Spoiler alert ahead! It’s obvious, Disney has fallen in love with a new meta-theme: Wronged, cold-hearted, lonely woman unearths apocalyptic forces that overtake her kingdom, but is also the only one who can break the spell. But only after she rediscovers her own humanity and beats a deceptive, opportunistic prince with poor facial definition and socio-pathological traits. My favorite character in Maleficent is raven-turned-Jack-White-clone. In Frozen, it was Olaf.
This is one of several cultural splits between Millennial and post-Millennial children. Gen Z girls are now learning that true love’s kiss does not come from a prince in a shining armor for whom they can only wait patiently for – even 100 years if necessary. Moreover they are learning to be fierce, but not vengeful. And to bestow love on other women younger than themselves (Elsa towards Anna, Maleficent towards Aurora). In this sense, Disney falls in line with the big mean-girl busting project of the twenty-tens.
At the risk of over-analyzing a kid movie, Malefecent’s inability to break her own spell is also a lesson in cyberbullying and social media awareness. Like evil spells, hurtful comments posted in social media can never be taken back. Even when the once jealous, vengeful villain changes and is plagued with remorse. However, redemption is still possible, but only if the perpetrator personally repents, face-to-face with her victim.
Compared to its docile princess imagery of the past, I like Disney’s emerging girl-power orientation. But they have to be careful not become too predictable. For the Cinderella makeover planned released in 2015, let’s the company pays close attention to the peculiarities of post-millennial Homelander kids. These kids are smart, and to keep their attention, the plot line should not be reused more than twice.
And the best makeover of them all, Lana Del Rey’s darker version of Once Upon a Dream: