Last year when I saw that this film would be coming out I was hesitant. My first thought was, how could they take a timeless tale and retell it in live-action without marring its memory, and its place in animated history? Plus, Angelina Jolie was cast to play Maleficent, Maleficent, my favorite Disney Villain of all time, she wasn’t scary enough to play a villain!
How dare they!
Then the first teaser trailer was released, then the images, and I instantly fell in love….. in love with the movie itself, and Angelina as Maleficent. She was perfect! Her angular face and piercing eyes captured all of that the Mistress of all Evil should be, but only beautiful, not the animated green to make her look intimidating, she was mesmerizing.
As I walked into the theater last week for a screening with 24 other bloggers all eager to see it too, I felt an excitement that couldn’t be contained. It was finally time to see this movie, the movie that had won me over with all of the video and stills. Maleficent is my girl and now it was time to see her in all her glory.
Maleficent Movie Review
“Maleficent,” the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty,” reveals the events that hardened Maleficent’s heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora, only to later realize that the child may hold the key to peace in the land.
The movie opens with a fairy tale like voice over and imagery of an enchanted forest, a small child fairy with wings and pointy ears sits in a tree overlooking the Moors, her home and a magical place where fairies and mythical creatures live happily together. That is until the humans come and threaten to take it away. The young fairy is Maleficent, played by Isobelle Molloy, who is simply perfection in this role.
Robert Stromberg captures this fairyland perfectly, though a little dark, he made the creatures and critters cute, and a bit quirky to lighten it up.
One day, she meets Stefan, played by Michael Higgins, a human boy who she connects with, on a more “human” level. As time goes on, they fall in love, but he falls under the spell of wanting his own power as successor to the King. It is this lust for power that leads him to do the unthinkable, he steals her powerful wings. This is the very moment she turns dark, the pain in her face as she realizes her wings are gone will definitely hit you in the heart. You feel her pain and at that moment, you want her to exact revenge on him.
Throughout her quest to get revenge there are many, many close-ups and for me, I was mesmerized, she is simply stunning, from the contacts, to the horns, to the bright red lips, she is definitely the focal point of this movie. She plays both sweet and evil effortlessly.
One of my favorite characters was Diaval, played by Sam Riley, who is basically her sidekick. She changes him from bird to man, to many a creature and the relationship they cultivate becomes a strong friendship. He becomes her moral compass if you will, so it was a great character to get to know and to see develop.
The rest of the movie is centered around her revenge on the now King Stefan and his newborn daughter Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) played wonderfully by Elle Fanning. Three bumbling fairies played by Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, and Imelda Staunton, become Aurora’s guardian to keep her safe until her sixteenth birthday when the curse would commence. I enjoyed the scenes with the Fairies very much in that it provided some comic relief to the dark story line.
Elle is Sleeping Beauty, from the mannerisms, to the look, to the naivety she brought to every scene she was in. I think she was perfectly cast for this role.
There wasn’t a singing segment in this story, which I think was the right choice of Robert Stromberg to make, it simply isn’t a light movie and wouldn’t have fit in, besides, it truly is Maleficent’s story.
The film held true to the classic with Prince Charming making a visit, as well as the iconic spinning wheel scene, but the over all story didn’t end as the classic did, there is a definite twist that I will leave for you to discover.
Overall I think the film was a wonderful representation of Maleficent and how she became evil. You never really get the back-story of the villain, so it was great to why she is so cold and vengeful. What I really liked about this tale, besides learning more about Maleficent, was how much sympathy and empathy you ended up having for her after seeing her story. That is some feat for someone who curses a baby, to feel anything for her is an ode to the writers, director and Angelina herself.
There were a few scenes, specifically the fight scene, that may be a bit intense for little ones, but I think it’s more of the change in sound and the quick 3d movements that will scare more than the content. I think children 7 and up are suited for the film but you know your child and what they can handle.
Please take the family, this is a beautifully told story, both visually and emotionally.
Oh, make sure you stay for the credits to hear Lana Del Ray haunting rendition of “Once Upon a Dream.” It still gives me chills every time I hear it!
Check out my exclusive interviews with the cast and the director
Angelina Jolie – Maleficent
Elle Fanning – Aurora
Sharlto Copley – King Stefan
Robert Stromberg – Director
Sam Riley – Diaval – COMING 6/2
MALEFICENT will be in theaters 5/30/14!
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Disclosure: I was provided with an all expense paid trip by Disney. This is accordance with Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of. Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.