Movie review: Maleficent (2014)


Maleficent made its name as Disney’s top villain character ever since the famous 1959 film of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ fairy tale. I was very excited when I first knew last year that this Disney epic classic would be brought back to the big screen but with the highlight now not on the beautiful Princess Aurora but on the mighty villain; Maleficent, the self-proclaimed ‘Mistress of all Evil’.  And I was even more excited when Angelina Jolie is set to portray the titular character, as she is one of my most favourite actresses. 2014’s ‘Maleficent’ is released few days ago and I had finally watched it just now.

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Before sharing my view on this film, I have to say that the trailers of the movie had strongly build up my anticipation to watch this, especially the first teaser trailer. ‘I’m not afraid.’ ‘Then, come out.’ ‘Then, you’ll be afraid’. And she walks out creepily from the shadow. Wow…Simply fantastic.

The first category I am to comment on is the plot / story. This film had Maleficent turned from being a truly evil villain in the original ‘Sleeping Beauty’ story into a hero, a positive figure this time (more spoilers ahead). That’s a total opposite from the original material and I don’t find it cool. People likes Maleficent because she is popular for being the most evil, for being the most powerful villain; a witch that could do any possible magic and even transform herself into a dragon. But here, you see her changed over a new leaf and even loved Aurora, and regret for placing the curse on her when she was a baby. That’s a whole new level of twist to the story, but I don’t like this approach. I prefer the director to stick with Maleficent being evil. There are some other major twists in the plot too that deviates from the original story and but those are fine for me. Just the main point of making Maleficent a good person is a big mistake. This decision ruined the whole point of ‘Maleficent’ name.

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Angelina Jolie is absolutely wonderful. She delivered a powerful performance as Maleficent and I think no other actresses could do better than this one. She nailed the role. Most of her scenes only involve her walking with very less dialogue and doing some little magic. But her powerful gestures, her eyes and expressions get us all engaged throughout the whole film. Elle Fanning did well as Aurora too. But I find that there is too much scenes of her wondering and exploring the beauty of the Moors land which I find it a bit unnecessary and lengthy. The three fairy godmothers are mostly funny (even some of Maleficent’s scenes are hilarious too) in this movie. A bit of comedic touch is good. While on the other hand, Sharlto Copley is a bit wooden as King Stefan, whom turned out to be the real villain in this film.

The film is visually spectacular and I expected that since Robert Stromberg, the director of this film is a famed special effects designer whom previously credited for works like Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and Oz The Great and Powerful. But for me, it is meaningless to show the beauty of the visual effects in this film from those many strange creatures on the Moors land that play no role to the storyline basically. The sound effects are good especially on some scenes where it helps to build up the tension and intensity. The scene where Maleficent show up during Aurora’s christening ceremony and placed the well-known curse on her is powerful. The ending is also fascinating (a happy ending), but hmm…it is the crow (Diaval) that transformed into a fearsome dragon, and not Maleficent herself. A bit disappointing there. Another twist to original story. I have to say again that I prefer this film to stick to original story but displaying it with other directions or means. That would be great then.

I expected this re-imagining of Disney’s classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’ told from the perspective of the antagonist, Maleficent should be in dark tone but not quite what it turned out to be in the end. The story had major twist of which I don’t agree that much, slightly disappointing outcome but fortunately, Angelina Jolie’s commanding performance saved the movie. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Maleficent’ a total of 7.0.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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One Response to “Movie review: Maleficent (2014)”

  1. It was pretty to look at, but not much else other than that. Shame too, because there’s definitely some good here. Nice review Vincent.

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