“Maleficent” (2014): A Tale Like Never Before


credit: Maleficent

In the world of fairy tale telling, it always seems to be good against evil. In more ways than one, good always triumphs over evil. This is the way of life and the way the century-old tales have gone. However, with a new wave of films positioning villains as heroes, trying to flip the script on one of the world’s most popular fairytale stories was a huge risk to take.

Backed by Disney, Robert Stromberg went on to direct Linda Woolverton’s screenplay. As expected, Maleficent (2014) received mixed reviews from critics. Yet, it became Angelina Jolie’s highest-grossing movie. With a budget of $180 – 263 million, the film grossed $758.5 million at the Box Office. It will go on to spur a sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019).

What better way to recap the movie than through its cast and characters? To this end, here is the top cast of Disney’s 2014 Maleficent.

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie)

Angelina Jolie takes on the role of the fairy queen, Maleficent. Maleficent is popularly known as the wicked fairy queen that places a curse on Sleeping Beauty. The film takes us back to her story to show how she came to be; a wicked fairy queen.

Like most teenage girls, Maleficent falls in love with a human, Stefan. But, as they grow older, they drift apart with responsibilities. Maleficent prepares to be Queen and protector of the Moors, while Stefan looks to one day be King.

Maleficent feels betrayed when Stefan drugs her and cuts off her wings. An act she’ll later learn was required to be made the King’s successor. Enraged and heartbroken, she attends Aurora’s christening uninvited and places a curse on her.

What Maleficent didn’t realize was that 16 years was too long a time to wait in anger. When her path crosses with Aurora’s, she becomes taken by the child. Maleficent, with a true love for Aurora, tasks herself with finding a way to break the curse. When she fails, she goes the extra mile to find a prince.

In the end, the film portrays Maleficent’s story as tragic rather than plain evil.

Stefan (Sharlto Copley)


credit: Maleficent

Stefan slowly falls in love with a fairy, Maleficent. As proof of their love, they share a true love kiss, or so they think. However, time and seasons drift them apart, with Stefan focused on ways to succeed King Henry. When King Henry gives the condition for succession at the death of Maleficent, Stefan remains focused on his goal.

Face-to-face with a drugged Maleficent, Stefan is unable to kill her. So instead, he cuts off her wings as proof of his death. The next time he sees Maleficent, she comes to place a curse on his daughter Aurora. Determining that if he kills Maleficent for good, the spell will be broken.

He solicits the help of three pixie fairies to take baby Aurora and watch over her until the day after her 16th birthday. Unfortunately, Stefan becomes obsessed with finding and killing Maleficent. His obsession would ultimately lead him to his death.

Aurora (Elle Fanning)


credit: Maleficent

Before Elle Fanning took on the role of playing the teenage Aurora, the production team couldn’t get a little girl to play a younger Aurora. Many kids were uncomfortable with Angelina Jolie’s character costume. So, they settled for Jolie and Brad Pitt’s real-life daughter, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt.

Aurora is the daughter of King Stefan. During her christening, Maleficent places a curse on her. The curse says that on Aurora’s 16th birthday, she will prick her finger in a spinning wheel spindle. This will cause her to fall into an everlasting sleep that true love’s kiss can only break.

Although raised by the three pixie fairies, she encounters Maleficent, who she names her fairy godmother. The two bond over the years until the day before her 16th birthday. The pixie fairies tell Aurora about her lineage and what Maleficent did to her.

Lured by the curse, she pricks her finger on the spinning wheel spindle and falls into a deathlike sleep. She’s only revived when Maleficent kisses her.

The Three Pixie-Fairies

The Three Pixie-Fairies

credit: Maleficent

After Maleficent placed a curse on Aurora, King Stefan handed Aurora three good-willed pixies. They helped raise Aurora and were supposed to return her to the castle a day after her 16th birthday.

A day before Aurora’s 16th birthday, they decide to reveal her true identity and why she has lived away from the palace.

To perfect the pixie-fairy appearance, motion capture technology was used. The red pixie-fairy, Knotgrass, was played by Imelda Staunton. Juno Temple played the green pixie-fairy, Thistlewit. Then, Flittle, the blue pixie-fairy, was played by Lesley Manville.

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