Maleficent Fights Against Love in the New Trailer

Is Disney ever going to run out of princess news this month? Just a few short days after the Halle Bailey controversy, they released the first teaser for their Mulan remake. Barely 24 hours have passed since then, and we have a new trailer for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. This trailer reveals a lot more about the story than the last one did. We now see that the movie's central conflict revolves around Princess Aurora's engagement to Prince Phillip. As irritating as it is to have a sequel to a remake instead of introducing new characters and stories, this movie is shaping up to be quite good for what it is. Initially, I wasn't particularly excited for this sequel that nobody asked for, but the plot is surprisingly inspired and unlike anything that we've ever seen before from a princess story, not to mention that exciting revelation from the end of the trailer. You can see for yourself below.

What makes this different from other stories about princesses falling in love is that the parental figures are fighting over ownership of Aurora instead of her letting her follow her own heart. Maleficent takes on a role similar to King Triton from The Little Mermaid in that she intends to keep Aurora away from the man she loves in a misguided attempt to protect her from the heartache that Maleficent herself experienced in the first film. Phillip's mother, Queen Ingrith, on the other hand, is staunchly in favor of the marriage. Even though Prince Phillip was not a very memorable character in the original Maleficent, the legendary role that he provided to the animated Sleeping Beauty has made him one of Disney's most beloved princes of all time. Hopefully, some of that will translate into this film instead of depending on nostalgia for his character development. I like that Disney has opted not to forgo the love story for this movie, which is something that they have done a lot with their newer princesses. To remove the romance from the princess genre entirely would take away too much of what makes these stories appealing to young women, especially the "Sleeping Beauty" fairy tale in particular.

In this case, Phillip and Aurora's love creates a wedge between the relationship of the enchanted kingdom of the Moors, and Phillip's non-magical human kingdom. The trailer features Queen Ingrith telling Maleficent that she wishes to become the mother figure that Aurora never had. It is interesting that she claims to believe that Maleficent raised Aurora when in the context of the first film and the animated Sleeping Beauty movie, Aurora was raised by the Three Good Fairies, who we also see briefly in this trailer. Though the first movie in this series portrayed them as bumbling and incompetent fools, most of what Maleficent did to aid in Aurora's upbringing was behind closed doors. The only plausible explanation for people believing that Maleficent raised Aurora is that Aurora told everyone that Maleficent was her adoptive mother. After this statement, the trailer escalates into what appears to be a war of the two queens over ownership of Aurora, although we know that her heart truly belongs to Phillip.

What I really liked about this trailer is that the movie seems to be an exploration of the nuances of love, and much like the show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, it refuses to present it as black and white. The first Maleficent rewrote the story of "Sleeping Beauty" to make Maleficent good and King Stefan evil, but in this case, everyone seems to have good intentions. Maleficent thinks that what is best for Aurora is to protect her from the betrayal that she experienced in her past when she fell in love with Stefan, while Queen Ingrith thinks that Aurora needs the love of a "real" mother and to learn the ways of her human culture that she was sheltered from for most of her life. Meanwhile, Phillip and Aurora just want to be together and claim independence from their parents. If that's not nuanced enough, the end of the trailer features a surprise shot of other faeries that appear to be from the same species as Maleficent. A common question in the original film was why Maleficent didn't look anything like anyone else living in the Moors, and it appears this movie will have the answer. Now we can finally learn where these human-sized faeries with feathered black wings and horns atop their head come from and simultaneously force Maleficent to make a choice between her own kind and the human princess that she wishes to protect.

I just loved everything about this trailer, and I hope the movie doesn't stray from it in the same way that The Nutcracker and the Four Realms did. There are so many fascinating ideas presented here about love, independence, and cultural acceptance. I am absolutely stoked to learn about where Maleficent came from, how she was separated from her own kind, and to see how Aurora and Phillip's love for each other will overcome a new challenge. I'm glad to see that Aurora is presented as shy and submissive next to the two powerful queens because the "Warrior Princess" archetype has taken over too many Disney movies as of late. It is more realistic to show that not all princesses are physically strong. Plus, it gives Aurora that much more room for character growth by showing her struggle with the need to assert herself and claim her independence as a young woman. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will hit theaters on October 18th, and I plan to be among the first in line to see it.


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