Many people know the Disney story of Sleeping Beauty, but not many know the history behind it; what the original story was, how Maleficent came to be so wicked, and how these two new points of view can shed a very different light on the story. The original story, Sun, Moon, and Talia by Giambattista Basile, is a great example of how black and white Disney made many of his renditions of stories instead of as complicated as their origins. The film Maleficent also gives out new information on how dynamic the characters on both sides of the battles really are.
In Basile’s tale of what most of us know as Sleeping Beauty, a tale I’ve already written about here, everyone seams to be a little off their rocker. A father abandons his daughter, daughter is raped and later comes to love the man, that man burns his wife alive after she tries to kill the girl who her husband cheated with. It’s twisted. From this you can see how though the wife was a bit extreme in her revenge, she kinda had a right to be upset. Maybe the queen wasn’t the evil one….
The evil one in the 1959 Disney Sleeping Beauty was a witch named Maleficent, who was portrayed at the time as one of Disney’s most wicked villains. As of last year though, that was changed. Disney came out with Maleficent, a story of an innocent fairy girl growing up in an enchanted forest, loving every thing meets and falls in love with a human boy, giving him her trust. He betrays it and steals something from her. If one wasn’t to have read the original story, they could say that he stole only her wings that night they lay together, but if trends continue then maybe he stole something else a little more personal from her. After that, Maleficent turns to hatred and mistrust of nearly everything, including love.
Now we see who Maleficent really is, and we can relate to her. This is more like how many of us have gone from childhood into the real world. It is a “Mom and Dad are the best people, the world is beautiful, people are great” to “Perfection doesn’t exist, parents have their faults, and the majority of society is horrible so don’t trust anything or anyone that seems to good to be true” mentality. How can we fault Maleficent for her “Batman to Dark Knight” transformation?
Neither of these stories are as straightforward as we originally thought, huh? These stories really blow the Disney tale of Sleeping Beauty out of the water. I think we may have to reevaluate our childhood fairy tales.