The Grammys are an unusual place to debut a 90-second sneak peek for a summer family film. Are kids watching the annual awards show to catch that hip Ringo Starr performance? Are moms tuning in to see what Beyonce’s wearing, or to catch Pink’s high-wire act? (Which was spectacular, no joke. Pink can sing.) Well, Disney chose to book a coveted ad slot and hand it over to the Angelina Jolie vehicle Maleficent, sharing the above clip. What do you think?
The hook is that the Maleficent spot uses music from singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey. The trailer is labeled "Dream," and it gives us a better look at the villainous (or possibly misunderstood) character Jolie will play in this reverse-engineered fairy tale. As you can see in the teaser, we’re getting the Sleeping Beauty story, only from the viewpoint of the witch (sorceress?) who casts the spell on Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning). The campy drama attempts to do what Wicked did for The Wizard of Oz, giving audiences the "true" story, or the flip side of a very familiar fantasy.
Here’s the longer trailer that hit the ‘net earlier.
Del Rey’s soulful, whiskey-soaked crooning gives the Maleficent footage a totally unexpected tone, laying a base of sorrow under CGI imagery that still reminds me of Snow White and the Huntsman or Jack the Giant Slayer -- two fantasy movies that did OK at the box office but didn’t smack automatic home runs or inspire the start of major movie franchises. I’m sure Disney has another recent prequel in mind when plotting the strategies of Maleficent, and that’s Oz the Great and Powerful… another effects-driven fantasy that put a fresh spin on a very familiar story, to massive box-office effect.
Then again, maybe Disney just likes making full-blown fantasy movies with co-stars of The Tourist.
Maleficent will be in theaters on May 30. Hopefully you won’t have to sit through another vapid awards show to see more footage.