Synopsis: A vindictive fairy is driven to curse an infant princess only to realize the child may be the only one who can restore peace.
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Much like the Broadway musical Wicked, Maleficent is a re-imagining of a classic tale that we all know. More than just a creative adaptation, this film maintains the essence of the original story of Sleeping Beauty while creating a new and fresh perspective from the antagonist’s point of view. And when it comes to the role of the antagonists, who could better play the role of the conflicted villain better than Angelina Jolie? With those seductively menacing eyes accompanied by a beautifully devious smile, it would be hard to imagine anyone else taking the role.
As said, there is a duality to this version of the character and Jolie embodies the role as we follow Maleficent’s journey from naive innocence to vindictive villainy. Scorned by love and betrayal by a man who had succumbed to greed, Maleficent’s so called “evil” actions are rather portrayed as victimized retaliation. The king, whose background was briefly explored in the original story, is further explored in this film depicting him as a vengeful oppressor and absentee father. Sharlto Copley (The king) seems to be a fan favorite these days but when it comes to being a villain I find him to be a bit eccentric and over the top. Although the genre of family adventures tend to cater to more charismatic characters, Copley’s performance was just a little too overpowering and distracting at times. Elle Fanning (Aurora), on the other hand, fits very well into the role of the cursed princess. She is positively charismatic which is fitting to both the genre and the character. Her child-like wonder and optimism counters Jolie’s heartbroken bitterness which in turn creates an interesting relationship fueling the climax of the story.
The world created for the film is both enchanting and ominous much like the main character. It’s as if this world had an emotional connection to Maleficent, adapting to her evolution from innocent happiness to bitter revenge. While the setting quickly goes from light to dark, glimmers of light seem to shine through the darkness with Maleficent’s brief moments of content. I would say that I enjoyed the setting and found it to be aesthetically captivating but would not recommend viewing it in 3D as I had. I believe that the 3D effect should be used sparingly and Maleficent is a film where it should be avoided. Despite my content with the setting, I felt it would be a much better experience without the 3D.
Overall I would say that Maleficent is a great re-imagining of a classic story. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and felt that Angelina Jolie was perfect in her role. While some adaptations may feel redundant, this film feels like a bridge between old and new. It remains respectful towards the original and brings new flair to it with a different perspective. I believe that the fans of these types of franchises will enjoy the film but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Maleficent- 6.5 out of 10
An enjoyable re-imagining for fans, but average for the rest…