Published On: Fri, May 30th, 2014

‘Maleficent’ Movie Review: Disney turns ‘pure evil’ into the heroine

Maleficent, the latest Disney film starring Angelina Jolie, definitely reminds us all that there are two sides to every story. Only in this “alternate reality” could one ever consider the ominous evil fairy as a loving and caring fairy godmother and kind-of, sort-of, maybe pull it off.

Angelina Jolie Maleficent photoWhy so indecisive?

Having known Maleficent as the evil villain in the 1959 animated Disney classic Sleeping Beauty for over 40 years of my life, I don’t think any movie will ever change the immediate image of evil that comes to mind when I see those distinct U-shaped horns on anyone’s head.

However, my teenagers felt that it completely changed their perception of the misunderstood character and they ended up caring for the broken-hearted magical creature that Jolie brings to life on the screen.

Continuing with the recent trend of flipping popular fairy tales upside-down and surprising the audience with new twists and turns (for example Snow White & the Huntsman and ABC’s Once Upon a Time), the film tells the story of Sleeping Beauty from Maleficent’s perspective. To take the epitome of evil and create a sympathetic character requires taking other characters in the story and warping them to another uncomfortable extreme.

maleficent-imelda-staunton-lesley-manville-fairiesKing Stefan (Sharlto Copley) is not the kind-hearted, loving father but an ambitious, power-hungry heart-breaker. The 3 fairy godmothers are ridiculously presented as complete bubble-heads incapable of safely raising a child without hidden interventions by a more responsible protector.

Guess who that might be.

These warps are so extreme that older viewers with a hard-fast acceptance of the classic story will probably find this a bit absurd, but the kids love it. At one point during the screening, the entire audience of children actually clapped for Maleficent!

I’m sure none of them had nightmares about her as I did as a child.

Angelina Jolie as MaleficentDisney has created another beautiful film filled with colorful and magical scenery, ornate costumes, and whimsical creatures. The cherry on top is certainly Jolie’s performance in a role unlike any she has ever had before. The story itself sucks the audience in whisking them away to the magical land of The Moors for a short time. Most definitely this film is best viewed on the big screen (IMAX 3-D was totally awesome) and not one that you’ll want to watch on a television screen at home for the first time.

But at the end of the day, I’d still rather be scared of poor old Maleficent than want to hang out with her skipping through a meadow. Some characters are just meant to be horrifying and not loveable, but let’s see what’s next.

Ursula with a thyroid condition? Jafar as a devoted leader of his people?

Maybe Disney will take the good guys and make them villains. Maybe Aladdin really is just a “street rat” and Cinderella should stick to hanging out with rodents?

Unlikely, but if so, I’m sure Disney will come through and make us like it……whether we really want to or not.

Overall: Maleficent receives 3 out of 5 stars

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Guest Reviewer: Debbie Picallo Sage


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  1. » Movie review: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ – Fort Worth Star Telegram says:

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