Release Date: May 29, 2014
Director: Robert Stromberg
Story by: Charles Perrault, Brothers Grimm, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Ted Sears, Ralph Wright, Milt Banta
Screenplay: Linda Woolverton
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, Juno Temple

Let’s be honest, whenever any big company wants to revamp a property, the first thing in our minds is “money-grab,” but that quickly gave way to excitement when the first promotional material was released… and then came the trailer [1][2]. It really couldn’t be more perfect than the biggest movie star in the world playing one of the most fascinating Disney baddies in fairy tale history.

After Disney famously took the forever-told tale and made it into their 1959 Sleeping Beauty version, which boasted some very impressive color design in its most eerie scenes, we wondered what modern spin they would give their re-telling in Maleficent. After a mix bag of Enchanted, The Princess and the Frog, Tangled and Frozen, anything was game- Would they go for the True Love Kiss ending, mirroring the eye-roll-inducing Snow White and the Huntsman? You know Theron deserved to win that one.

My expectations of Maleficent were met with flying fairy colors.

Though Woolverton’s script doesn’t follow the original darker versions, it does give Maleficent a simple backstory of girl-meets-boy in idyllic fairy setting that reeks of warning tales for young 16-year-olds looking to share “their true love kiss,” and being burn for trying, or maybe I’m just too much of an adult now, but remember these stories were used metaphorically. This betrayal is what sets into motion everything that occurs in the Sleeping Beauty world with much more zing, and added Angelina Jolie pizzazz.

Visually speaking, the film is a mix of Alice in Wonderland weird fantasy with darker serious Huntsman meets Game of Thrones textures. Hit or miss for some who blatantly hated either of the first two, however, if you’re going to enjoy this do it for Angelina who glides through the role as if she had been born to play it. There’s definitely some ass-kicking involved — I was reminded of Superman Returns in you-know-what-shot — a certain sardonic flare to her sass and, most importantly, tenderness.

The rest of the cast is good with Copley edging Fanning due to character importance, and Sam Riley who was capable to stand his own ground when he shared all his scenes with Jolie — and thankfully it didn’t turn into anything creepy! One minor problem I had with the film was that I did think the three fairies Knotgrass (Staunton), Flittle (Manville) and Thistletwit (Temple) were bordering a fine line of annoying. There’s only so much clumsiness you can take, which the 1959 version provided, but they were really pushing my buttons on this one with their ineptitude. I also didn’t get why they attended Aurora’s Christening, because they seemed to get along with Maleficent.

The resolution was near pitch perfect for me- your Shrek/Princess Fiona Shrek kiss or Frozen moment. Well-handled and emotional enough before you start fuzzing and fist-pumping for the big battle, but before you can ride that high out of the theater, your mood is ruined by a bland Prince Phillip. Really, why did they even bothered with that.

Other than that, please, bask yourself in the glorious Jolie, who joins the ranks of delicious fairy tale baddies on re-imaginations of our favorite stories. Now… will Blanchett deliver?

Rating: ★★★¾☆ 


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

15 Responses

  1. mirella says:

    “I also didn’t get why they attended Aurora’s Christening, because they seemed to get along with Maleficent.”

    I read an old script for Maleficent, and in that one Maleficent was more… evil (?), the other fairies didn’t really accepted her rule or her isolationism; and thus those inept fairies lived with the king in defiance and were thus locked out of the moors~

    • amy says:

      @mirella, I think we needed an in-between to see how bad it got for Maleficent, and how bad it got for the others. I don’t know, like, Maleficent strolling into her self-made throne and all the pretty visuals of the moors wilting as she passed by or something. Because in the christening scene, the King was clearly not fond of them magical creatures, so why would the fairies go. It just didn’t make sense.

      I read they re-shot all the introduction, but I suppose that just included all MaleficentKid scenes. Maybe they could have added some odd interactions with them fairies to explain their future decision. Also! what’s up with the 3rd fairy and her gift? xD I know that totally messes up with Maleficent’s build-up, but Juno Temple left without giving her gift. LOL

  2. Rodrigo says:

    This was a scratching 7/10 for me. I really, really, really loved Jolie as Maleficent and I enjoyed Fanning, Riley and Copley. But damn, this film showing a bunch of fuck-ups (fairies, Maleficent, Stefan, etc.) and unamusing fairies (bar Maleficent) prevented me from recommending Maleficent. Its RT score is unfair, but I can see why it’s getting mixed reviews.

    • amy says:

      @Rodrigo, I loved Maleficent’s relationship with Aurora, and the resolution more than makes that extra .25 for me. My mom’s been gushing all over about it. LOL But I actually have it at 7 on IMDb xD

      And I was all dirty-minded thinking Maleficent has just been burnt after sleeping with someone *wink wink nudge nudge grown-up* and that whole morning-after scene. I totally got it. LOL It made good money this week, so I’m happy. I hope it doesn’t drop too much, if it has to.

      • Rodrigo says:

        @amy, I saw this with a friend. While she liked it at first, the more we discussed it, the lesser we enjoyed it. Shitty fairies aside, we knew that the resolution between Aurora and Maleficent had to happen because of the weak ass build-up for a love interest regarding Aurora and anything but what happened on screen would have been a copout. Yet, it was still very nice to see how Maleficent played it out.

        Also, I’m not fond of being deprived of seeing Peter Capaldi getting cut off from the film along with Miranda Richardson.

        • amy says:

          @Rodrigo, still think considering how Frog and Tangled turned up, Disney could’ve pulled a different ending and it would’ve made it less awesome. Plus, I loved Angelina calling Aurora Beastie all the time.

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