She's the most interesting part of Disney's Sleeping Beauty and the tale is really about her and the good fairies more so than it is about Princess Aurora/Briar Rose and Prince Phillip.

I'm not putting thumbs down on this venture. I just need to be convinced. It's going to take QUITE a tale/reasoning to make this worth it. Bart's not bouncing off the walls about it, but given his penchant for liking Burton's work and that his favorite villain is getting more attention... he seems okay with it.

Lastly, I found this mention on MTV's movie blog about Burton's Maleficent, which wondered about "Wicked-ing" other Disney villains: Peter Pan essentially baited Captain Hook into having his hand forcibly removed by a menacing crocodile, only to meet his maker at the same crocodile's jaws later down the line. Meanwhile, Pan gets to fly around, command a group of wild, homeless children and look like the hero. There's a word for that kind of group: it's called a gang. I'd be bitter too if I was Hook — it shouldn't be difficult getting mainstream viewers on board, as well.
Here's a link to the article by Josh Wigler.

I wouldn't say Pan baited Hook into losing his hand (and the boys are not exactly homeless), but I found the rest rather amusingly true. Peter Pan does have a "gang" in the 'modern' sense from one point of view. And I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Precisely what I thought Spielberg's movie would be.

Let's hope Maleficient proves worthy.

*[If you're somehow not already aware, Maguire wrote Wicked, the story behind OZ's Wicked Witch of the West - telling us how she came to be 'wicked' - putting her in a sympathetic light. A very successful Broadway musical cropped up out of it, too.]

Note: The Blu-Ray restoration of Disney's Sleeping Beauty IS rather impressive.

1 comment:

Anon said...

I'm with you and Bart on this one. Interesting idea but I have no clue if it can be pulled off.

I did always think Maleficent was the type who had difficulty letting go of a grudge--I mean, it starts with her being uninvited to the presentation ceremony of the princess Aurora and escalates to her becoming a dragon and driving back Prince Philip from the castle where the princess is asleep and driving him into a forest of burning thorns, just to stop him from breaking the curse Maleficent cast! (I'm not worrying about spoilers here--like there's anyone who doesn't know what happens.... :P)

"You know, sometimes I don't think she's really very happy...." (might be a paraphrase....)