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Maleficent is Better As a Villain Than a Heroine

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Jun 01, 2014 | 9:00am EDT

MaleficentWalt Disney Co. via Everett Collection

Captain Hook might be funnier and Cruella De Vil might be better dressed, but no Disney villain is more terrifyingly iconic than Maleficent. Since she stormed into a party she wasn’t invited to in a wave of green fire, she’s been the inspiration for television shows, cosmetic lines and of course, countless children’s nightmares. Now, like the evil diva she is, Maleficent is finally getting a feature film of her own, starring the equally stunning and powerful Angelina Jolie. The film, which is currently in theaters, will look back at the origins and inner life of the mistress of evil and make her the hero of her own story.

And while we’re excited to learn more about what turned Maleficent from a normal, happy fairy into one of the scariest cartoon characters of all time, we’re much more interested in her as a villain than as a heroine. In the process of adding some backstory to the character, Disney took away several of the key characteristics that made Maleficent so amazing and intimidating, and frankly, the dark side just seems to suit her better. Don't believe us? Let's take a look at old-school Maleficent: 

She’s Unapologetic
Because Maleficent is a Disney film, it needs a happy ending, and so Maleficent learns to love Aurora and believe, once again, in the idea of goodness. That’s all dandy, but the original Maleficent never would have apologized for or given up her evil deeds. Instead of letting things go, she decided to stand up for herself and wouldn’t compromise on her beliefs, and that’s just as valuable a life lesson as forgiveness, and it makes for a much less cheesy ending.

She’s Confident
Like all coming of age stories, Maleficent follows the main character as she grows into her abilities and learns to have faith in herself, and while it might make for an interesting story, it’s not nearly as entertaining as the original Maleficent, who enters full of confidence and power. By the time we meet her, she’s already realized her potential, and she’ll take every opportunity she gets to remind the people around her just how awesome she is. We should all be as proud of ourselves as Maleficent is.

She’s an Advocate of Good Manners
Look, nobody wants the evil witch who lives in the creepy tower bringing down the festivities at their daughter’s christening, but if you’re going to invite the whole kingdom, it’s only polite to send an invitation her way as a courtesy.  If you ask us, that’s a much more important lesson for children to learn than the “be careful who you trust” or “don’t betray your friends in order to become king" that Maleficent preaches. 

Her Outfits Are Fabulous
Sure, fairies and princesses get pretty ball gowns, but Maleficent has a crown made of horns that’s taller and more intimidating than any tiara. That alone would make the dark side worth it, but she’s also got a dramatic cape, designed for quick getaways and punctuating her threats with style and panache. Besides, a cape is perfect for all occasions: casual get-togethers, formal events, murder, putting curses on people, flying away into the night. Ball gowns don’t have that kind of versatility.

She Can Transform Into a Dragon
By far the coolest aspect of Maleficent’s character in Sleeping Beauty is her ability to turn into a dragon at will. Unfortunately, that awesome trait doesn’t belong to her in Maleficent, as instead of becoming a dragon and fighting Prince Phillip, she transforms her faithful crow/man pal instead and sends him off to do her bidding. It’s great to get your own movie, but is it really worth giving up your ability to become a dragon?

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