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IGNORE THE TRAILER: GO SEE IT!
I saw this movie tonight with a friend and it was spectacular. Going in, I was excited as a life-long Disney fan but also expecting a somewhat cheesy good-vs-evil type of movie based on what I had seen in the trailer. I couldn't have been more wrong! Angelina Jolie delivers an amazing performance and makes a well-known, previously rather one- dimensional Disney villain relate-able and more sympathetic, while also managing to look like a convincing, gorgeous, magical creature.
The CGI is a tad heavy and a little freaky at times (such as the three coloured pixies/Aunts) but was used, in combination with some amazing sets, to create a fantastic world and creatures which were reminiscent of the beautiful and imaginative work in movies such as "Hellboy 2" and "Pan's Labyrinth". The effort by the art team here really helps to draw you into Maleficent's world at the beginning of the movie and makes you wish you were a kid growing up with this movie as fodder for your imagination.
Although Maleficent's character has been humanised in this re-telling, the story really emphasises that she isn't human at all, and explores the ins and outs of her life and how she relates to the humans she encounters.
The plot for this movie really fits into the current trend of exploring the anti-hero (Breaking Bad, Hannibal...) and shows that Disney is trying to break with its past depiction of characters being black and white, good or evil, etc.
I feel like I am gushing over this film, but as a Disney classic lover I have been truly impressed by what is sure to be a new favourite with kids and adults equally. I do expect some controversy over parts of the film but I won't discuss those here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is a TRUE fairy tale. It's dark. It's raw. And it's written
from the dark, raw experience of women.
Maleficent is about what happens when your Prince turns into a Frog. It's the personal, inner journey to recover from a physical trauma and emotional betrayal by those who are closest to us and who we trust the most. It's about how to survive that type of horrific evil without becoming evil yourself. It's message is that profound.
The critics complaining about this film want "fairy tales" to stay in the same "one-love-fits-all" mode where people are either good or evil and that all one needs is to find "romantic" love and marry a "good" Prince or Princess, and you will live "happily ever after," safe from any pain or sorrow. But real life is a lot messier than that.
It's actually evidence of how rare it is to see women's unfiltered subjective emotional landscape portrayed on film that it seems many of the critics cannot even wrap their brains around it!
No matter. This film is so sensually visually stunning and viscerally emotionally cathartic that sheer word of mouth enthusiasm is going to make this a blockbuster, no matter what the critics say.
And it's equally rare to see a protagonist whose inner landscape is more complex than simply extracting revenge, destroying their enemies and...roll credits. People are more complicated than THAT fairy tale we are sold in every other "action" and "adventure" film that only serves to reinforce the psychopathic values of revenge and bravado.
Sometimes a film is so ahead of its time that the critics are behind and so philosophically deep that it's message is incomprehensible to the more superficial among us. This is one such film.
Woolverton and Jolie have crafted a masterpiece.
Don't miss it.
Every true fan of the original Sleeping Beauty (1959) was skeptical
about this and how much it had to deviate from the actual movie, and as
more of the movie was revealed, it was only proving to be another
female empowerment, victimized villain kind of a movie. But I'm glad I
was wrong, for I'm sure only by watching the whole movie can we truly
appreciate and understand the very convincing back story and
development the character was subject to. Of course with very liberal
changes to the original plot, the key elements that you'd look for are
intact. Need I mention the perfect casting of Angelina Jolie,
Maleficent truly comes to life in full form by Angelina's stunning
skills and presence. A twist that's not cliché, sentiments that are
deep, humor that's ever so natural and action that always keeps you at
the edge of your seat! Maleficent in this movie is not exactly as we
know of her from the few minutes we got to see her in the original
movie, but let me tell you she's every bit deliciously evil. It was
amusing to see Angelina play a role that requires a lot of nuances to
pull of this character with a lot of depth as opposed to the
one-dimensional character from the movie. Never letting off the grip,
she carried the movie on her shoulders. Nothing to take away from the
beauty of the rest of the movie which takes breath with excellent
direction and visual effects that will truly transport you to another
world, and the amazing work by all the 'supporting' actors. Yes, the
other characters weren't as fleshed out as Maleficent, but I see that
as good thing, given the title and theme. A spectacular balance. I'd
also like to bring light on the enchanting score, thanks to James
Newton Howard, this maestro is underrated.
A comprehensive movie, there's a little something for audiences of all ages, truly a masterpiece.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was genuinely excited to hear that Disney was going to make a film
about Maleficent, my favorite Disney villain of all time. I was
interested in knowing the 'why' behind her actions in Sleeping Beauty,
since we never really got to see that. I will say that the
cinematography is amazing. I will also say that while Angelina Jolie
was not my first choice, she had the look, her costume was spot-on, and
there are moments where you can see where she is at least trying to
play this role correctly (and really, who could replace Eleanor
Audley?). But one thing I've noticed over the past 10-15 years is that
animation and design seem to be their main focus, rather than story or
character development. In the movie, Maleficent's back story was
incredibly rushed. So much for going into depth on why Maleficent is
the way she is.
This movie does not explain why Maleficent is the way she is. Disney is showing us a completely different character while giving her the same name as Disney's most iconic villain. Now they're trying to say that Maleficent is a misunderstood character who becomes evil. But that never happens. She becomes angry and bitter, but not evil. Maleficent in this movie is not even a misunderstood, sympathetic character. She is a total victim who never becomes evil at all.
Oh, she does do one evil thing; she does still curse King Stefan's baby out of revenge. And she has second thoughts about it two seconds afterward. See? Not evil at all. And while I'm at it, I should mention my distaste for the way she cursed Aurora: Disney completely lowered the stakes by having Maleficent utter the words "sleep-like death" and be the one to offer the cure of True Love's kiss. No! It's MERRYWEATHER that counters the DEATH curse in order to save Aurora's life! Oh, Maleficent may say later that she doesn't believe True Love exists, but that's a matter of opinion isn't it? Again, LOWERS THE STAKES.
And what was Linda Woolverton thinking when she took King Stefan and the three fairies completely out of character and gives them a complete 180 in order to make Maleficent look good? If you're going to show us the point of view of a famous villain, it's okay to give them layers and gray areas in order to make them more interesting and multi- dimensional, even to show they weren't always evil. But NOT to say they were never evil at all; that just completely defeats the point of the character! Same with the good guys; they may have their own flaws, show that they have their own prejudices, or that everything they did wasn't perfect. But NOT to say "the good guys were really EVIL OR STUPID!"
The fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather (I refuse to call them by their new names) are NOTHING like they were in Sleeping Beauty, and this is a big deal. In Sleeping Beauty, say what you will about their flaws but their ultimate motivation was keeping Aurora SAFE. At least they tried, even if they failed! Maleficent (2014) portrays them as nothing more than stupid buffoons who only care about saving their own skins. Aurora was just a means to an end for them; they have no relationship with her like they do in the original. The movie also took away their own personalities, so they are no different from each other. I can't even keep track of which fairy has which name! Watching them on screen with everything they say or do was as cringe worthy as I expected it to be.
King Stefan has to be one of worst written villains I have seen in a while. He has no real motivation for what he does; we see him as having nothing in the beginning, and then the movie glosses over his relationship with Maleficent in order to "get to the good part" where he steals her wings in order to be king. After that, he wages war on Maleficent for cursing his daughter, and yet he only looks at Aurora as afterthought property. Why is he even after Maleficent then? What else has she done to him other than cursing his daughter?
Elle Fanning as Aurora was very impressive. I do think she gave the character more of a personality that was lacking in the original, and she stole the film in every scene she was in. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to save the movie, nor were Maleficent's interactions with Diaval, as enjoyable as they were.
And of course, Maleficent does not turn into a dragon in this movie. I have to ask; why, Disney? You knew how loved of a villain Maleficent is, and her being a dragon is one of the many reasons why. Also, we live in an age where technology and special effects are abundant; you didn't use the opportunity to see how your most iconic villain looks as a dragon when done with live-action CGI? Why would you waste a perfectly good opportunity like that? Besides the fact that Maleficent is not evil in this film, she also is very wimpy and pathetic. She can't do ANYTHING. When we see her fight an army at the beginning, all she does is fly around and slap a few soldiers with her wings. The tree monsters did most of her fighting for her. In Sleeping Beauty, she could transport herself to another place in a matter of seconds, she could shoot lightning from her staff, and she could transform into another form other than her own. She didn't do any of that in this movie.
Just like with Alice in Wonderland, Disney wasted a perfectly good opportunity to effectively adapt their animated work to the live-action screen. Maleficent may not be the absolute worst movie I've seen, but it's definitely in my bottom list now.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With the release of movie adaptations of classics like Snow White and
Jack and the beanstalk, both of which I was highly entertained and
thought it was simply amazing this movie was a sad let down.
Pros: Visually stunning. Angelina Jolie's performance was spot on with the most evil of classical villains we always knew.
Cons: The most beautiful princess Aurora looks like the girl next door. Why does Hollywood try to do that is beyond me. Mary Jane Watson (Spidermans love interest) is supposed to be a beautiful actress and a model. But again the movie portrays a girl next door look in ultimate Spiderman. Elle Fannig's acting was not strong and in the end not memorable in the least. It felt like she was there for the sake of being there.
Sharlto Copley acting left a lot to be desired. Was he supposed to portray a loving farther and husband driven mad or a power hungry king driven insane by his overwhelming need to destroy the one creature that he could not bring himself to kill when he had the chance? If he was supposed to potray caring scenes it never really showed. ______________ ______________
The King is portrayed as an evil man who begged for his daughters life and could have easily returned maleficent's wings but instead chose not to for reasons which are beyond anyones understanding. This is the start of where the movie just becomes a drag.
Maleficent curses the child to die in the original storyline and this is the most important part in the story because of which the 3rd fairy who did not bestow a gift alters the curse by making them sleep instead of death. This part is totally lost in the movie.
Watching a bunch of incompetent fairies nearly almost kill a child before the curse can take effect is as much a mystery as why maleficent would watch over the child and save it. Why the king would entrust his child to faeries whom he dislikes is also as much a mystery as why he would not send a nurse maid to care for his only child.
The worst part of the movie is being subjected to watch the Princess grow to 16 years old and marvel at the beautiful fairies (it feels like pointless fillers). Also when the princess realizes whats going on one day before her birthday, the 3 incompetent fairies again forget to mention about what happened to Maleficents wings. The good fairies were not incompetent, just funny in the original story and smart enough to hide away the princess for 16 years. Why they made them look so incompetent and negligent is beyond me.
Once you get over the visuals you will realize its nothing more than a chick flick geared at young children (visuals) and adults who are romantically inclined.
The most evil Disney villain for over 50 years reduced to nothing more than a scorned women out to seek revenge for the betrayal. A loving father reduced to nothing more than a mad evil greed driven man who plunges himself into insanity with a overwhelming urge to kill maleficent despite his daughter being returned safe and well.
Many times during the movie I found myself thinking about what work I have the next day or what needs to be done. This is something I have never experienced when sitting and watching a movie on big screen completely immersed in the plot.
This is a far cry from Snow White and the Huntsman which was really good barring Kristen Stewart's emo acting (emotionless) drawn from twilight.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Maleficent is the very first movie, in my long list of movies that I
have seen, that I wanted to walk out of.
Lets start with the positives. Angelina Jolie was incredible. She was beautiful, she was strong, and she executed Maleficent beautifully. Her relationship with Aurora was refreshing and.... Nice. The magical world was something that has been seen on movies like bridge to terabithia, but it was still beautiful and engaging.
But all of this does not save the movie. I expected to walk in and see a movie similar to wicked, where we get a better understanding of the bad guy. Yes, us understanding the bad guy does not excuse what they have done, but we can see where they come from. In the musical Wicked (and even in the movie great and powerful Oz) we have sympathy for the character we previously viewed as the bad guy. We could see where she was coming from. In those adaptations nobody truly ended up becoming "the bad guy". Most were victims of circumstances. In Maleficent? It was ferngully/Avatar all over again. Magical people, good! Man, BAAAAAAD! Instead of giving depth to all the characters that previously were left rather flat and on the background on the original sleeping beauty, suddenly the king has been reduced to this one dimensional villain that created the evil Maleficent and later on becomes obsessed with killing her! He was given NO aspects that would make us have even the tiniest bit of sympathy, not the smallest bit of understanding. He was just a vile man that broke Maleficents heart, mutilated her, and cared only for power. Even when he tried to protect his daughter, it was made appear more like he was protecting his property rather than a person he loved. Yes, he graveled for her for a bit, begging Maleficent not to curse her, but that was it. The movie left all traces of the good of the humanity from it. OK, it had some of the good of humanity, but the only human that was portrayed as good was Aurora.
The movie tried to portray the three fairies as the comic relief, but ended up just portraying them as idiots, incompetent selfish creatures. The fairies in the original Disney movie were clumsy and unused to taking care of a child, but they were like that because for the first time in their lives they could not rely on their magic to achieve things in life. If were as modern people were thrown in to the middle of the woods and had to do everything by hand, then yes, we would be as lost as they were. But they were given 16 years to evolve, to learn and to grow. But no. The fairies were not given even the smallest of story arc in this movie. They were creatures that switched sides when ever it benefited the movie.
I mentioned before that I liked the relationship that Maleficent and Aurora had in the movie, but even that was shattered later on in the movie. The solution to the problem was not a surprise at all. It was taken straight out of Frozen. It was refreshing and incredible when Frozen did it, because it was the first time Disney did not use the age old solution of a man being the one delivering the kiss of "true love", but when the same solution, the same realization is done in a movie that came out within year of each other? It is boring and in no way exiting, it is in no way entertaining. We have learned NOTHING new. Is this Disney's new approach in relationship? Love between man and a woman is obsolete, but the love between girl (family kind of love, not lesbian, kids apparently can't handle that, and also, family excludes male family members at this moment as well, only women can feel true love!)is the strongest of all the loves in this world.
In the end, the movie basically told the audience "yeah, the movie/story that has been told for decades is actually a propaganda, and I should know, because I am Queen Aurora, and I was there all along!" The original Sleeping Beauty was rather black and white, good VS.. Evil. When I walked in to the theatre I expected the lines to be blurred, to be thought "all stories have two sides, not all of our actions are blatantly good OR evil" but instead the writers and directors and what nots decided to make the line between good and evil even more visible. The good creatures are good no matter what they do, and the bad humans are bad and rotten all the way.
In conclusion: The movie might have given some depth to a villain that previously had been left as a rather one dimensional character, but in exchange they created a new one dimensional villain, just switching the genders around. The worlds was beautiful and the lead actress was amazing, but even she could not save this rehash of a movie in the end.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you like fairy tales and believe in love then you'll hate this film.
It's beautifully filmed and well acted by Angelina Jolie, but the story
is so over the top with the male hatred it becomes ludicrous.
By the end of the film I just started laughing at how insane it was. Made me think the writer just had to be a woman and she must have suffered the worst break up in history, or else she just really hated men.
I was looking forward to seeing this film ever since it was teased in theaters. Now I wish I had my money back.
Some may say this film is like Frozen. That's only if we discovered Christoff was actually in league with the evil Prince and Olaf was their spy.
Maleficent is magnificent. The story is sophisticated enough to delight
adult audiences with a brilliant take on the beloved tale with a
delightful twist including the meaning of true love. The characters are
sympathetic and there is enough excitement.
The art direction and cinematography are beautiful. The fairy land scenes resemble a pre Raphaelite painting. The castle was a bit generic CGI. The right blend of human faces with CGI so it didn't look too animated. The director Stromberg who did Oz the Great and Powerful did an even better job here.
Angelina Jolie's expressive face is the perfect showcase for the character - it is the role of her lifetime. Like the way they did her cheekbones to make it like the Disney cartoon. Sam Riley as her sidekick morphs into many fairy tale creatures crow, dragon horse. The creatures are well done not awkward in movement and not overwhelming. Elle Fanning is sweet and picture perfect for the role of Aurora and Brenton Thwaites plays her prince. The fairies including Juno Temple and Imelda Staunton are cute too.
Liked this more than the Snow White movies 'Mirror Mirror' and 'Snow White and the Hunstman'. The first was fun but a bit silly and the second was too grim. Maleficent is the perfect blend of excitement and fairy tale. Most enjoyable film of the year.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let me start by saying that Maleficent has been a personal favorite of
mine when it comes to Disney villains. Throughout her many
interpretations, she has simply been Evil (yes, with a capital E). So
forgive me if this review is a bit of a rant.
In this adaptation, she is reinterpreted as a good fairy (because she's apparently not a human sorceress anymore?) that simply has a hissyfit. She is certainly not evil - just angry for a little while. She even ends up becoming a Godmother??
Even King Stephen's character is butchered. Why does he go insane over her? If he were really the bad guy, why wouldn't he have killed Maleficent when he had the chance? What possible reason does he have for being indifferent about the welfare of his daughter?
Speaking of Aurora, it's worth mentioning that she is relatively alright, but still not too close to her original character. A petty aesthetic thing about her is that her hair and eyebrows are not the same color, which is really distracting.
Additionally, they rehash the concept from Frozen, which is that 'True Love' doesn't have to be from some man. If this trend continues from Disney, all we'll see is sisterly/Godmotherly/family love movies where Romance is thrown out the window because it apparently doesn't end with a "happily ever after" anymore.
Overall, this film was simply horrible if you respected Maleficent as a villain. If you did like Maleficent as she was, I don't recommend seeing this movie. Even if you like the idea of there being no such thing as Evil, I urge you not to see this movie. Don't support the people who made it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***Spoliers may be listed below****
Maleficent is a an iconic villainous role. She is one of Disney's best characters cast from the dark side and when I saw the trailer I succumbed to the beauty they inlaid using Jolie as the sinister evil fairy. I was seduced to believing that I would be lured into a world of evil and treachery. I wanted to see how evil was born and vengeance would be enacted. I wanted to be able to bond with this evil force and be drawn deep into darkness, rooting for the bad girl. I knew it would be filled with beautiful scenes and Disney magic, but what I did not anticipate that the greatest treachery would be the film itself.
Jolie can most definitely embrace evil and the moments when she is allowed to succumb to the full force of Maleficent it is beautiful. Once you add in Goldie Locks however, you get a recipe for disaster. Suddenly I might as well be in a world of pink pixie dust, leprechauns and unicorns because this beautiful villain is disgraced into playing a role of a misunderstood black hearted fairy who really loved the doe eyed giggling Aurora.
Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned, this should have been the driving force behind the film. The beginning scenes of a youthful Maleficent should have been nixed to allow more time to build a love story that was even remotely believable. To fall from grace the betrayal has to be tangible and dripping with poison. It must be something more than just a monologue infatuation and stolen wings. They said years passed and yet I felt nothing of a bond or great love that would give birth to Maleficent's destiny.
In Disney's Rapunzel the "mother" figure who raised Rapunzel from a baby never fell in love with the child as a daughter. She was still greedy, evil and dedicated to her path. So why must the world's most wonderful villain turn to a soft hearted Godmother of a vapid child. I know Disney is trending this "don't bet on the prince" idea and that's fine I support that, but really...they thought this was "no truer love."
If they think the king suffered by simply being tortured with the countdown till his child's demise then they are sadly mistaken. That was child's play. A woman changed by betrayal to the dark side has more ideas in her play-book that can make a man suffer. Madness would have been the king knowing that Maleficent knew the entire time where Aurora was hiding. Maleficent should have been sending him snippets of hair or visions of his daughter with the raven peering down at him while he slept. He should have been physically and mentally destroyed, a raving lunatic.
I would have rather liked to see a double treachery in the story. That only the raven knew all along where Aurora was and hid it from his mistress. We could watch the anger burn and grow within Maleficent because she wasn't able to find the child for 16 years. That in the interim the raven would randomly turn into human form and it would have been those two that fell in love and the tragic day that Maleficent discovers her location through some fool's errand played by the three dopey fairies guarding her, absconds with the child and let's the curse play out its course. Then I would have a mega battle scene at the edge of the forest against the king, let her have her righteous moment when she takes his life all the while the king knowing his daughter is stuck in endless slumber with no hope of her being saved. Then during the battle the raven after escaping the battlefield leaves Maleficent's side to try and wake Aurora. When Maleficent discovers her minion's treachery the pain and anger at being betrayed for a second time by her own kind would fill her from the pit of her stomach up through her spine and a black fire filling her eyes transforming to the great dragon and an epic battle of good and evil which will lead to her glorious death! That would have at least been something!
Then they could have there happier ever after. Then all those still shots of Maleficent looking like a falling angel in the glimmering sunlight would have been more picturesque, more visually twisted.
Overall, I feel I paid $15 dollars for another movie funded by the Prozac and Xanax manufacturers that spread fallacies that evil fairies are really good, vampires are not evil blood suckers and werewolves make great best friends. It's a snooze and a travesty. If you love the traditional iconic role of Maleficent remain in darkness and forget the lies the trailer told you for the glorious black dragon is covered in daffodils and pink tutus in this film.
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