naked and fae

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I saw Maleficent again last night, with Josh and Holly this time. I liked it better the second time around. The simplicity I previously derided now seems to work in its favor. When it comes right down, it’s a fairy tale. Building a story so obviously on the back of archetype would be questionable in another film, but I find it acceptably fae. The movie works a lot better when you read it as an overdeveloped fairy tale rather than an underdeveloped original story.

And I still don’t know why I love Maleficent the character so much. I get a tingly, heady thrill watching her in action; I can’t decide if I want to be her or possess her. But I’ve always adored the lean, steely fae queen archetype. Wished my natural features screamed less “cute and sunny” and more “fierce and fearsome”.  I am not fit to play a Maleficent or an Elphaba or a Morgana. I lean far more toward Flora, Fauna, or Merryweather. But hey – that’s how creation delivered me. And I’ve always enjoyed the contrast between insides and outsides.

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I took these photos in the first morning light – sans lipstick, sans anything. I’ve always felt my lips look weirdly naked without it. But sometimes a lack of artifice is just what we need.

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curious little beastie

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The reviewers, so far, seem to say that while Angelina Jolie kills it – slices, slaughters, and smears the blood on her lips – the rest of the film hits ukewarm. I’m inclined to agree, but that doesn’t matter overmuch. Less cartoonish scenery and sharper-drawn characters would have served the story well, but as long as Maleficent herself does justice to my beloved, everything else is immaterial. And she does. Oh hell, does she ever. Enough so that I sometimes wanted to whisk her out of this incongruous film and into a better realized one.

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Danica and I saw the very first showing in Vermont. We both wore fae, filmy dresses and posed with the poster, and I’ll keep that ticket stub as long as I live. Regardless of my personal feelings on many aspects of the film, I’ll be seeing it many more times: first with Josh, who’d had to work, then with pagan friends who’ve made me promise to accompany them, then maybe once with just me. I want to take in this story from every angle. I waited sixteen years for this.

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I’d hoped this latest addition to my tattoo crop would get me in for free. (In case this blurry close-up isn’t enough to go on, this is the back of my neck. Can we talk about what a beast neck tattoos are? It felt like all my baby hairs were being pulled and burned at once.)

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Things that stood out (I’ll keep them as spoiler-free as possible):

  • First and foremost, the film doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. It’s at its best when hewing to the simple yet utterly grimdark formula laid down by Grimm and co. The ancient story is rich enough without the window dressing of comic relief and random battles. Most scenes that don’t feature Maleficent read as extraneous out-of-genre bloat. Is my bias showing yet?
  • But seriously, Angelina Jolie is luscious. For her relatively few lines, she signs, seals, and delivers an entire character. She steals scenes with a raised eyebrow. I would gladly pay to see this whole feature boiled down to a one-woman show. It basically is, anyway. Hell, I’d pay just to sit in her icy presence and twiddle my thumbs.
  • Waaay too much CGI, but the cinematography is actually really lovely. Director Robert Stromberg was an Oscar-winning art director before making the switch, and it shows. I especially liked what he does with light – pivotal moments are often shown in silhouette against a darkening sky, which serves the fairy-tale element quite well.
  • “Maleficent” is revealed to be her real name. I’ve always considered it more of a title, assuming she was christened something less imposing. Nope – childhood scenes show a little horned girl answering to “Maleficent”. Come on, really? It means “doing evil or harm“. The idea of actually bestowing that upon an infant is frankly stupid, and it took me out of the film. If she’d been initially introduced as something else, and we got to see the evolution of the title as her evil powers grew stronger, that would have been brilliant.
  • This was seriously the most fetishtastic thing I have ever seen. I would love to see it recut as a trailer for a latex film. It would be too, too easy. Mal wears a straight-up catsuit at one point. (Anachronism: what’s that?) The line “I like you begging. Do it again” is also uttered. In a Disney film. Yeah, that happened.
  • Those goddamn fairies. One reviewer sniffed that the actresses in question should “fire their agents”. Truer words have rarely been spoken. Their CGI is less “otherworldy” than “uncanny valley”, and their bickering (which is all they do) adds zilch to the plot. For what it’s worth, said actresses didn’t do a bad job. I was a fan of Imelda Staunton before, and that hasn’t changed. But there’s only so much you can do with roles both a) poorly written and b) completely out of place in their film.
  • Did I mention that Angelina Jolie absolutely slays it? Maybe I’m not as straight as I think.

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my one true valentine

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Excuse my lackluster setting. I loved this outfit too much not to grab a few snaps, so I made do with posing in front of and behind the herb store where I work. The entrance is basically a Hampshire College reject with an apparently vomit-stained sidewalk (says a lot about the quality of our herbs). Around back, though, is a haunted fairy cottage waiting to be discovered. I’d brave the interior if I didn’t fear unleashing Arachnageddon. Not everyone loves spiders as much as I do.

Anyhow, this outfit is the perfect segue into one of my favorite subjects. It’s a sartorial tribute to my favorite fictional character of all time .

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Pathetic likeness, I know. I didn’t think I could actually measure up.

Maleficent has been my favorite character in anything ever since I first wheedled my parents into letting me watch Disney movies at the age of four. I loved her sleekness and her fire. I loved the way her moods proudly occupied the whole damn room and forced the plebes to their metaphorical (sometimes literal) knees. It’s funny, because I consider myself a peaceful person at heart. I am a committed pacifist, and I don’t like indulging much anger in my personal life. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Skye? Blood-‘n’-guts, glitz-‘n’ glamour Skye? I’m hardly a hippie. Still, though, my attraction to the underbelly comes fundamentally from awe at this whole mad mass we call a world. I want to seize it all. I want to make room for everything. Darkness is part of that, but it’s by no means the core.

I admire the hell out of people who are unflinchingly dark. Who truly feel alive with rage and bloodlust and don’t fear it the way I admit I do. Maleficent embodied that for me before I had the language to articulate it. Or maybe I just liked her outfit. Who the hell knows? Don’t overthink a good thing. Point is, little Skye had Maleficent swag up to here. Collectors’ edition Barbie doll, a painfully detailed Halloween costume my mom sewed for kindergarten me, too many dragon plushies to count. At some point I fell temporarily off the deep end and bought a tissue box with her face on it. In middle school, my scads of fanfiction eventually wrought themselves into a coherent backstory. My dissection of her history, 150 pages plus, still languishes on my computer. There might’ve even been an actual crush on her somewhere in there. I still maintain that she’s the face of my heteroflexibility. I’ve got a preemptive free pass from Josh in case she ever somehow comes to life.

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You can imagine my reaction to the news of her live-action debut later this year. Understand that I have been following this movie for years now. Hints of it were first whispered in 2011, and I combed the internet for spoilers. Now that the release date grows ever closer and the trailers come thick and fast, I’m having a hard time not hyperventilating a lil bit just writing this post. It’s not unwarranted to call this movie the culmination of my entire childhood. Ask anyone who knew me way back when: I was obnoxious about Maleficent.

Plus, it’s coming out on May 30, 2014, six days after I turn 20. The sixteenth birthday of my love for Maleficent. Coincidence? More like LIZARD PEOPLE. Let’s hoping I can see it before the sun sets.

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I’ve been reviewing the trailers on Facebook, to decent acclaim. How would you guys feel about me featuring said reviews here every so often? Check out this one and let me know.

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Blouse: Battery Street Jeans Petticoat, Tights, & Socks: Spirit Halloween Belt, Hat, Shoes, & Scarf: Gifted

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