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Movie Reviews

Maleficent (Review 2)




Released: 28th May 2014

Directed By: Robert Stromberg

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning

Certificate: PG

Reviewed By: Emma Edwards

Maleficent is the re-telling of the classic Disney villain and is described as the story you weren’t told. Depicting everything which made Maleficent who she was and why she cursed the little Princess Aurora and then takes us through the story of Sleeping Beauty from Maleficent’s point of view.

I really enjoyed this film, Angelina Jolie as always gives a passionate performance and it is obvious that she is enjoying every minute of this classic character. Jolie makes the character likable and sympathetic without straying from her darkness or serious persona, at some points it is even made comedic. The other characters were wonderfully performed yet sometimes written in somewhat of a stiff manner. Admittedly some of the characters are written so they won’t take attention away from Maleficent and I feel this is where the movies main flaws show.

The other three fairies although played by extremely talented actress (Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville) are just really stupid and annoying, I can’t say I enjoyed any moment where they were on screen. The story needs them to be this way however it is so painful to watch. It might be argued that the film has a child demographic and therefore needs silly characters. However, there have been many other Disney characters aimed at children without being so insufferable such as (off the top of my head) Meeko and Percy in Pocahontas (1995). My one main grievance with this film all revolves around the King Stefan (Sharlto Copley), for a film that centres its theme on the duality of good and evil, the king is never given any sort of attention on why he decides to become the way he is. The film would have been so much better if it had focused more on his and Maleficent’s relationship and who he is as a character. It is just explained by a narration in quick reasoning “he’s evil now” or “he’s insane now”. The last real problem I felt with Maleficent was the legend of her in itself, this is meant to be a story that you weren’t told and yet we never see Maleficent become this legend. We clearly see the king has issues with her but that’s it, is it just a “because the king said so” type thing? There is not any kind of exposition of Maleficent becoming the evil legend or how the real story got exaggerated by others.

Although the film did have its flaws it was visually artistic and quite stunning to watch. The costumes, sets, lighting and cinematography at every moment reflected what was happening in the story, its overall mood and effect on characters and situations. The story of the film keeps the magic of the original alive but creates twists to what was shown, however it does not link up in accurate events, it more takes elements from the skeleton of Sleeping Beauty rather than the little details of events. However (apart from the above mentioned furies) the film never ruins the characters or events loved by fans of the original. Maleficent keeps the family demographic and yet is just as (if not more so) enjoyable for adults, I must have seen way more adults in the audience alone than with children.

Overall a triumph for what was trying to be portrayed, a sincere and moving story with a comedic edge and interesting twists with themes of love.




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