Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley
Director: Robert Stromberg
Running Time: 97 mins
Maleficent is an American film which tells the story of a seemingly evil fairy who, after cursing a child at a young age, discovers that that girl may be the one person who can restore peace to her kingdom.
So, basically, this is the story of the antagonist of Sleeping Beauty, which I didn’t know seeing as I’ve never seen Sleeping Beauty before, and only just found out. With that knowledge then, I commend this film for Angelina Jolie’s strong central performance as well as very good world-building, visual effects and atmosphere. However, the only problem is that the story was not really interesting at all, and despite the ambitions of this film, it’s not particularly entertaining to get invested in by any means.
However, let’s start with the positives, the main one of which is Angelina Jolie’s performance. She pulls off a weird evil fairy surprisingly well, with a very commanding presence on screen, but she also succeeds in the main ambition of the character, which is to make the famous villain of Sleeping Beauty actually understandable and possible to relate to, which she does with ease.
And that’s not to say that some of the other performances weren’t good. Maleficent is the only character who you actually see any sort of depth in, but people like Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Elle Fanning were all quite entertaining to watch on screen, and they helped to give the story a bit of a lighter tone in contrast to the darkness of Jolie’s Maleficent.
The other good thing about this film is that it’s really good-looking. I was shocked by how ugly Disney managed to make Into The Woods look, and with a similar premise of reversing a generic fairytale, I expected a similarly CGI-filled, ugly picture, but I didn’t get that.
Instead, this film has some very elegant visual effects, an appropriately vibrant look contrasted with the correct darkness of some of its other scenes, and it not only helps to make this a much more pleasant viewing experience, but also adds highly to the magical atmosphere of this film.
The biggest problem, however, is the fact that the story doesn’t quite emulate the successes of the other parts of the film. Yes, the character of Maleficent is mildly interesting, but apart from that, there’s very little to get properly invested in. Basically, this film tries to subvert the original story of Sleeping Beauty, and while Angelina Jolie achieves that objective, the movie as a whole does not, and it ends up feeling frustratingly like another generic fairytale, which was just too boring to really care about.
Overall, this gets a 6.6, because despite strong performances and being a very good-looking picture, the story here just didn’t work out as planned, and left me a little bored with a rather generic fairytale plot.