Summary

  • The Maleficent movies, while containing elements of great fantasy, have darker moments and violence that may not be suitable for young children.
  • The films have been given a PG rating due to fantasy violence and frightening images, recommending parental guidance for younger audiences.
  • The dark imagery and intense transformations in Maleficent may be too scary for younger viewers, making it more appropriate for older children around 8 to 10 years old.


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The Maleficent movies are a darker retelling of Disney’s classic Sleeping Beauty, but is it suitable for young children? The franchise, which got its start in 2014, makes audiences rethink how they saw the villain Maleficent and her relationship with Princess Aurora. Maleficent is full of all the elements of a great fantasy—whimsical forests, lovely fairies, and magic around every corner. Still, any film about such a villain is sure to have some darker elements, and this is enough to make parents of young children hesitate.

The darkness only continues with Malificent: Mistress of Evil, where the name alone implies that audiences are in for a dark and creepy ride. Though Maleficent is very different from her animated counterpart, Angelina Jolie’s character still has a penchant for violence, which the sequel attributes to her history as a Dark Fey. She winds up waging war on Prince Phillip’s kingdom of Ulstead, led by his mother, Queen Ingrith. This ruler may look more like a hero than Maleficent, but her heart is far darker, and the fantastical violence between these two women might not be suitable for all audiences.

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Why Maleficent & Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil Are Rated PG: Scary Images & Fantasy Violence

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Both Maleficent and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil were given a PG rating by the US Motion Picture Association. The reasoning for this is fantasy violence and frightening images, which may be upsetting for younger audiences. A PG rating means that parental guidance is recommended, and some parents—especially those with younger children—may want to watch Maleficent ahead of time to determine how their own child might handle the film.

Overall, it wouldn’t take much for Maleficent and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil to have gotten a PG-13 rating instead. It likely only avoided this because, despite the frequent violence, blood is only ever shown when Aurora pricks her finger on the spinning wheel. Still, even without blood, there are some darker moments that parents may find disturbing and could be upsetting to some children. Characters in Maleficent and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil are killed on screen, while others are mutilated (such as King Stefan drugging Maleficent and cutting off her wings). Both films also contain many beautifully touching scenes full of excellent lessons on morality, but even these might only make sense to older kids.

The Maleficent Movies Could Be Too Scary For Younger Viewers

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Even without the violence in Maleficent, the generally dark imagery might be a little much for younger viewers. Jolie’s Maleficent herself, though ultimately good, has a look that would be traditionally attributed to demons or other evil fantastical beings. Then, when she transforms into a dragon in the first Maleficent movie, the GCI really pulled through on making her look even more thrilling than in Sleeping Beauty. This is likely why some countries opted to give these Disney films a higher maturity rating, with Australia granting the films an M for mature (with a recommended viewer age of 15+).

Overall, the Maleficent movies are full of great elements that children of all ages will likely enjoy. There is comedy sprinkled in with the fairies Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, and the romance between Phillip and Aurora is just as touching as it was in Sleeping Beauty. However, parents with younger children may want to hold off on these films, perhaps introducing them to kids between the ages of 8 and 10 instead.

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