Is Disney’s live action story telling of the iconic villainess totally epic? Or is it another flop that should be cursed into eternal slumber? Let’s see how the spinning wheels turn this time.
Truth be told, this is the best fairytale live-action yet, with a stark difference from Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Huntsman, Mirror Mirror, and Oz the Great and Powerful. Don’t believe critics who have to pan every single movie that comes out, they’re paid to say that.
Let’s start with the most shining aspect of the film: Angelina Jolie.
She glows with a wicked gleam, sporting her evil horns, her sculpted sharper-than-sharp cheekbones, and blood red lips. She truly is Maleficent from the 1959 film, but with more vigor, sensuality, and emotion sparking from her emerald eyes, dark wings, and effervescent voice.
You can’t take your eyes off her when she’s on the scene.
And her agonizing moans and screams when she discovers she lost her wings? Perfect. Because of her commanding presence, the rest of the film’s flaws seem less obvious, but they’re there. For instance, the film is too focused on making Maleficent seem “not that bad” that they lose track of everything else. From the moment baby Aurora is cursed, the story falls short.
Even the spastic paranoia of King Stefan (Sharlto Copley) and the beaming golden presence of Aurora (Elle Fanning) couldn’t compensate for the descending trajectory of the story. The climax, the “true love’s kiss” scene, is almost predictable. It’s an acceptable twist, yes, but predictable.
One of the biggest irks people have with the movie is the implication that Maleficent turned evil because she was dumped by a dude. I have a strong objection. She was hurt that he betrayed her, yes. But she didn’t become evil just because he got married and settled down. He cut off her wings, for crying out loud. He betrayed her and castrated the most elemental part of her. Anyone would be seeking revenge after that. It can’t be denied that the best thing about Maleficent is the actress playing the titular character.
Jolie is captivating, funny, terrifically theatrical, but still grounded in the original sketch of the 1959 film. I have to say, I was jumping up and down during the entire “baby christening” scene. I could play both the cartoon and live-action movie and they’d both be at par. 😀
So is Maleficent worth the movie ticket?
Absolutely. This film is an entertaining weekend romp with a wickedly dazzling villainess, a beautiful yet sketchy fairy tale universe, a new albeit unexplored climax twist, and a competent cast to boot. Don’t believe what you see on Rotten Tomatoes. This isn’t a classic by anyone’s standards, but it’s an enjoyable film altogether. 😀