- Directed by: Robert Stromberg
- With: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley
- 97 Minutes
- IMDb: 7,5
In 1959, Walt Disney brought to the world the adaptation of the well-known fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” that featured perhaps one of the darkest and sinister villains that appeared in an animated movie: Maleficent. In all my childhood “Sleeping Beauty” was probably one of my favorite movies and it’s indeed one of the most remarkable Disney classics. Maleficent is such an amazing and powerful character that she almost steels the story by becoming the most remarkable character of the movie. Basically “Sleeping Beauty” is the story of an evil fairy named Maleficient who was not invited to the king’s newborn daughter, Aurora, christening and who decides to appear at the ceremony and curse the little princess. Basically before the sunrise of the day she turns sixteen, Princess Aurora will prick her finger on a spinning wheel spindle and she will die. Fortunately for Aurora, one of the good fairies present at the ceremony delivers a spell that will allow her to awake after a true love’s kiss.
The first time I heard that Walt Disney was going to release a live action “spin-off” of “Sleeping Beauty” my reaction was a mix of shock and excitement. I never thought that after so many years Disney would want to invest money in a movie about Maleficent but the idea is really clever since everyone who watched the movie still remembers the wicked fairy. The initial reactions and reviews kind of let down my expectations but after so many trailers and clips I still wanted to witness how great Angelina Jolie was, interpreting Maleficent.
The film kicks off with a soft pace revealing how Maleficent’s childhood was. Maleficent was a young and powerful fairy that lived in the Moors alongside with other magical creatures. The creatures from the Moors were separated of the human kingdom and they lived peacefully without the anger and evilness of men. She met a young boy named Stefan and basically they become best friends until she turned sixteen. The years passed and Maleficent become a powerful and grown-up fairy who starts protecting her home and all the creatures that belong to that place.
After a betrayal of Stefan, Maleficent wants revenge and from that moment on the greedy and the anger of man will prevail and only love will be able to crush the evil that spread throughout the entire kingdom.
“Maleficent” tries to change the original story by giving us the wicked fairy’s version of the events. Instead of being mean and terrible, Maleficent is a kind fairy with a pure heart that deserves to be loved and that turned out to be quite interesting. The film focuses more on the nature of the “villain” instead of following the events from “Sleeping Beauty” that we knew from our childhood years.
I have to admit that I didn’t remember that well the whole “Sleeping Beauty” story but my girlfriend reminded me of some aspects that were shown in a different way in this new film. For example, when Maleficent appears in Aurora’s christening she gives the little baby a curse of eternal sleep and then she also gives the antidote of the curse by allowing the curse to be broken with a true love’s kiss, which is a bit different from the original story. So while Maleficent is sort of kind, the king becomes the villain of the film for all the things he did to her.
The king is one of those characters you will hate throughout the entire movie. After seeing his daughter being cursed by Maleficent, he goes mad and starts hallucinating with her. He decides to deliver Aurora to the care of three nice fairies that attended the ceremony and then starts plotting his revenge. Filled with feelings of hate and revenge, the king will try to defeat Maleficent a couple of times even after all the bad things he has done.
At the beginning, Maleficent starts messing up things for the three kind fairies that were taking care of Aurora but after a couple of years she starts showing some feelings for the young and beautiful girl and instead of making her life a living hell she starts helping her. After turning 15, Aurora finally has contact with Maleficent and she treats her as her fairy godmother since she was unaware of the curse. The changes in Maleficent’s behavior were really cool and again she is shown in a kind way instead of being the villain. Aurora’s presence in the story is practically unnecessary and she is only there as the connection between the film and the original story of “Sleeping Beauty”. Like Aurora, the prince is also sort of unnecessary to the main plot and is just shown as a secondary character.
While the whole story focuses the attention on Maleficent’s feelings and nature, Angelina Jolie does a terrific job by giving a top quality performance that conquered me immediately. Alongside with Angelina, Sharlto Copley does also a pretty decent job with his character (the king) although Jolie’s amazing performance is constantly stealing the scenes from the other characters. Although I enjoyed this kind version of one of Disney’s scariest villains I left the theater a bit sad with the ending of the movie. I was expecting a tragic ending but unfortunately they decided to pick the easy way and they delivered a “Happily Ever After” ending that was not only inadequate to the story but it also didn’t seem natural. Perhaps it was due to the short length of the movie but I felt that some events in the film were also a bit rushed.
While Disney conquered audiences worldwide with amazing movies like “Frozen” and “Tangled”, “Maleficent” was a good try but without shine. It ended up being a good popcorn movie suitable for everyone in the family. Yes she is a bit scary but trust me, your kids will probably enjoy this movie. Fortunately for “Maleficent” an amazing actress named Angelina Jolie delivered an outstanding performance that made me enjoy the movie. Although it’s neither great nor amazing, “Maleficent” was likable and for me, who always enjoyed fairytales and romances, it ended up being a pleasant movie.
Suitable for everyone, “Maleficent” has a good beginning and a poor ending and although there is no shine around the story, Angelina Jolie’s performance was enough reason to give the film a positive rating.