Movie Review: Maleficent

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Stars: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple

Rated PG for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images, Running time 97 minutes minutes, Fantasy/Adventure/Family

Compare to: Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

It’s important for any movie to know what it is. Maleficent may know what it is and audiences that go in for it may too, and those may be the ones that enjoy it the most.

But many audiences may be left out because much like the plot and the characters involved, not everything is for everyone right?

Seeing the story of Sleeping Beauty from a different perspective, we watch as Maleficent grows up as the most powerful fairy in the forest kingdom. She befriends a human boy and the two start a friendship previously thought to be impossible. But when the boy grows up, human greed and ambition take over to help recreate Maleficent as a scorned fairy rather than the peaceful creature she was originally.

Story? What's a story? You see that background! I'm sold!

Story? What’s a story? You see that background! I’m sold!

At this point (if you haven’t already), you’ll know if this movie is for you or not. If you’re a fan of Disney, theater, Angelina Jolie, or fairies, you’ll probably appreciate this movie much further past the point of objectivity. Heck, if you’re a fan of Wicked and you watched OZ: The Great and Powerful with the realization that Wicked will never be turned into a feature length film, you could settle on this.

Jolie clearly enjoys her role as the winged and horned fairy, soaking up the so-called “evil” her character becomes privy to. Every line oozes revelry and disdain for the outside world and anything past her goals; much like a more playful Ravanna; Charlize Theron’s evil queen of 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman.

She just LOOKS like Satan, okay?

She just LOOKS like Satan, okay?

But reminders that this is a movie for younger audience as well as adult as rampant. While one monologue may feature the dark fairy casting a dark and powerful curse that will have the strict southern Baptists running for the exit door, there’s just as likely to be a followup line to break all seriousness. Little animal sidekicks, trolls and others help keep a tone that this isn’t all meant to be so serious. Elle Fanning as the sleeping beauty herself, Aurora, does a good job of brimming with enthusiasm to really live up to a living Disney princess.

And while 200 million dollars can buy a lot of good actors and CGI effects, it does little to speed up a story that features majorly one dimensional characters and the pacing of an episode of How It’s Made: Wicker Baskets. It wasn’t until the climax was approaching that I realized how far into the movie we’d made it. Up until then, it seemed like little had happened save for an explanation of why Maleficent didn’t like the king.

But that in itself will determine how much you like the movie. Those just looking for a movie showing off magical forests and the things that dwell in them will eat this up. Though anyone else may be left out with no real surprises or turns for the average viewer, simply a retelling to say “Does THIS catch your eye? Okay, good. That’ll be thirteen dollars.”

Did I mention this movie has fairies?

Did I mention this movie has fairies?

Positives: Some good performances and special effects, people that have an interest in the genre won’t be disappointed.

Negatives: The entire movie feels like a back story to a movie we don’t see, over-the-top playfulness may be too much for many audiences.

Grade: C

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