Okay, before we get into this, no, I did not see Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. I had no desire to see it based on my opinion of 2014’s Maleficent. So I don’t know what happened in the sequel. I’m sure I’ll see it eventually. After all, I do have Disney+. But for now, I mostly don’t care.
Now that that’s out of the way…
One of the aspects of the first Maleficent film that I didn’t love was the portrayal of the three fairies that take in Aurora and raise her to the age of 16. They were depicted as little more than complete morons. For some reason, this just didn’t jive with my memory of those characters in the original animated Sleeping Beauty, on which this live action joint was sort of based.
I also didn’t like that Maleficent was given a tragic back story. Why can’t an evil character just be evil?
Anyway… I happened to watch Sleeping Beauty over the weekend and my mind may have actually been changed about those three fairies: Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather.
Their plan to raise Aurora in secret, away from the castle, isn’t a bad one. The thought is that if they are able to keep her out of Maleficent’s watchful eye, then the evil fairy can’t enact her deadly plan once the princess turns 16. Sort of makes sense.
It also makes sense that they would do so without the use of magic, disguising themselves as three peasant women living out in a cabin in the woods. Magic would just attract the attention of a powerfully magical creature like Maleficent.
But then, 16 years later, when it’s time to celebrate Aurora’s, or Briar Rose’s, birthday and return to her royal life, they plan to make her an elaborate gown and a four-tiered birthday cake all in the span of time it takes her to pick some berries. This might take a few hours, right?
I’m no expert on dressmaking, but I feel like something as complicated as what Aurora winds up with would take a bit longer than a few hours to put together. And I don’t know how you bake cakes in medieval ovens, but I doubt you can cook all four layers at once while still having time to decorate the cake after those layers have cooled.
But lets suspend belief for a moment in regards to how much time they have. If we can believe that Ferris Bueller can do all the things he did during one school day, then we can believe these temporarily unmagical fairies can deliver on Briar Rose’s sweet sixteen while she’s picking berries and singing “Once Upon a Dream” with her one true love.
What makes me think that Maleficent was right in portraying the fairies as morons is the fact that these ladies have been doing the human thing for 16 years now and they still don’t know how to make clothes, cook food, or clean the house.
Flora cuts a hole in the fabric because that’s where Aurora’s feet will go through. Makes perfect sense to Fauna, who believes “folding” eggs into the batter literally means putting two unbroken eggs into the bowl and folding the batter over them. Merryweather is the only one that seems to have any amount of common sense, suggesting that they complete these seemingly impossible tasks with the use of their magic wands.
And it soon becomes clear that magic is the only way they’re going to get the dress made, the cake baked, and the cottage cleaned.
16 years! They’ve been pretending to be humans. They’ve been raising this child from infancy. And they don’t know how to clean house? They don’t know how to bake a cake? Have they been wearing the same dresses for all that time?
It’s not just the preparation for Aurora’s birthday party, though. It’s in the way they break the news that, “Hey, surprise, you’re really a princess and we kinda stole you away from your parents, the king and queen!”
I mean, sure, eventually it’d be cool to learn that you’ve descended from royalty. But to just drop that knowledge like it’s nothing? Of course Aurora (who has only known herself as Briar Rose for 16 years) is going to be devastated. Especially after meeting and falling in love with a complete stranger 15 minutes ago.
“You mean I have to marry a handsome prince and inherit all the wealth and power that my parents’ kingdom has to offer?! Where’s the nearest bed? I need to dramatically throw myself down upon it!”
There have got to be easier ways to reveal Aurora’s true identity to her. There’s a big celebration happening at the castle for Aurora’s return. Why not all travel together to celebrate with the rest of the kingdom and when Briar Rose begins to wonder when the princess is going to arrive, they just casually let her know she’s already there. “Surprise! It’s you! Oh, and that random stranger you met earlier today? There he is! He’s the prince to whom you’ve been betrothed since birth!”
And they all lived happily ever after. Well… I mean… after the whole spinning wheel incident. Guess that still has to happen… otherwise she wouldn’t be Sleeping Beauty, would she?