FILM REVIEW: Maleficent

If you watched Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ as a child and Maleficent scared you as did all children who watched it. Then this movie is for you, as you discover what turned her from a happy fairy into the sinister villain that we all remember.

RATING: PG

RUN TIME: 97 mins
RELEASE DATE: 28th May
DIRECTOR: Robert Stromberg
CAST: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, Junto Temple, Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites, Kenneth Cranham.

Maleficent 2

From Disney comes “Maleficent” — the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty”. A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal — an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom — and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.

Maleficent looks at the life of Disney’s most infamous villain. With the original animated version of Sleeping Beauty now 55 years old, this is the perfect time for this film.

The film starts with Maleficent as a young fairy child who lives in The Moors a magical world full of fae creatures, who are at war with the humans in the nearby realm. Then one day a young human boy comes into the forest and becomes friends with Maleficent – however this friendship is the start of events that will turn sour and turn Maleficent into the evil woman we all remember from the original story.

I went into this film with a bit of trepidation thinking it was just going to be another kids movie (A bit like ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’), however I was so wrong. Instead what I found myself watching what was a beautiful film, with great authors and a well thought out plot.

The first part of the film follows young Maleficent, her meeting with Stefan and the events that turn her into a bitter and twisted fairy. Then the story falls into the more well know territory with Aurora’s christening, and the following years until Aurora’s fateful meeting with the spindle.

The use of colour is totally amazing with the fairy land full of bright colours and amazingly thought up and different fae. Which contrasts brilliantly with the darkness of the castle and the human world. The effects were – well there is no other word than magical. The three fairies Knotgrass, Fittle and Thistlewit and the raven Diaval especially. And they have got the look of Maleficent herself just right, it really is like the animated version has come to life.

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This is another 3D film, which doesn’t usually do anything for me, but when Maleficent is flying at the beginning you really feel like you are flying with her. It added depth and relevance to the film, without it distracting you completely, or feeling that it was pointless.

The acting was also top rate, when it could have very easily been pantomime-esk and over the top. Angelina Jolie manages to convey a happy and benign Maleficent, and then flip to show her dark and sinister side convincingly. I think she is even better than the original animated version. Also a big mention should go to Sharlto Copley whose portrayal of Stefan as he slowly disintegrates into paranoia was another amazing show of acting.

The story is slightly different from the animated version – but then this is from Maleficent’s view point. However there was a brilliant nod to the original, a simple shadow on the wall at Aurora’s christening that sent a chill down my spine.

Disney certainly have hit the jackpot with this film, a beautiful and entrancing film. I barely heard a peep from the vast amount of kids in the audience. Children will love all the different and creative fae (however some very young children may be frightened by some of the scarier fae near the beginning of the film) and there is a decent plot that is acted well to keep the adults interested too.

A truly magical film that shows even this most sinister villain was once good. Take the kids, or just go yourself, but go. This is sure to become a future favourite classic.

Watch the trailer here:

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: darkphoenix1701

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