Angelina Jolie owns this role of one of the most iconic Disney villains in the Disney Animations Classics line. But does that mean the movie is still worth seeing?
Last year, Disney started to trend towards realistic re-imaginings of their most popular animated classics in the Disney Animation Classics line. Some of the greatest Disney animated movies come from this series, including The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, and of course The Lion King. When it comes to a film in this series being a guaranteed hit, it will most likely be anything that can be branded as a “Disney Princess” movie. One such movie is Sleeping Beauty, and it became the next realistic adaptation to hit the silver screen. There was one catch, however: it would be told through the eyes of the Disney movie’s villain, Maleficent.
It makes sense why Disney would want Maleficent to be the first Disney villain to be brought to life. Depending on which top ten list of Disney Villains people read, she will be in the top three always, pining for the spot of #1 between Scar of The Lion King and Cruella De Vil of 101 Dalmatians. But did Disney do a good job in bringing the tale of Sleeping Beauty through the eyes of Malificent to life?
The story centers around the origins of Maleficent, when she was a young fairy with a kind heart and a good soul. She was the protector of a kingdom that is centered on fantastical creatures in an idyllic forest. The human kingdom, one of greed and envy, are neighbors to the forest. The young Maleficent then meets a boy from the human kingdom and as time goes by, they become friends, than eventually lovers. However, adulthood separates them as the boy, now a man, pursues human world things due to his greed and envy, while Maleficent remains the forest’s protector. It is when the current king rises up against the forest does the story start to unfold more. Defeated in battle against Maleficent and the defending citizens of the forest, the king promises the rule of the kingdom after his death to the person who avenges his defeat. That person ends up being the man, who at one time was in love with Maleficent.
Unfortunately, I cannot tell anymore of the story for it would spoil the plot, but from the above point on, it follows parallel to the Disney story most of us are familiar with. I must say that Angelina Jolie was born to play this role; she is very believable as the character to the point you believe Angelina Jolie is Maleficent, instead of just playing Maleficent. The supporting cast do a great job in their respective roles including Sharlto Copley who plays Stefan (who becomes the King and Aurora’s father), Sam Riley as Diaval (Maleficent’s crow), and Elle Fanning as the role of Aurora, a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty. The cast also do a great job not overpowering the main character, which can happen at times. All in all, the acting is really good.
Another positive for Maleficent are the production settings. All the CGI used in the movie is beautiful, but also purposeful. There isn’t CGI, or a scene, incorporated just for the sake of a movie having either. Everything fits well and, I should say, the fantastical creatures look real.
Where Maleficent falls is in its direction. The casting was good, the actors delivered, and the settings – with CGI – were spot-on. Unfortunately, the story felt slow in the beginning and rushed in the end. The lack of consistency hinders the movie a lot to the point that at times, it seems either boring or unfitting. This may also be a flaw of the final cut. There have been many movies that were not good in the final cut, but once released in its uncut version (sometimes known as the director’s cut), everything fit well. I am hoping this is the case with Maleficent.
In the end, is the movie worth watching? I will put it this way: If you enjoy Disney in general, or Disney’s style of storytelling, then this is a good movie to watch. If you are expecting something that will surpass the average expectation of the original animated film, you might be disappointed. Still, I can’t complain on anything beyond that.
The Inquisitr Rating: 7 out of 10
[Image via Maleficent Promotion]