Clap if you believe in fairies!
Mean, nasty and totally hot fairies, at that, as Angelina Jolie has just staked her claim as the movie villain of 2014 with the release of the new trailer for Disney's dark fairy tale, "Maleficent."
Yesterday's clip teased Maleficent's wings, her pride and joy that was taken from her and drove her to become the scheming, bitter Mistress of All Evil, first portrayed on the big screen in Disney's animated classic, "Sleeping Beauty" (1959). The trailer provides even more of Maleficent's backstory, turning her into just as much a tragic figure as a full-blown "bad guy."
We begin with a live-action recreation of the opening scene of "Sleeping Beauty," where Maleficent, offended that she wasn't invited to the christening of Princess Aurora, bestows a "gift" on the child: before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will fall into a "sleep-like death," courtesy of pricking her finger on a spinning wheel.
From there, we see Maleficent in her life as an outcast, one with various shapeshifters and creatures at her command (her pet raven, Diablo, makes a few appearances) as she lurks about in the shadows and forests of the Forbidden Mountains. She encounters a grown-up Aurora (Elle Fanning), now living under a false identity in an attempt to thwart Maleficent's curse, and reveals the main reason for her nastiness: the loss of her fairy wings, which the trailer implies was the doing of Aurora's father, King Stefan (Sharlto Copley).
There's a lot going on in the trailer, including epic battle scenes featuring various CGI beasts shaped from Maleficent's black magic. However, Jolie's performance shines through all of the big budget razzle-dazzle, bringing a 'serious thespian' gravitas to what could've easily been just a ... well, a cartoon character. She oozes charm, menace and sexiness as she more than earns the honor of having the movie named after her character, seemingly never once defaulting to high camp or theatrical histrionics (unlike her recent fairy tale villain predecessor, Charlize Theron, in 2012's so-so "Snow White and the Huntsman").
Finally, the trailer reveals that, yes, there is indeed a dragon in "Maleficent" ... though it seems to be an alternate form of Diablo the raven, not of Maleficent herself. More dark trickery, perhaps? We'll have to wait and see!
"Maleficent" opens in theaters on May 30.