Movie Reviews

'Maleficent': Almost spellbinding

By Wang DexianMovies - 29 May 2014 12:00 AM | Updated 5:19 PM

'Maleficent': Almost spellbinding

Our Rating

3/5 Stars

Maleficent, the iconic villain with a heart of stone from ‘Sleeping Beauty’ now has her own movie.

This film promises to tell the “untold story” with Angelina Jolie playing the titular role, and first-time director Robert Stromberg directing.

Stromberg is the special effects artist and production designer behind James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’, Tim Burton’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and most recently, Sam Raimi’s ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’.

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Angelina Jolie and her cheekbones star as the titular 'Maleficent'

The movie traces Maleficent’s life starting from her childhood, when she was a young fairy who lives in the Moors, a forest kingdom of magic filled with bright, sparkly looking things. 

Nearby is a kingdom, ruled by humans, with a castle overlooking the Moors. The humans attempt to invade the Moors, beckoning Maleficent to erect a wall of thorns to defend the territory. 

Eventually, she is betrayed and she places the famous curse we all know, a curse that sends the princess, Aurora (Elle Fanning), into a deep, deep sleep.

The movie, in the hands of Stromberg, looks rather fantastic. Well, it also depends on how much you enjoy his aesthetic style.

Quite like other movies such as ‘Snow White and The Huntsman’ that have embraced the fad of the dark, grimy fairytale look, the movie starts off incredibly bright and slowly descends into murkier and darker territory. 

It fits, but it is a visual style that can be grating on some people. There is an uneven tone and the movie is caught between the dark visual style and Disney’s trademark “please everyone” fairytale formula.

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Elle Fanning as Aurora

ONE CHARACTER TO RULE THEM ALL

The rather lightweight screenplay does not help the plot. For all the little tweaks to “re-imagine” the story, nothing truly unexpected occurs.

Jolie, though, is fantastic as Maleficent. Her presence looms large over the movie and she is deviously playful when she is in full-on evil mode. The actress makes the character so much more fascinating than she is in her original incarnation.

And save for Maleficent, none of the supporting characters are memorable.

The usually excellent Fanning plays Aurora with much enthusiasm but there is not much room for the character to go anywhere.

Sharlto Copley, as the paranoid King Stefan, puts in an intense performance but it is so out of place when nothing else in the movie is all that heavy. 

So if you are a fan of Jolie and her magnificent cheekbones, and the child in you still like fairytales, by all means go indulge yourself. Just don’t expect too much of the other aspects of the movie.

‘Maleficent’ is now showing in cinemas

Maleficent

Movie Photos

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Maleficent
  • Maleficent

    (2014)
  • Rated
    PG /
    Genre
    Fantasy
  • Language
    Eng
  • (8 Reviews)