Thursday, June 12, 2014

Movie Review: "Maleficent" (2014)

Director: Robert Stromberg
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
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In a twist on the classic story Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent tells its tale from the perceived villain’s point of view. Maleficent (Agenelina Jolie) is a powerful fairy growing up in a land known as the Moors. The Moors are home to all kinds of fantastical creatures like trolls, imps, and tree people. As a young fairy, Maleficent falls for a human named Stephan (Sharlto Copley), who she befriended after she caught him stealing a gem from The Moors. As they grew up, Stephan was more interested in pursuing power than being with Maleficent. When a dying King Henry (Kenneth Kranham), who Maleficent and her mystical creatures recently defeated in battle, offers his crown to anyone who can kill Maleficent, Stephan quickly jumps at the opportunity. He uses his friendship to trick Maleficent, and though he cannot bring himself to kill her, he does cut off her wings and uses them to convince the king she is dead in order to gain the crown. From this point on, Maleficent is hell-bound and determined to get revenge, and when King Stephan holds the christening of his first child, Aurora (Elle Fanning), Maleficent crashes the party and puts a curse on little Aurora: before her 16th birthday,  she will fall in to a deep death-like sleep after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel only to be awaken by true loves kiss. In response, the King is set on his own revenge to destroy Maleficent. He gives Aurora to a trio of fairies to hide her away in a cabin in the forest until the day after her 16th birthday. Though they believe her to be safe, Maleficent is always around to keep a watch on her cursed little beast. 

A lot of people are calling this film a mess, but we really didn't think so! BigJ is a sucker for fantasy films, and I am a fan of taking age-old stories and turning them on their heads. It's interesting to see the timeless tale of Sleeping Beauty and shifted to reflect Maleficent's point of view and to see her back story in the way that "Wicked" does for "The Wizard of Oz." Filmmakers do a great job showing that things in life aren't always so black and white, but rather, more of a shade of gray. Often times, one person's evil villain is another person's hero. This movie showcases the best of both worlds. "Maleficent" also carries on with Disney's recent trend of focusing on other types of love and bravery beyond the male/female relationship as seen in "Frozen" and "Brave."

Angelina Jolie was physically made for this role. Her high cheekbones and sharp features lend to a very wicked looking Maleficent. There is some makeup work on her face that enhances her already prominent features, but it seems to be minimal (besides her bright red lipstick). Sharlto Copley has made a good transition into playing really menacing and downright evil characters. He performs well in this movie, though his accent is all over the place and it's very obvious. Elle Fanning was okay, but not our ideal cast as Sleeping Beauty. Her accent, too, was distracting, and though she's not in the movie for that long, her character is too damn giddy. Even the real Sleeping Beauty is like, "tone it down a notch, bro."

The special effects with the Moors looked really cool as did the battle scenes, but some of the creatures of the Moors looked cartoony and not completely realistic. Despite the video game-esque look of some of the creatures, it doesn't distract too much from the film.

There have been a lot of darker, alternate looks at fairy tale characters in recent years ("Snow White and the Huntsman"), but this one seems to have succeeded (for us) where the other failed.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 51%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!!


  1. I read this book and thought we'd see this movie in the theater but I think now we'll just wait for the dvd. Glad to hear you liked it though. I'm looking forward to eventually seeing it!


    1. I am hoping to read the book sometime soon! I think this might be a DVD movie for sure. It has its moments, but is definitely flawed.