Monday, August 12, 2013

Maleficent Starring Angelina Jolie

While this is an intriguing poster, it's not the poster employed by Walt Disney Studios to promote its big 2014 release, Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, the image directly below is. There is, however, an interesting feature I would like to discuss with this image: the background. The parchment-like background invokes parchment, an old form of paper upon which documents were written; why take this approach with a poster? For at least two reasons: first, it invokes the old fairy tale, the original narrative from the Grimm Brothers as the recorded it from oral history but, secondly an more importantly, it makes us question what is an old, important document for us as Americans? The Constitution. I haven't gotten my analysis on World War Z up yet, because I just can't believe that evil of a film was made, but therein--even in the trailer--we see the Constitution clearly for a brief moment (and that's all we see of it in the film, as well) and then we never see it again; it's not that it has been put in "safe keeping," rather, it's been taken away, because--according to the film, it's not needed anymore. Looking at the synopsis of Maleficent (included below) we can all ready surmise that it will be a pro-socialist film, with Maleficent symbolizing people like myself who believe in the Constitution and America as a super-power: the world is far better off in chaos, these films want us to believe, but having seen several films all ready, such as Mirror, Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman and Oz the Great and Powerful, as well as The Hobbit, we can see how Maleficent will be fitting within a larger context and the issues it wants to tackle in the dialogue it will establish.
(This article has been updated with the latest trailer and discussion for Angelina Jolie's Maleficent at this link. The article at this link is the very best I have written on all aspects of Maleficent so far thus). Elysium came out on top this weekend with $30 million, a bit less than anticipated, and what is being called as "Jennifer Aniston's 'pot comedy' We're the Millers" came in second with $26 million. Why is this important? Again, it determines what actors are going to have work in the upcoming year, and what kinds of projects they will pick to work on. What I am TRULY upset about is how Elysium is being hailed as a great film (it still only has a D rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and how well it did this weekend, when it didn't do as well as Pacific Rim and had two major stars in it (Foster and Damon). Perfect example, my friends, of Hollywood liberal critics' bias. Something important happened this weekend we need to discuss,...  
Is it just me or does this look pretty,.... awful? No, it's not just me, it definitely looks awful. Why is it important how it looks? For two reasons: first, it demonstrates how, not only Maleficent, but Sleeping Beauty as well (we really shouldn't include that here, because it's being directed by Kenneth Branaugh who gave us the first, spectacular Thor, so if anyone will do a magnificent job, he will) and other Disney films, will be treated and, secondly, it gives us an idea of how the new Maleficent has been "resurrected" and how she will be portrayed. I mean, I think she looks like a vampire, which is what socialists have been labeling capitalists, like myself, and the synopsis we have been provided certainly seems to point in the direction of an anti-capitalist film. There are some more images of her, featured below. At the D23 convention this weekend, Ms. Jolie told about how her make-up was so good, it even scared the kids,... or maybe it was just that her make-up was so bad, the socialist mediocrity curse is what scared the kids,... Three of her own children are in the film, Vivienne, Pax and Zahara. As of yet, there is no date for the release of the first, official trailer, however, I will post it as soon as it becomes available; my guess is it will be attached to another big Disney film, such as Thor the Dark World, opening in November.
Every other year, Disney holds a fan convention where it announces future films and is supposed to give fans teasers available to no one else (footage of Maleficent was shown, however, I haven't been able to find any of it posted online): some of Disney's announcements and teasers came in the form of their highly touted film Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie (who, by no coincidence I am sure, was recently announced as Hollywood's highest paid actress,...). Although no footage as of yet is available, we do have some images (almost like they are confused about which way to go) and the synopsis of the film which appears to be definitively pro-socialist.
This poster is obviously a bit more "glamorous" but it's not the poster being used as the film's image poster (the one above is), rather, it's just concept art (and doesn't really fit in as well with what appears to be Maleficent actual appearance in the film, image below). In this poster, she appears more "serpentine" than vampiric, as the one above. The green skin, like Theodora (Mila Kunis) in Oz the Great and Powerful, is meant to convey the sense of the opposite of hope, that something is rotted and decayed. Her darker green eyebrows (you can click on the image and a larger version will open so you can get a better look at it) frames the blue eyes, so she's not only rotten herself (her green skin) but she sees everything as being rotten (the eyebrows frame our eyes and reveal how we frame the world). Why are the eyes in blue? Blue either denotes wisdom or depression, because the path of wisdom is often a path of sad experiences. In Maleficent's case, there might be some wisdom--like, for the film makers, her seeing the "wisdom" that Obama is really a better option for America than her old ways--but mostly it will be depression and her own inner-sadness driving her. Her big lips highlight her "appetites" and the pink color chosen--they almost look chapped, don't they?--either denotes femininity or love that has not been perfected (pink is diluted red, or red that hasn't "matured" like an early love that hasn't yet proven itself through deeds). On the left side of her face there appears to be a scar, and it might be, but it's probably "smoke" or "stench" rising up to wrap her, like the "smoke" or vapors around her neck. My first thought is it reminds me of the Angel Of Death from Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston, when the Angel--as a green vapor--comes down from heaven, winding its way through the Egyptian streets and homes, killing all the first-borns. In the poster, it's probably just meant to invoke the presence of her "rotten magic" to get rid of the invading king. Not wanting to join forces with the invading king is probably why the film makers have retained the iconic widow's peak head-dress of Maleficent from the original animated film: Maleficent's country has died (according to the synopsis) leaving her a widow, and she doesn't want to accept the new king, hence, she wants to remain, symbolically, unwed, by not uniting herself to the new world order. An important note about the film, it was originally slated to open July 2, 2014, scheduled to be a huge, 3D blockbuster (the film's budget is $200 million); now, it's been moved to the more "modest" opening date of March, along with Hercules 3D and 300: Rise Of An Empire. The suits at Disney must not think the film turned out very well, and it's highly probable that their epic fail in The Lone Ranger has them moving the film to more secure footing. I PROMISE, in January, we will thoroughly examine the original Sleeping Beauty story, the fairy tale and the Walt Disney version (because that's what most of us are going to be mentally comparing the film to in our minds, and that's some serious baggage for film makers to deal with in a new adaptation). Originally, in the Disney animated version, we can say that Aurora, the princess, pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, symbolizes the loss of her virginity; why? She wants to marry the young man she met in the woods, not the prince she has been destined for, so what is it likely she did as an act of revolt? Slept with the man she wanted to be with, not the man chosen for her, and the spinning wheel has long been a symbol of fate and destiny, while the pointed spindle is a phallic symbol, with the pricking of her finger, and the resulting blood, easily being the breaking of the hymen resulting in the loss of virginity. This symbol interpretation has ENORMOUS consequences because of when the film was made, at the end of World War II when, like Aurora, the US had to face which path it would take: remain in the backwoods of a country mired by the Great Depression and just be "another country," or accept our destiny and our place as a super power in the world (Aurora being a princess, not just a maiden in the forest). Again, there is a ton to discuss, but just as Sleeping Beauty was used at the end of World War II to decide where we as a nation would go, so it's being used now with the Obama Administration in deciding if we are going to retract into the woods and become, as Obama as said he hopes we will, a country on the same level as everyone else, or if we will revolt against him, undo what he has done and become a super-power again.
The official synopsis: "A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land's fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king's successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom and perhaps to Maleficent true happiness as well." So, how can we say Maleficent is going to be pro-socialist? By the films we have all ready seen: Mirror, Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, Oz the Great and Powerful. 
On the left is a very bad poster--Maleficent looks cross-eyed (click on image to view a larger version)--with the dragon Cynder who must be making an appearance in the film; in the center is Smaug, the dragon Bilbo Baggins must battle in the December release The Hobbit: the Desolation Of Smaug and, on the right, the tail of the giant lizard Godzilla, opening sometime next year. What do they all have in common? Dragons/lizards; why is that important? The tagline for Maleficent is, "Evil has a beginning," and for Christians, like myself and who are the majority of readers here, that beginning is literally THE BEGINNING, when Satan revolted against God, was cast out of Heaven and banished to hell and who took revenge on God by going into the Garden of Eden and leading Adam and Eve to sin. We can see this idea being retained in Maleficent through her iconic horns, like those of a goat, one of the traditional symbols of the devil, as is a dragon/lizard. Because Satan took the form of a serpent--a reptile--in the Garden of Eden, reptiles often convey Satan's presence, especially dragons, because dragons are "unnatural" beings, like Satan--it is natural to love God because He is our Father and Creator; not loving God is unnatural. In The Hobbit: the Desolation Of Smaug, Bilbo has to overcome the dragon Smaug to win the treasure (in the central image, a tiny Bilbo is in the center-right of the image, along with all the gold, much like what we saw in the treasure room of Oz the Great and Powerful and Oscar having to defeat the witches, who are always brides of Satan). It's unclear in Maleficentt if she turns herself into the dragon or the dragon is one of her servants, however, has Maleficent becomes more evil, she looses her own identity to be absolved by the Satanic images in the film. Why is this important? The foundational beliefs of Christianity has been turned against Christians, to make us look like we are the devil for not embracing the changes Obama has brought to this country, the same as we see in The Conjuring, and anyone wanting a house becoming demonically possessed (please see The Devil's Hour: The Conjuring & Demonic Possessions for more). On the other side of the debate, we can see how both Smaug and Godzilla invaded a country and caused mass destruction and ruin, and in both cases, Obama--who has ruined this country according to many, like myself--can be likened to Smaug and Godzilla, taking the exact opposite approach (which has been typical of films as of the last two years, two films utilizing the exact same image to convey utterly opposite ideas).
The invaders would be allegorical to the Obama Administration (and it's interesting to note that the invading king's successor is a bastard, a half-human and half-fairy, I will let you make that connection yourself), those socialists who have come to this country and have given "change" just like what was promised, just not what was expected. Maleficent, then, would be just like the zombies in World War Z: people who are trying to defend the Constitution, fighting for the way of life we have always known and cherished in our idyllic, peaceful kingdom. The "ruthless betrayal" people like myself have come to suffer is that betrayal of our Constitutional rights and limitations of government power, turning our hearts to stone as Obama takes more and more power, and less and less responsibility for corruption in his administration. The child Aurora, symbolically the fruit of Obama's administration and his legacy, is supposed to be the key to peace in the US and our own happiness, I guess.  
An image of Ms. Jolie as Maleficent on the set during filming. It appears this is some kind of battle scene and there are numerous cows appearing with her. What has been verified as a false script was leaked online, however, there are a few more details we can pinpoint. Queen Ulla, portrayed by Miranda Richardson, is a fairy queen and the aunt to Maleficent but the aunt and niece apparently don't get along. Sam Riley portrays Diaval, a raven who changes into human form to serve Maleficent. In the image above, Maleficent wears a very non-glamorous brown robe, highlighted with yellow trim; where else have we seen someone magical wearing brown? Radagast the Brown from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Brown, the color of earth, denotes either humility--because, like St. Francis, we know we are but dust and to dust we shall return, so we don't become proud and arrogant--or filth, like, as in, human waste, because a person has "sullied themselves" with bad behavior. We have no idea what is going on in this image, but the yellow trim provides an intriguing clue: yellow, the color of gold, either denotes royalty--because only royalty can afford gold and it's the gift most often given to them, or a person has become so good, their soul has been refined like gold, so they are "royal" amongst common people--or cowardice (a yellow stripe) because royalty is supposed to be brave and go first in battle, if they aren't doing that, it's a sign of cowardice. We know from the synopsis that Maleficent fights bravely for her kingdom, so we can surmise (though I could very possibly be wrong) that this moment in the film conveys to us a time when Maleficent is still "good" and hasn't yet made her turn to evil.
In Mirror, Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman and Oz the Great and Powerful, we saw rulers who had unjustly usurped the throne and brought ruin to the once-prosper kingdoms as they reach for more and more power, causing everyone to suffer for their greedy agendas, just like we see in Obama (please see The Peacock vs the Swan: Mirror, MirrorThree Drops Of Blood: Snow White and the Huntsman and Ghosts, Evil Spirits & the Undead: Oz the Great and Powerful for more). This theme will be continued in both The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug and Godzilla when the Satan figures of Smaug and the giant lizard Godzilla will also bring ruin to what was once prosperous. Keeping track of which films take which sides, and advance which points of the socialist-capitalist debate ("socialism" and "capitalism" were the two most searched words on the Internet, if you will recall) isn't a boring hobby or snobbish past-time, rather, IT'S HISTORY IN THE MAKING, the tidal waves of culture creating, destroying and re-creating itself are all being documented in our art as we speak, and the success or failure of these films reveals the real success or failure of Obama's "Hope" and "Change" administration and exposes what people really think, and the direction our culture is really taking, for better or for worse.
Robert Stromberg directs Maleficent. He has twice won Oscars for his work in production design and he was the designer for Oz the Great and Powerful, so we shouldn't be surprised at the similarities we see between these two title banners; however similar their appearance is, the meaning is utterly different in both. In Oz the Great and Powerful, the dominant green color--invoking the Emerald City--is meant as a sign of hope, because Oscar wants to become a great man and his trip to Oz is his chance to do that; as he learns, however, you can't become a great man without first becoming a "good man," and while Oscar hopes to get gold for himself, he must first become gold, i.e., the good man who has been refined by the fire of tribulation and has embraced goodness and virtue rather than worldliness and greed. In Maleficent, the green denotes the "rottenness" of Maleficent, that she has abandoned hope and some evil has taken hold of her heart to make her side with evil, which is the cause of the metal (bronze?) in the lettering of the title, that she has become hard, rather than refined and made better. The columns in the structure in the background of the title banner probably invoke how, instead of being a "pillar" of the community, she is trying to tear down the community by tearing down those who are the "new pillars" of the "new community." The makers of Maleficent seem to be making a big deal about making the villain Maleficent a hero (ultimately with her conversion to accepting the new world order which Aurora will symbolize) but we will see the same process--but in a different direction--with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Thor the Dark World. While Loki isn't the main hero of the film, he is loved by the audience who roots for him to turn from his own hardened and bitter heart (he feels betrayed by being adopted and not ruling Asgard) to accepting the love of his brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth). This is the film which Maleficent will most likely parallel in narrative and structure, but that's just a guess.
I will, as always, keep posting news, images and trailers as soon as they become available!
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Another poster for the film.