Looneymanthegreat - wrote on 05/31/14
Angelina Jolie makes the perfect Maleficent, It’s really too bad that she is mostly forced to play someone else instead. The Maleficent of this movie has very little in common with the movie villain that was one of the saving graces of the Disney animated original. Instead of getting the “Mistress of all evil,” we get a wishy washy hero character.
The movie gets Maleficent’s back-story out of the way pretty quickly, which is the first disappointment. Maleficent goes from being good, then to being evil and then finally to being good again before the movie is half way over. This was marketed as Maleficent’s origin story, but they didn’t seem very interesting at portraying that, and what they do show us is half baked and cliché. Maleficent turns evil because some guy broke up with her, just like a ton of other underwritten female villains before her. This movie makes Maleficent the main character, the center of attention for the majority of the movie, but she somehow becomes less interesting in the process.
“I really wish that they’d make a Sleeping Beauty movie where Maleficent is the good guy,” said no person ever. It’s like the filmmakers didn’t understand the reason people remember and love Maleficent from the animated picture; she’s scary as hell, and her voice actress and dialogue in that movie make it clear that she’s evil, pist off and loving it. I understand that this new flick is a re-imagining, but the choice to change this is less confusing from a story telling perspective as it is from a marketing one.
Making Maleficent a good-guy would have been okay if they had had a strong compelling story to back up the concept, but the offering here is really week. The idea sounds workable on paper, but there are some baffling decisions made that numb the whole thing to a crisp. Maleficent motivations in the end are revealed to be a big pile of nothing, and her power seems to switch off whenever the plot dictates it. The movie fails to do one of the fundamental things a movie must do: convince the audience that the characters would be motivated to do the things we’re seeing them do on screen.
There is some good in maleficent. I liked the king’s character, and thought he should have gotten more screen time, and I liked the visuals that, while CGI heavy, were actually quite creative. Unfortunately the good in Maleficent is sharply masked by bizarre and misguided plot and direction. I would recommend Maleficent to anybody who liked recent flicks like Snow White and the Huntsmen or the Alice in Wonderland remake, but someone who’s hoping for a live action remake of Sleeping Beauty will probably be disappointed.