Movie Review: Maleficent

maleficent character posterThe story we know. The story I’ve seen and read and heard over and over for years. My most favorite villain of all time Maleficent. Who is she really? Is she the bad apple or was she made that way?

In Disney’s Maleficent we get a completely different take of the Sleeping Beauty from years ago. This isn’t the same story from the villains point of view its a different version. Yes some of the parts are the same but there’s a huge part that is not. Since this is about Maleficent we get to see her childhood growing up in the Moors. Its fairy tale but not about Aurora. Happy moments, love and betrayal. Maleficent wasn’t born bad she was made that way.

Maleficent with wings

Walt Disney Studios

Angelina Jolie brings her A game here. She’s equal parts smoldering and terrifying. She puts it all out as Maleficent and yet it looks effortless. She’s got the evil snare down, the tormented pain, you name it she shows it. The only time she breaks is in the scene featuring her own daughter Vivienne as a young Aurora. If you recall, Vivienne was cast because in attempting the scene all of the other child actors were too afraid of her Angelina in full costume. The scene needed a child who wasn’t terrified. Its such a fun and interesting moment that it really fits in the theme of the film.

King Stefan on his throne

Walt Disney Studios

Elle Fanning plays Aurora from her teen years forward and she’s lovely in this. Sharlto Copley plays the older King Stefan, a power hungry farmer who is the main catalyst in why Maleficent casts her curse. The original story is that she was slighted for not being invited to the ceremony, instead here its because its her moment to seek revenge on Stephan for hurting her years prior. Because this is Maleficent’s story we even see how she gets her faithful Raven companion played by Sam Riley as Diaval who can shape-shift thanks to her magic. He is her eyes, ears… and wings after they are stolen from her. Flora, Fauna and Merriweather are still here with different names but still bumbling personalities. Imelda Staunton (yes Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter), Juno Temple and Lesley Manville play the 3 fairies charged with raising Aurora in secret. We even get to see Prince Philip but not until the 3rd act.

Maleficent and Diaval

Walt Disney Studios

As much as I adore the Sleeping Beauty story I do have issues with some of the story changes. Some are small, some work but the one that really gets me is the ending. I didn’t want a happy ending, I wanted the real ending and there were name opportunities to have it play out that way in the final battle scene. The roles are reversed Maleficent isn’t evil, King Stefan is and I can live with that but not the ending. My love for the original story and the original Disney film has not wavered. As much as I enjoyed Maleficent the ending fell flat for me because of its major change. I was until the last 5 minutes. It was all I wanted it to be and more until that moment. Movies, even Disney movies don’t have to end happily ever after. Sometimes the bad guys win, the Hero loses his hand, the killer goes free, it happens and it makes a film better. The only thing i disliked more than the happy ending was the 3D. The film is overly dark even in parts where it shouldn’t be and the action scenes look blurry because the post conversion is not well done. I still say its a go see because its extremely well done does not make me love my favorite Disney character any less. I adore her even more.

My Rating: Full Price
Worth the 3D upcharge: No
Director: Robert Stromberg
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
Release Date: May 30, 2014
Run time: 97 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG

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