Maleficent: Film Review

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I didn’t really know what I expected from this but it was so much better than I imagined it would be. It had heart, it had laughs and is great family fun.

Angelina Jolie stars as Maleficent, the witch we know from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, who casts a spell on Aurora that she will prick her finger on a spinning needle and fall into a deep sleep when she turns 16. But Maleficent isn’t the baddie she was made out to be. This film tells the story from her side; her upbringing, what happened to her to make her do evil against Aurora and how she grows to love Aurora and is not a villain at all.

Maleficent trailer

I had no idea that Maleficent would turn out to be a good character. In the trailer, Jolie is portrayed as this wicked, menacing witch but she is actually a powerful fairy who has been wronged by a human she loved. In the beginning, the character seems very cold and you can’t imagine yourself feeling any connection towards her but you do pretty quickly and I became emotional on a number of occasions.

Jolie was perfect. She plays her well as both strong and fierce and vulnerable. There was more humour in it than I expected. The whole thing is rather dark but the occasion sarcastic comment gave everyone a chuckle, especially in the scene where Aurora is played by her daughter Vivienne. The ditzy fairies (played by Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville) provide welcome relief to proceedings as Aurora’s guardians. Aurora (Elle Fanning) is as adorable and Disney princess like as ever and Fanning brings a wide-eyed innocence that gradually turns into a much stronger person. I loved Sam Riley’s character Diaval, a raven shapeshifter, who is Maleficent’s only friend despite being her slave. Sharlto Copley was decent enough as Stefan but I don’t understand why he had a Scottish accent while the others were English.

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The CGI was a main draw for this film as well although there were times when I thought it was a little overdone. The landscape shots of the Moors, the magical kingdom, were so rich and colourful and reminded me Avatar. However, when Jolie flies, she doesn’t seem real, so I didn’t love that so much. The thorned bush wall was clever and the tree monsters were reminiscent of Lords of the Rings. The costumes and make-up were astonishing too and Maleficent looked amazing at all times.

It is, after all, a Disney fairytale presented as a live-action feature so, of course, it had a moral centre and lots of magic and heart. I loved the scenes between Maleficent and Aurora where you can see their growing love for each other and the anguish the curse has put on the fairy. I would still say this would appeal to adults more than children as the themes are more grown-up. I like that the females solve their own problems and don’t need a man to help them out.

All in all, I really liked it. I didn’t read much about it but there was more to it than I expected and it has more depth and feeling than you would think. The script does seem stiff at times but besides that, I loved it. If you don’t end up rooting for Maleficent, then there is something wrong with you.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I definitely would not have expected to put this on here before going to see this but it was so, so good. Angelina Jolie plays the bitter fairy who curses ex-lover’s daughter Aurora to wreak revenge on him. This is the dark side of the Sleeping Beauty tale but it was such a good story, Maleficent had a dark humour and it made me super emotional. It was very powerful for a Disney movie! Read review here. […]

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