Stromberg, Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley
I will most certainly be SPOILING!
I don’t know about you, but I will always be a Disney kid. They always seem to make good movies, especially their Pixar stuff, and their latest Disney solo CGI films. In the vein of Wicked, Disney recently released a retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the point of view of the villain. Maleficent is widely known as the black clad sultry villainous who curses the beloved Aurora to eternal sleep.
I went into this movie with hesitant expectations. The trailer looked terribly good, and say what you want about Angelina Jolie, she is one hell of an actor. She really looked the part, check it out:
For a little while I expected the movie to turn into something other than it was, a lot like how Snow White and the Huntsman ended up with an enormous combat scene. I was pleasantly surprised that the epic battle sequence was more of a plot device than anything. The story had few holes in it as far as I could tell, which is one of the major pit falls of any retelling.
My only real complaints about the movie are a matter of personal preference. The visuals and characters were excellent, but the story was really by the numbers. This isn’t to say that it was bad, because it wasn’t, but we saw the majority of the conflict and dramatic developments from a mile away. Of course, Maleficent finds herself with a protective fondness for Aurora and tries to save her from the curse. The charming Prince was not going to be the answer in this retelling, but there was a little doubt as to who would be. Very LITTLE doubt.
The ham handed slap stick comedy of the pixies were included specifically to make it a children’s movie, but the contrast was actually useful in rounding out Maleficent. There is actually a very pleasant set of scenes where Maleficent is watching over the girl and the pixies, but is constantly causing mischief. It made her seem more fairy-like than villainous, which went a long way to making her redemption easier to believe.
The ending has a small plot hole, as the king’s preparations are based on the assumption that the curse would fail and Maleficent would come for vengeance. Since the curse happens, he shouldn’t have been setting off the trap, but I digress.
With an ending that was a little too contrived for my taste, it had some excellent imagery, and the differences with the climax of the Sleeping Beauty were pretty interesting. The inclusion and use of her loyal Raven helped to humanize the character.
I’m not sure that was for the best for the movie.
Maleficent was evil and that harpy owned it! I personally think her complete redemption hurts the overall narrative, but this is where I have to remind myself that it is a Disney production, made for children. Not 29 year old Disney nerds such as myself.
All things considered it was an enjoyable movie with some solid, if wooden, acting. The antagonist just didn’t perform well across from Jolie. The best parts are the behind the scenes moments that allow you to see a villain in her element, ironically, as a protector. Some laughs and a little suspense left me wishing to see Maleficent expanded into a larger body of stories. Salut, Disney.
My rating: 4 / 5