Maleficent, Into the Woods, Jack and the Beanstalk: Modern Realities of Life in Fairy Tales

Malificient is not your conventional story. It is a spin on the traditional “Sleeping Beauty “ fairy tale with a modern twist. The end of the film is really unexpected. Sleeping beauty is usually awakened by the magical. An elusive and intriguing kiss from her “true love” (a Prince) and thereafter they are wed. However, this is not the case in Maleficent! Aurora is awoken by a fond motherly kiss on her forehead by Maleficent. This is an unexpected yet maternal instinct, coming from Malificien, considering she cursed Aurora upon seeing her after birth to exact revenge on King Stephan whom she loved dearly.

The next unforeseen twist in the film is when Maleficient encourages Aurora to be crowned Queen of The Kingdom. As opposed to her taking all the power and glory for herself. This indicates to the audience that she is not a resentful person; rather a warm and caring person. She has revealed her true self to the audience at the end of the film. We the audience have been encouraged to despise the evil Queen Maleficent, but this act shows us that she has a softer side because she was never interested in power but she wanted revenge! The fact that she so easily handed over her crown to but a teenager whom she loathes by cursing her initially.

The modern day take is both refreshing and a relevant adaptation; a mother’s love for a daughter is high lighted; even though they are not truly mother and daughter but Maleficient takes it upon herself to care for Aurora since the death of her biological mother and of course the love for her King Stephan. Again this reveals to the audience she a good and kind person who regrets her former actions. Underneath the tough exterior, she is a vulnerable woman that acted out of rage. This story provides a more realistic storyline which captivates modern audiences as opposed to a classic cliché of “true love”. Another interesting point is how Maleficent supported Aurora in her endeavor to rule as queen. This fresh new approach showcases how stereotypical a fairy tale can be, utilizing stock characters such as the villain and the loveable characters. In this film, the villain’s personality develops and she is portrayed as good and hopeful in the end. This major plot change captivates the modern audience.

In my opinion, the magical kiss from the prince that awakens sleeping beauty and they are forever in love, get married and live happily ever after is both unrealistic and exaggerated. This is not the way true love happens. It takes time to develop into a relationship of mutual trust and companionship. This ending is outdated and very predictable so it leaves little to the imagination. Therefore making the film both boring and without suspense. I am certain you will agree!

Princess Aurora’s happily ever after was not dependant on a male. Maleficent eventually portrayed the role of the heroine. She was continuously victorious over King Stefan when they were engaged in battle. This concept is not standard in a fairy tale which always has a “knight in shining armor who bravely rescues a damsel in distress”. This twist makes the movie more interesting and appealing to the modern audience.

The orthodox belief in “happily ever after ” and “true love’s kiss” is nothing but a myth. As we all know, relationships are based on compatibility, trust, and loyalty. This film indicates budding relationships between parents and children, siblings etc. and how vital these bonds are. As social beings it is instinctive for us to bond; to love and be loved. This film appeals to that audience because of ties between Maleficent and Aurora. The love and support Aurora receives are so uplifting that it steers her attention away from the fact that she is now an orphan. This is a major climax for moviegoers. Maleficent’s ability to save the day for Aurora is very relevant in today’s world because it promotes female empowerment and displays the importance of a female’s role in society. Maleficent’s victory over King Stefan elevates the status of females and exhibits their strength both mentally and physically.

Into the woods was originally a stage musical adapted into a film. This film incorporates violent death and adultery which is unheard of in a conventional fairy tale. The nature of this film is gruesome and dark. The baker’s wife, who was initially portrayed as happily in love with her husband and their child. As the film progresses she expresses the desire to have a more meaningful life of riches and desire which is very forth write and modern. This is unheard of in fairy tales. Usually, women are portrayed as being subservient to their husbands.

The baker's wife dies an ugly death by falling off a cliff instead of achieving a happy ending. Another example is how as opposed to living happily ever after, Jack’s mother from Jack and the Beanstalk lost her life due to an accident. She performed a noble deed, protecting her son from the giant who was after him, however, she ultimately lost her life. This is certainly not a recurring characteristic of fairy tales. Valiance is certainly not repaid with death!

The intensity of both her death and adultery is a realistic trait of society as seen today. This appeals to audiences today because they can relate to circumstances around them. the divorce rate has escalated. Those couples that are happily married want to be unique, showcasing a perfect marriage when in actuality, this is not the case. Death is showcased openly in this film. The characters are real people with real emotions who are dealing with very real issues. This scenario feeds into the audiences lives aptly.

In conclusion, fairy tales have been adapted to be more relatable to modern audiences. These fictional stories are no longer purely for children’s enjoyment, they convey real-life messages with deep meanings and are targeted towards a much older demographic. The dress, tone, and language appeal to a more select audience. These modern fairy tales have given audiences a view outside the box. Some of the views may be controversial as with today. I think these fairy tales in line with modern-day viewing because gone are the days when females are shunned as the superior sex.

01 August 2022
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