When Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) gets her wings stolen by her childhood friend, Stefan (Sharlto Copley), she takes revenge by setting a curse on his daughter, Aurora (Elle Fanning). Stefan places Aurora into hiding and uses all the resources of his kingdom to hunt down Maleficent.
In my Godzilla review, I mentioned that movie wasn’t exactly what I expected. Maleficent, on the other hand, is exactly what I expected when I went into the theater. However, that is not a bad thing. On the contrary, like Godzilla, I thought Maleficent was a great new experience with a well known character.
As I said, there wasn’t anything about Maleficent that I already didn’t expect walking into the theater, except maybe the ending, but more on that later. Very much like the Wicked Witch of the West in the play Wicked, Maleficent is painted as a much more sympathetic character than she is in Sleeping Beauty, where she is portrayed simply as a malevolent character. Again, the story was what I expected it would be, but the way it played out was fun. Part of the enjoyment no doubt came from Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of the character. Ever since I saw the first trailer, I have felt Jolie was the perfect fit for Maleficent, and she did not disappoint. Her poise, her attitude, her mannerisms, she completely filled every facet of the character perfectly.
All the special effects in Maleficent look beautiful. The creatures of the Moor are some of the most unique and best looking mythical creatures I have seen. Even the Moor, the land where the creatures live, itself look great. The effects had a strong cartoonish aesthetic. The only characters I think this style isn’t beneficial towards are the three fairies (Flittle, Knotgrass, and Thistletwit) when they were in their fairy forms. I feel they need to look more realistic than cartoonish, otherwise they are just awkward. My favorite effect, though, would have to be when Maleficent creates the Forest of Thorns. When the large thorny vines emerge from the ground, it was magnificent.
(*Possible spoilers in this paragraph*) I have been impressed by Disney lately and their shifting viewpoint of “true love” displayed in their recent movies. Much like Frozen, another form of love other than true love’s kiss is highlighted here, causing one character to comment, “There is no truer love.” I’m not going to spoil exactly what happens, but know that it doesn’t play out precisely like Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
Entering the theater, I had an idea of what to expect from Maleficent and I walked out without any surprises as a result. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable anyway. The character Maleficent was painted as character molded by her experiences, rather than merely an evil character like in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. This film is visually stunning. Everything from the environments to the characters in the Moor are impressive. The Forest of Thorns Maleficent creates would have to be my favorite effect. Continued from Frozen, Disney’s concept of “true love” seems to be changing from their previous princess movies. Maleficent is fairly predicable movie, but Angelina Jolie completely embodies the titular character and gives a different experience from previous villain-centric movies.
Cast & Crew
Robert Stromberg – Director
Linda Woolverton – Writer
James Newton Howard – Composer
Angelina Jolie – Maleficent
Elle Fanning – Auora
Sharlto Copley – Sefan
Lesley Manville – Flittle
Imelda Saunton – Knotgrass
Juno Temple – Thistletwit
Sam Riley – Diaval
Brenton Thwaites – Prince Philip
Kenneth Cranham – King Henry
Hannah New – Princess Leila
Isobelle Molloy – Young Maleficent
Michael Higgins – Young Stefan
My son and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I liked the twist at the end too and have to admit, sometimes true love may not always be the stereotype in a typical Disney movie. Angie is amazing, of course. So beautiful too! It was fun to see her interact with her own daughter in that one scene and saying ‘I hate children” when in real life she has six! LOL. I am going to see it again today with my son and his friend (female). I overheard him say last night to her, “You’re gonna love the movie. It’s real good!”. Good review and I tweeted it! 🙂
Thanks! And another thank you for sharing. I didn’t know that was Jolie’s daughter, what a fun little cameo. I hope your son’s friend enjoys it as much as you two did.
Yeah, she did. Looking forward to seeing that Tom Cruise movie with my son this Friday, wooo!
Sweet. I’m not going to see it right away but probably in a few weeks.
Looking forward to reading what you think of it Drew! 😀
Great review! Honestly I wasn’t interested in seeing Maleficent at all. But I’m glad that it wasn’t mess, as I know some people who were really excited to watch it.
Thanks! I seemed to like it more than most. It wasn’t perfect, but it has some good qualities (mainly Jolie) that make it worth the watch.
Good review Drew. I wish there was more to this movie than just very pretty visuals and a good performance from Jolie. Because this could have been very good, it just didn’t have a story really pushing it.
Thanks, Dan. I agree, the story was lacking but there was just something about this film that made me enjoy it. Maybe it was because I went in with fairly low expectations for the story, so I wasn’t really disappointed.
Seconded. I was quite disappointed when leaving the theater, because they actually had the right ingredients ready: stunning graphics, talented casts, just not terrific scriptwriters. They also wasted some characters (I really don’t know what other purpose Philip served other than ‘being there’ and spoofing the True Love’s Kiss scene) although it did redeem some point by changing the classic true love portrayal.
Yea, the script leaves a lot to be desired, considering everything else the movie had going for it. I think they felt Philip needed to be included because he was a part of Sleeping Beauty. And like you said, to be there to kiss Aurora.
Jolie is definitely very, very good. And I too appreciate that Disney continues redefining true love.
But I think the visual effects too much the focus – many are impressive but they overwhelm the story some. Anyway, good review.
Thanks. Story-wise, it was pretty shallow. I guess I am just a sucker for pretty special effects.
Maybe not a sucker. Maybe just a person who enjoys high quality visuals.
And there were certainly many of those in this film.
I like how you touched upon Disney’s new take on “true love”.
Thanks. It’s good to see Disney is willing to adjust their storytelling for current audiences. I’m interested to see how they continue the trend in the future.