Whether they’re keeping busy as mistresses of all that is evil or simply threatening to get you and your little dog, too, bad witches in film have it rough. Hollywood’s villainous witches are often driven to cruelty by the sheer power they wield. More than that, they’re often portrayed as figures of irrational hysteria next to their cool male counterparts. But tired portyals of witches on-screen get a refreshing shock this summer: Disney’s new dark fantasy, Maleficent, succeeds in complicating the image of the bad witch.
Disney's much-hyped new adaptation of the classic Sleeping Beauty fairytale steers the story away from the familiar dashing prince protagonist, focusing instead on the story's supposed villain: Angelina Jolie takes wing as the powerful Maleficent. In the film, Maleficent is an intense, powerful woman who kicks butt as a fairy queen, but who hurts from the isolation of being, well, a perceived villain.
Look, I get that Angelina Jolie is thin, and that she also burns the brightest of all of our Bright Hollywood Stars and is therefore subject to more scrutiny than your average woman. However, body snarking of the "eat a sammich, skinny" variety is hardly different from body snarking of the "stop eating sammiches, fatty" variety that we (hopefully) know better than to post in our Facebook feeds. Yet I've seen lots of people across the World Wide Web today—including people I know to be smart, savvy feminists—crack wise about Jolie's arms, legs, and weight as if, because she's beautiful and thin, policing and commenting on her body is more than acceptable.
Is there any famous childless woman whose fertility is as scrutinized as Jennifer Aniston's? In the past five years, since she and Brad Pitt split up so he could go build a global village with Angelina Jolie (a topic worth an entire blog series of its own if you ask me!), how many times do you think Jen has had to defend her womb, her supposed selfishness, what is perhaps simply her prerogative to opt out of biological motherhood? At what point do you think she will quit demurely smiling and insisting that she wants to have children?
Cinematic depictions of spies devoid of engaging personalities are no novelty. In fact, with the exception of James Bond, more often than not, cinematic spies tend to provide more authenticity when they are not weighed down with personality traits at levels best left to proverbial used car salespeople and late night, television discount electronics peddlers