It’s been a long time since I’d been excited for an Angelina Jolie movie!
After months of exciting anticipation for this movie I can seriously say…I’m a little disappointed. What I saw on the big screen was not what I was expecting which is not to say it wasn’t good…just threw me a curve ball. First let me explain with a little summary.
As I’m sure you’re aware Maleficent tells the story of the classic Sleeping Beauty from the villain’s point of view. (Which is always a fun idea, look into the story Wicked why don’t you?) As the story goes on her sixteenth birthday the princess Aurora pricks her finger on a spinning wheel which causes her to fall into a deep death like sleep where only true loves kiss can awaken her. It’s one of Disney’s most frightening villainess that places this curse on the princess; the evil Maleficent.
Now first things first, in this movie Maleficent played by Angelina Jolie (Wanted, Kung Fu Panda, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) is not a witch like I always assumed she was but instead a fairy. And she wasn’t always evil. After all people aren’t born bad right? She has horns and large wings because all fairies have wings and it’s pretty cool seeing all the live action flying! As a child Maleficent grew up happily in the Moors a land inhabited by mythical creatures. This land also rests just beyond a kingdom where a ruthless and power hungry king resides and Maleficent looks to protect her land from the greed of humans.
In the story she meets a young boy named Stefan played by Sharlto Copley (Elysium, The A-Team, District 9) who was stealing from the magical land. However amends are made and the two find themselves as very good friends and as the children grow it blossoms into a romance. However Stefan soon leaves and finds himself working for the ruthless King Henry; Kenneth Cranham (Flying Blind, Closed Circuit, Suspension of Disbelief). Now King Henry wants the magical land that Maleficent resides as his own so he takes his army to take it over. However the now fully grown Maleficent will have none of that and with the help of her magical friends wages war against the king which leaves the royal army running away with their tails between their legs. To say King Henry is pissed would be an understatement. With an illness taking its toll on him the king knows he doesn’t have much time. Without a successor upon his passing he grants his entitlement as new king to whoever can bring back Maleficent’s head on a platter. Stefan, who’s never had anything to really call his own, see’s his chance.
He calls out to his old friend Maleficent who he hasn’t seen for a few years and soon their thick as thieves again. However he deceives her with a sleeping tonic and takes a blade and…chickens out at the last moment. He still has a soft spot for his old girlfriend…still he’s not leaving empty handed, no, he does the next worst thing imaginable. He cuts off her wings and presents them to his king allowing him to think that Maleficent is dead.
And here’s where you really feel for Maleficent…she wakes up in agony to find that her lovely wings are gone. From there on out her once pure heart hardens into hatred and the desire for revenge.
A nice back story since the Disney movie just has Maleficent showing up out of know where and crashing the royal party after Aurora who in the movie is played by Elle Fanning (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Deja Vu, Super 8) is born.
But from here on out we fall into the semi-classic story. More like an alternate version of Sleeping Beauty. Where the three good fairies are actually idiots, the crow that’s always at Maleficent’s side is paying off a life debt and is shifted into any liking the evil fairy chooses most times a human named Diaval played by the handsome Sam Riley (13, Franklyn, Woman in Love), and also that it’s Maleficent herself that decides to change the curse from death to a deep sleep which can only be undone by true loves kiss.
The reason I’m a little upset with this movie is because it’s pretty much a different story altogether. I wanted to follow Maleficent’s version of the original Sleeping Beauty. She technically wasn’t even a villain here. As Aurora describes her in the movie she was ‘both a villain and a hero’. Which is all good and everything but…she was supposed to be the villain!
I don’t know…all the wind was taken from my sails by the time the credits started rolling. I felt cheated…but again not to say the movie wasn’t good. The alternate story-line was an intriguing one and the fantasy and special effects made this a cinematic treat. If you haven’t seen it I do recommend it just…don’t expect anything from the classic. This movie is obviously for the newer generation who didn’t grow up with the original Sleeping Beauty. I’m so old and bitter.
Anyway Rotten Tomatoes gave Maleficent a 53% on the rotten meter. I’m actually a little shocked it didn’t do better.
Rated PG for adventure and fantasy.
I don’t think that Maleficent was so scary that children couldn’t go see it though I wouldn’t risk a child under five seeing this movie.
Good movie just not what I had been hoping for. Now I’ll be having my doubts about the new live action Cinderella movie coming out next year. Disney I’ll have my fingers crossed.