Japanese 'Maleficent' Trailer Shows Us Something Disney's 'Sleeping Beauty' Doesn't
There's something powerful about looking at the other side of villainy. This works best with fictional villainy, of course, which is why this Japanese trailer for Maleficent is so fascinating. Because it's both highlighting and changing up a dynamic that's never really been questioned: The dynamic between an evil Disney queen/witch/villain (Maleficent), and the sweet, innocent princess she sets her sights on destroying.
The relationship between these two in the original Disney animated Sleeping Beauty is undeniably a distant one: Maleficent sentences Aurora to a sleep-like death out of revenge for the actions of her parents, but the two never really come face-to-face other than in Aurora's infancy.
Here, we see Aurora growing up and, not surprisingly, Angelina Jolie's Maleficent watching. As Elle Fanning's Aurora comments as she first tries to come face-to-face with this mystery presence, "I know you're there — your shadow, it's been following me ever since I was small. Don't be afraid." What is surprising is that tenderness between Aurora and Maleficent.
Aurora, of course, does not know fully what Maleficent's got planned for her — although a teary moment late in the trailer hints she'll find out — but it's interesting to see Maleficent take the time to, presumably, explain her backstory to the child she's doomed. Perhaps as a way to explain or excuse her impending actions (we see a certain spindle late in the game), or perhaps as just the longest third-act villainous monologue of all time.