Sunday, January 26, 2014

UPDATE: ANOTHER Maleficent Trailer All Ready!

Lana Del Rey's Once Upon A Dream sounds like it belongs in a horror film, which this might end up being. There are only two points I am going to make right now, because--frankly--the more I see, the more I am stumped--but something to keep in mind is the headdress (the all-black skull-cap with the horns protruding upwards). Why is this important? Well, she doesn't always wear it, at some point, she puts it on; why (please recall, in Oz the Great and Powerful when Theodora [Mila Kunis] goes through her metamorphosis to become "the Wicked Witch of the West as we came to know her from the 1939 classic)? Well, it's black, so that means death, but we don't see any hair (it's free-flowing in her earlier life at various parts of the trailer), which symbolizes thoughts; ALSO, she has something black wrapped around her throat, so "death"--which black symbolizes--is leading/guiding her on (the throat is the area where a collar/leash is placed, so it's what easily holds our attention). Again, if this is death to the spirit--her heart has been hardened and her soul is in a state of death, instead of her being "dead to the world," as Christians are called to do so we can grow in the soul/spirit--than it makes sense to interpret her bright red lips as her appetites. But this leads us to the second point,...
The battle scene around 0:50, when some kind of,.... "earth dragon" comes up and the fierce looking tree men ride out, ready to battle the humans. Now we saw something similar to this in Snow White and the Huntsman with the bizarre black soldiers the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron) employed to do her bidding (and there will probably be room for a lot of comparisons between the two films), but this scene (what we have seen so far) makes me think of two things: first, as we can see in the image just above, whereas a younger Maleficent is amidst a verdant and green earth, the older Maleficent is among the barren and winter earth (did you catch that dead tree throne?). Secondly, who do we usually associate the environment with in our culture, especially someone who uses the environment to try and destroy their opposition? The liberals. They totally act like they own the environment, and use it "against" conservatives like a weapon whenever they can.
Again, we are seeing the color green usually associated with Maleficent, however, the purple "trimmings" of her costume are absent; why? The film makers want us to know that they know the story, and we know the story, and we the audience have certain expectations about how Maleficent should be (including her costume). I don't think this is an accident. Purple usually signifies both royalty--because in ancient Rome it was the most expensive color of fabric to buy, so only the royal house hold could afford it (and they banned anyone else from wearing it)--but purple also denotes suffering, because a good king suffers for their people, instead of making their people suffer for them (like paying high taxes). What we do have is that recurring "blue" overtone of the sequences, and it might be that it's especially associated with Aurora or part of the general look of the film. After the 2002 release of Jet Li's Hero, no one doubts the important role color plays in communicating and, given the emphasis they are placing upon the original story, the change is, I'm sure, significant. 
Back to the song, Once Upon A Dream: we know, from the 1959 version, that Aurora sings that to Prince Philip; given the prominence of the song playing constantly throughout the trailer, and such a well-known artist recording the wildly divergent "new" take on the original, I think our attention is supposed to be drawn to it; why? Well, what if, instead of it being a long song between Aurora and Philip, it's really a love song between the audience and Maleficent: "we know" her, we know what Maleficent will do, we know that look in her eye and that she's going to turn into a dragon and she has that pet raven and wears horns, etc., etc., and we love her for it! We are totally fascinated with that tone of Maleficent's voice, and how she seems not offended by not being invited to Aurora's christening, and even offers Aurora a gift of her own, then she turns evil and nasty. We know this about Maleficent, and we still "love her" the way we did once upon an animated story. I still can't say anything definite, but the more I see, the more excited I am to see more!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner