No longer will the princesses of Disney be bound to the animated world. The Mouse watched two rival studios ruin Snow White’s good name in two live-action duds and they’ re not going to take it anymore. Disney decided it was time to give a deserving big screen treatment to the characters they made famous. Live action versions Cinderella And The Little Mermaid are already in the production pipeline from Disney, but first comes Sleeping Beauty. Only this films does not focus on the finger pricking sleepy blonde. This tale is told from a different perspective. This is the story of the scorned sorcerer, Maleficent.
Maleficent keeps the elements of Disney’s classic Sleeping Beauty, but turns the story on its head giving the audience a fresh take on something familiar. Angelina Jolie looks and acts as if she was made to play the role of the scorned fairy. This is not the evil Maleficent we were exposed to as children. This is a character who was betrayed by someone close that left both scars physically and mentally. I have been tough on Jolie in the past (See The 4: Overrated Actors/Actresses), but she is perfect as the evil fairy ruler. You can see the sadness and rage on her face in spite of the prosthetic horns and cheekbones, which you know were a pain for Jolie while shooting. She brings some humanity to the supernatural being and makes the audience have a new opinion on the lady in black who bestows the curse.
As for the audience who should attend Maleficent, you may want to leave some of the little princess fans at home. Maleficent is not all dark and violent, but the film does take itself seriously for a fairy tale. Maleficent has numerous battle scenes with creatures that may have the little ones covering their eyes when they take on the forces of the paranoid king played by Sharlto Copley (District 9). Copley once again chews up his scenes at the manic king who will do anything to prevent his daughter’s eternal sleep. The battle scenes, especially the finale, are very entertaining as Maleficent’s magical forces take on the invading forces with visual beauty. Maleficent is a film that should be seen in IMAX 3D and may actually entertain the boys (both young and old) just as much as the girls with its tree warriors and dragons.
For the old school Disney fans looking for an Aurora story, cute creatures and catchy songs – you may end up being disappointed with Maleficent. There are some goofy trolls in the film, but that would have been my one complaint about Maleficent. There was no need for the few kiddie creature shots. The three fairies were nostalgic fun but the rest of little friendly monsters seemed out-of-place in Maleficent’s darker tone. There is no singing, which always makes me happy and as I stated earlier in the review. This is Maleficent’s story, not Aurora’s. Elle Fanning gives a sweet performance as the king’s daughter Aurora, but the role is limited. It’s still an important role, but this film is all about Jolie’s damaged Maleficent. The Oscar winner makes me look foolish for ever calling her overrated as she brings the classic Disney villain to life that you end up rooting for by the end.
Overall, I give Maleficent 3 out of 4 stars.
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