As the latest movie in the growing roster of live action remakes and prequels at the House of Mouse, Maleficent has a lot to live up to. It follows on the heels of Oz the Great and Powerful, which was a good, enjoyable popcorn-movie, but not overwhelmingly successful at the box office. It featured some solid talent to be sure, but we will have to see if one of Hollywood’s megastars — Angelina Jolie — can find success where James Franco failed. The first trailer for next summer’s movie has hit the Internet, so it is time to see how well our first glimpses hold up.

One of the things that struck me right away was how well Angelina Jolie was able to channel Eleanor Audley — the voice actor who brought Maleficent to life in Disney’s animated 1959 Sleeping Beauty. If I did not know any better (and perhaps I do not) I would have sworn that they had just taken the voice directly from Sleeping Beauty wholesale. Considering how absolutely sinister Audley was in that role, and how terrifyingly memorable Maleficent is in that movie, I can only say that this is a good thing. Hopefully less children will leave the movie with horrific nightmares, though. It is also just about the only thing we really have to go on as most of the rest of the trailer is just reimagining scenes from Sleeping Beauty on a live action canvas. Considering this is the first trailer, and probably most people’s introduction to the movie, that is a fairly safe way to open things up: start with something familiar, and then later start revealing new scenes.

The special effects — what we see of them — are really good, though, so it certainly looks like we will be getting a spectacle movie this time around as well. That did not work so well for Oz or Jack the Giant Slayer this past year, but with a recognizable villain played by a marketable actress things may run better this time around. We will definitely have to wait and see what else Disney has in store for us, though, before we can really begin to judge. I am personally hoping that we get an awesome scene with her learning how to change herself into a dragon.

They do get bonus points for not making Maleficent’s outfit look totally ridiculous, despite the fact that it should.

You can see the trailer at YouTube