Janet W., Here…
Different is not necessarily Evil. This is the lesson learned with the telling of King Arthur’s story through the eyes of Morgaine Le Fay in The Mists of Avalon. Maleficent provides a different point of view for this timeless villain. The original insight of Maleficent’s character was in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty where Maleficent was a wicked captor of a gentle beauty. In her blazing greens and purples, she was terrifying and extremely menacing. Maleficent offers the origin and growth of a fairy that is just a little bit different than the rest but nonetheless beautiful and powerful.
Young Maleficent, Isobelle Molloy, is the uncrowned queen/guardian of the fairyland. This is where she meets a young peasant orphan named Stefan. Believed to be a kindred spirit, Maleficent befriends the orphan and their friendship grows overtime and true love is assumed. From an adorably curious, young, and playful spirit, to the statuesque, graceful and magical powerhouse, the now adult Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), director Robert Stromberg captures her evolution wonderfully. The young Maleficent zooms through fairyland, spinning into the ethereal heights, unveiling the grown-up Maleficent.
Maleficent stands before the king and his army alone, or so they think. Up rises an Entmoot (the walking and talking trees from ‘Lord of the Rings‘) on steroids, which is a blow to the king’s ego that he will not soon forget. Maleficent makes her fighting prowess known, no doubt about that. The king challenges his bravest to destroy Maleficent and proclaims that he will crown the one who does. After years of distance, Stefan returns to steal Maleficent’s wings and therefore take the kingdom through the most hurtful deception and misuse of Maleficent’s love.
After being crowned king, Stefan has a daughter named Aurora. The three little pixies come to bless the baby with wishes of Beauty, Happiness, and in strolls Maleficent with the curse of a sleeping death on her sixteenth birthday. Hell hath no fury. In an effort to protect the wee baby princess, the pixies are charged with the care of baby Aurora. Within the woods near fairyland, little Aurora grows up, as Maleficent watches over her constantly. In Maleficent, love unfolds in many directions from fancy to deepest agape.
Jolie’s beauty and talent are not even slightly diminished by her transformation into the visage of Maleficent. Ever since I first saw Jolie in Gia, her presence has commanded attention. From drama to action to animation voiceover, Jolie’s range seems without bounds. She can convey any emotion with an eye (Who else could capture the signature look of Lady Lara Croft?), stance (Could you be so cool with someone shooting at you?), or even with an outfit (I’m sure we all remember a certain hotel room and a certain rubber clad dominatrix).
In conclusion, Maleficent is my first serious reality fantasy (oxymoron much) film filled with real emotion and realistic relationships. Not every prince is charming and the love between a man and a woman is not the only form of true love. There were a few bumps in the script and some of the actor’s delivery throughout, including Jolie’s odd shrill instead of commanding a call to arms. Stefan (Sharlto Copley) was creepy, but so much more weasel-like than was warranted for the part.
Aurora (Elle Fanning) was too sweet that it gave me cavities within cavities, and it had more cheese than a cheese lovers’ pizza at Pizza Hut. The IMAX 3D version of Maleficent was justified for about the first fifteen minutes of the film, but then failed to show any objects being thrown out towards the audience. At least there was some decent depth to the image. At the film’s close, I was left with a sense of despondence. Not a total loss, but not the excellence I’ve come to expect from Disney. Overall, I enjoyed Maleficent as a novel take on a classic good vs. evil story.
3.5 out of 5 STARS
– Janet White