Possible spoilers ahead!
“Maleficent” is a 97 minute CGI onslaught filled with strange creatures and landscapes, the likes of which haven’t been seen since The Phantom Menace.
This new take on”Sleeping Beauty” is loaded with bad editing, bizarre cinematography, an unmemorable score and one of the thinnest plots in recent memory. Robert Stromberg is credited as director on the film, but there have been reports of studio rewrites, and multiple reshoots by director John Hancock.
I don’t know if any of these reports are true, but “Maleficent” definitely feels like a movie made by a committee. However, Angelina Jolie delivers one of her best performances in years, and saves this movie from becoming a joke.
Angelina Jolie portrays the title character as a misunderstood and wronged woman, betrayed by the one human she trusted. In a movie with three lead roles, Maleficent is the only character who gets a complete arc. We see her when she was a child, a young woman, and the most evil force her world has ever seen.
Jolie gives it her all in every scene, she commands the screen time and time again, and the actress gives us one villain we can truly root for. And damn if the didn’t look good with those red lips. I hope when award season rolls around next year, Angelina Jolie is at least nominated for a few statues.
The male lead is played by WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan. Well, not really. But you can see how I made that mistake. As it turns out, King Stefan was actually played by Sharlto Copley (“District 9”). Copley has some acting chops, too bad he left them at home.
Elle Fanning stars as Princess Aurora, A.K.A. Sleeping Beauty. Aside from a very pretty smile, there’s not much I can say about Elle Fanning’s character. We don’t really get to know much about her, other than the curse thing.
Wait, I take that back. We do know something about Aurora: The young beauty is a very trusting person. but considering the curse thing, you’d think her crazy “Aunts” would have warned her about such things.
For reasons I will never understand, the MPAA rated “Maleficent” PG. Hard to believe considering some of the stuff that goes on in this movie. There are moments in “Maleficent” that I found very disturbing, and based on their reactions, so did some of the kids in the audience.
in one scene, after snuggling with Maleficent, Stefan gives her a drink laced with a sleeping potion, then he tries to murder her. But he doesn’t have the guts to do it, so he slices off her wings instead. So to recap: In a Disney movie a woman is drugged, and attacked.
Not surprisingly, the scene of Maleficent waking up with huge scars in her back, then weeping with rage, is one of the most traumatizing images a kid could see. Heck, it affected me too and I’m friends with Laneit and have seen my fair share of violent movies.
In the end, “Maleficent” is not a great movie, but it’s also not the complete disaster I was expecting. This movie is saved only by Angelina Jolie’s wonderful performance, and that’s where “Maleficent” will find success.
“Maleficent” final score: 6