Rated: PG

        Upon hearing about Maleficent, I knew I must see. As is a kind of tradition in many households, I grew up watching the many animated fairy tales Disney has put out over the years. Cinderella, Snow White and Bambi were watched over and over again (although not in the hours long death loops so many children watch them in now). But among them all my all-time favorite, then and now, is Sleeping Beauty. I think that is Disney’s all-time best work. Its beautifully animated, there aren’t enough songs in it to be annoying, the background music is subtle yet effective, the story is mesmerizingly told; and then there’s Maleficent. She’s been named by many as the best villain of all-time. She’s strong, calculating and decisive; she also doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses. She isn’t vain like the witch in Snow White and she doesn’t covet more power like Ursula in The Little Mermaid and many of the other Disney villains. She’s stone-cold evil and happy to be so. You’d think Disney would be happy with this wonderful creation and leave it alone, but instead they had to ruin a good thing by creating Maleficent.

                Maleficent is supposed to be part origin story and part retelling. Spoiler alert: If I’ve raised enough doubt in you to keep you from seeing this movie, keep reading. If you’ve still got your heart set on seeing it, stop reading this now! Maleficent is the most powerful, yet loving fairy in the moors, next door to a human kingdom. The people of the kingdom and the moor-folk are not supposed to interact, but a young Maleficent befriends a human named Stefan anyways. When they’re both adults and the king is dying he tells the people that whoever kills Maleficent will be the next king; and so Stefan goes to Maleficent, drugs her and cuts off her wings. Stefan becomes king and Maleficent becomes vengeful. She blocks the moors from the humans with giant thorned vines and curses Stefan’s daughter to fall into a “sleep like death” after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel on her 16th birthday.

         For the most part that is where the similarities to the animated movie cease. From this point on the story's plot line gets as holey as a piece of Swiss cheese. As Aurora grows up in the cabin in the woods with the three fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merriweather (whom they decided to make into bizarre dimwits named Flittle, Knotgrass and Thistlewit) Maleficent watches her and eventually forms a close relationship with her. They spend hours together in the moors, during which Maleficent’s curse on the young girl becomes a heavy regret. She tries to revoke it but her magic isn’t strong enough and so in the end, when the curse is enacted it ends up being Maleficent, not Prince Charming, who awakens the young princess and rights her wrongs.

                Maleficent received rave reviews, but for what I have no idea. This seems to be the second in what unfortunately promises to be a long line of Disney re-imaginings in live action. The first was Alice in Wonderland, which I thought was just as bizarre and creepy and the next in line is Beauty and The Beast. Using my awesome powers of deduction I predict that the live action Beauty and The Beast will be both as creepy and as terrible as it's predecessors, but yet make tons more money for the Disney machine. At this point I’m really starting to think that trained monkeys could’ve done a better job in the rewrites of these classics. I genuinely wish that Disney would return to it's roots and stick to good old fashioned hand drawn animation, but it seems those days are long gone. There are plenty of fairy tales left for them to do, (I’d LOVE to see The Princess and the Pea and King Midas for instance) they just need the wherewithal to do them!

                Should you still want to waste your time and money, Maleficent is rated PG, was directed by Robert Stromberg and stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning and Sharlto Copely. It s now out on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.