Posts Tagged ‘Maleficent’

Maleficent has always been one of my favorite Disney bad-gals. She can turn into a dragon! What’s to not like? Plus, that head-dress of hers is just classic. So I’ve been looking forward to this character’s return in the fairy tale drama, Once Upon A Time.

The season has just begun, but already I can tell Maleficent will be a major focus. Not only does she have past entanglements with Snow White and Charming, but evidently Maleficent and Regina (a.k.a. Snow White”s nemesis, the Evil Queen) once had a close friendship.

In the most recent episode, we saw how Regina, then a bitter teenager, idolized Maleficent’s dragon powers. Rumplestilkskin, in his jealousy, transported Regina to Maleficent’s castle, where Regina found Maleficent shattered by the failure of her curse against Briar Rose. Though disappointed, Regina succeeded in rekindling Maleficent’s flame and restoring her powers.

Hints in past episodes are that the two women had a rocky relationship. Regina ultimately imprisoned Maleficent in dragon form to guard a powerful artifact, while Maleficent had secretly offered to help Snow White overcome Regina’s curse before it was even cast. For his part, Rumple had also recruited the Queens of Darkness — Maleficent, Ursula (the sea witch from Little Mermaid) and Cruella deVille of 101 Dalmations — for his schemes, only to turn against them later.

But alliances shift, and now a consortium of villains is hunting down the Author. They include Regina, Rumple, and the Queens of Darkness. Their plan is to force the Author to write them all happy endings.

I missed the first season, where Maleficent battled Emma (daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming) and lost. This time, by darn, I’m not going to miss it! I’ll follow up in a few episodes to let you know how my favorite Dragon Lady is doing.

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Zahhak, the three-headed dragon, is a fascinating character that really is in a class all his own. Not just because Arab and Iranian legends are so little known here in the US.

When you hear the words “three-headed dragon,” don’t you picture a beast with three dragon heads? But Zahhak actually has two dragon heads and one human. That’s a pretty unique combination.

He also falls into that rare group of dragons who start out life as human, but become dragons because of their own evil. The legends relate that Zahhak, as a prince, was clever but weak-willed. He allowed the evil spirit Ahriman to lure him from the path of righteousness. In fact, it was Ahriman himself who “rewarded” Zahhak’s cooperation by giving him the two dragon heads.

This isn’t the same as Maleficent, who in the 1959 movie Sleeping Beauty turned into a dragon to battle Prince Phillip. Zahhak makes decisions that there’s no coming back from. The only other dragon I can think of who’s like this is Fafnir, of Germanic myth. Fafnir, a dwarf, was so overcome by lust for gold that he killed his own father. He, too, transformed into a dragon and never regained his original shape.

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As a quick follow-up to my earlier post on the Liebster Award, I have been nominated a second time by YA author Shannon A Thompson. If you missed the Liebster blog post or want to see it again, go ahead and click on the link up above.

Shannon has an amazing blog and currently is touching on the snobbery of a particular self-appointed “expert” toward YA Lit. Her blog is always interesting, so feel free to take a look. And thanks to Shannon for the nomination.

Now about that movie! I had read reviews on Maleficent that indicated excellent acting and FX but the screenplay is a dog. Particularly, one critic alleged a marked anti-male bias in the script. I don’t agree. Just because the principal villain is male does not make this a man-bashing movie. The script switches around a well known tale in which the very evil antagonist was female. So if the formerly-villain Maleficent becomes the hero in this latest movie, who were you thinking the new antagonist was going to be? (Hint: Not Aurora!)

Certainly, other characters are less developed than Maleficent. If King Stephen is something of a stock character, so are the three fairies, who continue the unfortunate tradition of fairy-ridicule from Sleeping Beauty. Both Aurora and Phillip have almost nothing to do in this script. In addition, Stephen’s evil is more than balanced by the crow, Diablo, a positive male figure in this film.

That’s enough of breaking it down by sexes, I think. I was surprised to enjoy Angelina Jolie’s performance in the title role since she hasn’t impressed me before. Her wardrobe here is excellent and restrained and she brings gravitas to the role. Possibly she’s decided it’s time to play more mature parts rather than just being a hot chick. And, after her well-publicized surgeries, she may have felt revealing attire would have the audience focused on looking for scars rather than watching her performance.

As for the dragons, there are three different varieties during the show. One is an fearsome earth beast made of roots and vines. The second is light and airy, with fluttering, diaphanous fins. Technically these both are Lindworms — long and snaky, without paws or wings. And the third, of course, is the big black dragon breathing fire. I can’t tell you more about this without spoiling one of the surprises.

Should you go see Maleficent? You should. There’s a little warfare but not in a gory way, and brief kissing but no sex scenes, so even young kids won’t be dismayed. Is this the deepest pool in the river? No, but it’s nowhere near as shallow as you may have heard.

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As a follow up to my recent post about the TV show Dragon Tales, I’ve heard there’s also a TV show based on How to Train Your Dragon, the hit dragon movie from a few summers ago. The news came from Princess of Dragons’ blog. I won’t reblog, because that seems like cheating to me, but you can read her post here.

This leads me to a couple more dragons coming out on screen this summer. Actually, some are already out. Movies I haven’t seen yet, but plan to see:

1) Godzilla. Technically not a dragon, but the eleven-year-old in me can’t get enough of guys in rubber suits stomping through cities. Okay, it’s not a rubber suit any more, it’s CGI. But how can I ignore a breath weapon like that?

2) Maleficent. I’m not sure whether Angelina Jolie’s title character turns into a dragon during this movie. I hope so! When Maleficent did her dragon turn at the end of Sleeping Beauty, it really set the place on fire for me. (Ha ha.) Besides, the rest of the fairies in that movie were so inane. Even as a young child, I knew there was something wrong with them.

Fairies and dragons should never be treated as silly!

3) How To Train Your Dragon 2. The first movie was so good (even though some of the dragons were silly) that I’m almost afraid to try the second one. How can a sequel compare? Maybe it doesn’t have to, because there will be dragons. Lots and lots of dragons.

I also still wish to see the latest X-men movie. But that’s a different blog post. What about all of you — got any good dragon movies to recommend?

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