Friday, 11 December 2015

The Maleficent Matriarchy

Maleficent is what studio bosses in Hollywood like to call a ''re- imagining ''of a classic tale, what they mean by re-imagining is taking a story or myth embedded in popular culture and then injecting it with post modern, Cultural Marxist, post feminist, post white guilt ideas then trotting it back out for the masses. Maleficent is a re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty.

 In Sleeping Beauty Maleficent was the evil vindictive witch who curses a young Princess. At 16 years old she would prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a coma, the good faeries managing to add the caveat that princess Aurora would be saved if she found true love, which she did in the guise of Philip, the "Prince Charming" of the tale. Philip then battles Maleficent, who has turned herself into a gigantic dragon, killing her and saving the Princess. Disney's more recent take on the classic fairy tale was directed by Robert Stromberg and produced by Joe Roth (yes, don't even bother looking it up) the script was written by Linda Wolverton, a feminist who has also penned Beauty and the Beast and is now working on Alice Through the Looking Glass, according to Linda :

"I came up as a feminist, in my day. And when I was first approached to do Beauty and the Beast, I knew that you couldn’t do a throwback Disney victim/heroine. We weren’t going to buy it as women after a whole awakening in the 70s. No one is going to accept that. So that started me on a path at relooking at these Disney princesses in a sort of different way. I feel that you have to have an empowering message or you’re not going to be relevant. If you don’t stay relevant to how people are and how women are approaching life now, it’s not going to feel true."

"Relevant", modern day code for "Jewish"

When we enter the new movie Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is a happy young woman living in her idyllic magical forest surrounded by cute and adorable pixies, elves and faeries. Maleficent has huge wings and she gracefully swoops through clouds and skims over lakes and rivers. A local boy stumbles into Maleficent's realm and the two become friends, and then later fall in love. The young man then goes off to fight wars leaving Maleficent alone. Meanwhile, in the entirely white and male kingdom nearby, the king decides to wage war upon Maleficent's realm for no reason whatsoever. Using her magical powers and the various monsters of her woodland, Maleficent manages to beat back the invading men, mortally wounding the king. On his deathbed the king declares that the man who kills Maleficent shall be crowned king. And lo, Maleficent's beloved appears back in the woodland and apologizes for his long absence. Maleficent forgives him and the two embrace once again. The young man then drugs Maleficent to put her into a deep sleep, lacking the courage to stick a dagger in her back he then cuts off Maleficent's wings and runs off back to the king to lie that he has killed her. This, then, is the justification and motivation for Maleficent turning malevolent. The message being sent out to millions of young girls is a double whammy, men are at war with you, let your guard down and men will betray you and destroy you. Furthermore, Maleficent's wings, her ability to fly, is her freedom, so she's lost that too. A cowardly wretch of a man has taken everything. The scene in which Maleficent wakes up and understands what has happened is particularly brutal for a ''children's movie''.

And so a full third of the movie has passed and we have established Maleficent's motivation - she's been physically and psychologically destroyed by men. And this has been written by a feminist who claims to want to establish ''strong female characters'' not dependent on men. The irony here is that pre-feminist 1959 Maleficent showed no interest in men at all, she was simply angered at not being invited to Aurora's christening. She was a powerful witch acting freely, surely that's a more powerful female figure than a traumatized nutcase with a grudge. It's almost as if the role of modern feminism isn't to embolden women at all, but rather to drip fear and dread of men into the psyche of the young girls who will constitute Maleficent's core audience.

 So Maleficent turns "dark" and in order to keep herself safe from intruding men she erects a gigantic thorny bush around her magical wonderland. She indulges herself a little by turning a crow into a man, we are allowed to like this man because he's her slave and Maleficent frequently threatens to turn him into worms and crabs and generally humiliates him. Upon hearing that her wing chopping scumbag ex is now king and married with a baby she storms the land of the patriarchal warlords and curses the baby, Aurora. Aurora is then whisked off to safety by the three female faeries,  rather pointlessly because Maleficent is sitting outside the new female idyll in the very next scene. From a feminist perspective there's a narrative problem with stealing and cursing baby Aurora as, yes, we all hate the traitorous king, but what about his wife? Is she not heartbroken at having her child stolen and cursed? We never get to find out because she is conveniently killed off and the evil King is so lost in his hatred he doesn't even blink at the news.

And so what should have been a dramatic turn of events is tossed aside lest sympathy for Maleficent is compromised and the feminist message lost. The nature of the curse placed on Aurora is that on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger and then fall into a coma like sleep, she can only be awoken by ''True Love's Kiss''. Maleficent explains she did this because true love doesn't exist, and so therefore Aurora is doomed. This is all dependent on the arrival of Prince Charming, of course, and when he does finally appear one can be forgiven for losing all hope for Aurora.....

This is the pre cultural revolution Prince Charming
This is the feminist-approved Prince Charming

Maleficent grows very fond of Aurora, her icy heart finally beginning to melt. When Aurora actually does succumb to the curse Maleficent is distraught and plans to smuggle Prince Charming into the castle to give the saving kiss. Presumably, because he's a man, (just) Prince Charming is incapable of reviving Aurora with a kiss. Maleficent breaks down with regret and pours her heart out to the comatose Aurora, then....yes, in the new Cultural Marxist reboot of Sleeping Beauty it's the evil witch, who is not in fact evil but merely a victim of the evil patriarchy, who saves the Princess. Just in case you missed the feminist message so far, in the next scene Maleficent is surrounded by 30 heavily armed soldiers and trapped in an iron net which burns her, then repeatedly kicked and bashed and slashed by the men. She manages to turn her man-slave into a dragon, buying her some time until Aurora finds and releases Maleficent's long lost wings. Finally whole once more, Maleficent and her man-slave dragon vanquish the men and save the day.

 You really do have to wonder what the effects of this are on the mind of a 12 year old girl, sitting in the cinema you would probably be able to actually hear their mental circuitry rewiring itself to change these girls into Laurie Penny style Social Justice Warrior lunatics.

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