Friday, 12 December 2014

Movie Review: Maleficent

Directed by: Robert Stromberg, 2014

Pros: beautiful cinematography, great special effects, interesting characters

Cons: predictable

After being betrayed by a human she loved, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) curses the man’s daughter.  But as the years pass, she comes to regret her decision.

This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the evil fairy’s point of view.  Angelina Jolie does a brilliant job as Maleficent.  She’s got perfectly chisteled cheekbones and great poise in the role.  I loved her wings and the fight scene towards the beginning of the film where she uses them offensively.  Her story arc, while simplistic, made sense, and it’s cool to see her slowly realize the princess didn’t deserve her anger and that maybe she reacted badly to what Stefan had done.

The cinematography on the whole was magnificent.  The sets, costumes, special effects, etc. were all wonderful.  There’s a slight muted quality to the human world, with things taking on a yellowed tinge - except Maleficent’s bold red lipstick.  Contrasted with the brightly coloured fairy land, the human world was pretty plain and boring.

I also enjoyed the performances by the 3 pixies, one of whom was played by Imelda Staunton, whom viewers will recognize from her role of Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter.  Here, she’s part of the comic relief team and does a wonderful job.  I wasn’t sure why the king would entrust 3 pixies who don’t know how to feed a baby with his infant daughter when he’s at war with the fairy kingdom, but oh well.

The transforming crow was a cool touch.  The effect was awesome and his character interesting.  I kind of wanted to see him try the ‘true love’s kiss’ at the end.

I had a few minor complaints about the film, the most obvious being that - as a well known fairy tale - it’s predictable.  My other complaints consist of spoilers and will be detailed below.

Ultimately I enjoyed this film.  The effects alone make it worth watching and there’s just enough action to maintain interest.

*** SPOILERS ***

The kiss that wakes Aurora would have had more effect if Frozen hadn’t used the exact same idea last year.  Similarly, it doesn’t make much sense that Aurora would become known as sleeping beauty (the way her epilogue states) when she’s only in the enchanted sleep for an hour or two.  I also didn’t think it was fair to the fairy folk that Maleficent makes up for her error by making Aurora queen of the fairies.  We’re told at the beginning of the film that the fairies have no ruler, and Maleficent’s time as their ruler has obviously had a negative effect on the land.  Sure, Aurora may be sweet and just, but there’s nothing to show that her descendants will have those qualities too - unless the fairies bless them that way (they way they did Aurora…).  

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