Maleficent (2014)

maleficent_2014_poster
Maleficent (2014)
  • Time: 97 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Family
  • Director: Robert Stromberg
  • Cast: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning

Storyline:

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 a 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.

6 reviews

  • (Rating: 4 / 5) “Maleficent” is a film as beautiful as jarring. In general, these latest productions of Disney about fairytales are, precisely, productions. Products designed for the producer, a hyper-populated FX catalog. The strange thing here is that repeated the game of “Alice in Wonderland” to present a story that should be darker and unfortunately it is not. Fortunately, there are other departments to highlight, and forget relatively its inconsistency

    Maleficent is the secondary character of the movie (or tale) “Sleeping Beauty” the lady that wears black clothes and cursing the protagonist with a long sleep. A description like “the lady that wears black clothes” is not so bad, considering the Disney theatrical taste about villains in films, see the characterization of Lady Tremaine in “Cinderella”. Anyway, here someone thought it was okay to give Maleficent a guarantee of goodness, and certainly try to convince the public that a villain who has always been sinister is really a sweet and tender person, no longer a heresy, a lie. In case you do not really know what the word “lie”, do not worry here the movie with brazenly offers a succinct definition of the problem that surrounds it: is not like it was told to you. This production wants to tell us the same film but with a different point of view, as they did in “The Lion King 1 ½”. And while the approach is not original, at least it is still lovely, Maleficent is turning into a kind of Gru in “Despicable Me” This is: a person behind her apparent coldness, has a sensitive heart and is pure love

    All virtues of “Maleficent” are somewhat flawed, because the problem here is that Maleficent should honor a little to her name, and this occurs halfway. In no time Angelina Jolie shows a sinister or cold character, indicating a lack of charisma she usually; then just playing with her paper and slightly fun with her role, trying to give false appearance of coldness that are never credible. In “Despicable Me” graduation and changing the protagonist to goodness it was much stronger than here

    That’s why, the moments where Maleficent opens her heart are emotional but feel early , which removes subtlety and evidence the intentions of the film too quickly. The other problem is that the character must deal with her derivative side, not originally belong to a story with many action scenes, the action here feels contractual. The first half hour is irregular, with episodic events (Angelina learns something, and attacks… and that mechanism is repeated), and ends with some ridiculous as the fact that the protagonist performs her spell without anyone even try to stop her. It’s as if it was an unwritten rule of cinema where it says that at some point human resources are scarce and then a character can make all the ceremony without anyone interrupting

    As for the presence and performance is a mess. Angelina Jolie failure in trying to be sinister, and is weak in certain crucial moments (eg when transmitting pain in her confinement in a metal trap nets, which directly transmits nothing, and that is burning alive throughout the body); but complements very well at times to loosen her heart. The trio of fairies overact with some effectiveness, but on the contrary appear shortly. Elle Fanning is just a bland ornament both the performance and her limited presence, and Sharlto Colpley is nothing interesting in his role as a mad affected. Also the climax of the movie is very entertaining but it feels like a farce, with things fastly resolved

    In terms of aesthetics, it is a paradox to say that being the directorial debut of Robert Stromberg (set design on “Oz The Great And Powerful” and “Alice In Wonderland”) scenarios have a certain lack of originality, with platitudes as monsters puppies to give an example. Summarizing “Maleficent” no longer a fairy tale than Disney has developed in recent times, and there are good things and especially has a heart, which is as emotional as intermittently embarrassing

  • What a great re-telling of a classic fairytale. This one is from Maleficent’s point of view which creates a whole fresh new outlook from a story that’s been done to death in so many previous ways.

    I can’t say enough about how awesome Angelina Jolie was in the titular role. She walks the fine line perfectly between playing a character who’s viewed as the villain yet she plays her with a depth that rounds out to a vastly more sympathetic portrayal.

    Elle Fanning was perfectly cast as sweet Aurora who’s naivety is played with grace and honesty rather than as a bubble head who can’t think for herself. I also loved Sam Riley as Maleficent’s right hand “man” (or whatever he morphed into) because he too wasn’t a two-dimensional bad-guy dimwit.

    Sharlto Copley as King Stefan was brilliant casting as well because he pretty much became the part of the humble man who changed drastically as the film progressed. He’s one of those under-the-radar actors who has real talent to play any role, though he does shine in the darker ones for certain.

    There are some pretty cool twists in this version of Sleeping Beauty that I liked even more than the original telling and the special effects are fantastic. This is worth seeing in the theatres if you can.

  • When the news of the production for Maleficent came out I was really excited. She is one of the best villains in the Disney line up and I thought it was going to be great to see more of this character. As the trailers came out my enthusiasm for it dropped considerably. Changing the character from being a genuine black hat to a misunderstood “wicked” type of character disappointed me. I did not have high hopes for the film at all, and maybe that’s why I enjoyed it.

    The story follows the title character, Maleficent (the villain from the 1959 Sleeping Beauty), from early childhood. She is a fairy that lives in the Moors, a magical land where all types of creatures exist and live peacefully. She meets a human boy, Stefan, and they fast become friends and eventually fall in love. Stefan, who is desperate for power, betrays Maleficent, drugging her and cutting off her wings to give to the King as proof of her death, thereby securing Stefan’s place as his successor. Maleficent, betrayed and mutilated, vows to exact revenge on Stefan. This is all to show how and why Maleficent became the evil character that she is in the original story (and by original I’m referring Disney, not Brothers Grimm’s Little Briar Rose).

    I enjoyed the line they took where Maleficent was after revenge on Stefan rather than the ’jealous ex’ approach. Angelina Jolie is THE best thing in the film. She is the reincarnation of Maleficent. Jolie plays the villain to a tee of how we remember her from Sleeping Beauty. The CGI and effects are satisfactory and is a genuinely a respectable film. It has a slightly darker feel than most Disney films which I think they could of pushed a little bit more. I would recommend seeing this.

    However, as much as I did enjoy it, I did have some issues. The basic storyline is decent as a stand-alone film but when it’s defined as a “perspective” film based on another one, there are several main flaws that have to be acknowledged.

    First of all, the names of the fairies have been changed. Originally they were Flora, Fauna and Merryweather which were changed to Knotgrass, Thistlewit & Flittle. Why change these names when all the other characters have kept their names?

    Secondly, Aurora found out who she really is and about the curse herself and returns to the castle in Maleficent, instead of the fairies telling her and taking her back. This isn’t a huge twist on the story but still cannot be used as perspective of the other movie.

    And finally, the perspective form used in Maleficent worked well for the first half of the movie, but the modifications made in the second half totally changed the ending of the story as previously shown in Sleeping Beauty. How can it be a matter of perspective if it is a totally different ending? I found it to be just an opportunity to push Disney’s new feminine power campaign by having Maleficent’s true love’s kiss wake Aurora instead of Prince Phillip’s. This works fine in new films, such as Frozen, but there is no need to change the classics. This is what people loved about them, the magic and the romance of the first true love. Hopefully Disney won’t take other classics and change their endings. In an attempt to promote successful powerful women, and that women don’t need a knight in shining armour to save them, are Disney ruining romance for the next generation? Don’t get me wrong, I like how Disney are exploring other forms of love, e.g. family, and that they are trying to lose the stigma that is attached to their earlier works but I think there is still room to grow and explore the romantic ‘true love’s kiss’ story, not necessarily only male-female romance but of any and all kinds of romantic combinations.

    Most of the other changes to the story can be argued that the original storyteller of Sleeping Beauty was not aware of Maleficent’s involvement in Aurora’s upbringing and saving her as she stayed out of sight of the other characters. Or is the original story of Sleeping Beauty a complete cover up of the actual events, changed in a male dominated society, with a lack of concern about the surrounding environment and nature, and used as propaganda to show Stefan’s subjects that the man will always win the day against an insane fire-breathing woman? I guess we’ll never know.

    Flick or Pick? I’ll pick this one. Overall it’s enjoyable to watch and Jolie plays a captivating character. I’ll give it 7 out of 10.

  • A new twist on an old tale. After being left scorn a vengeful fairy is driven to place a curse on an infant princess, only to discover that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land. Based off the well known tale of Sleeping Beauty, however this is more about the fairy, Maleficent given the title of the film.

    if you know and are loyal to your Disney films, then you won’t be too impressed with Maleficent. It changes the story around a lot. Without spoiling anything, Maleficent isn’t shown to be the evil witch she originally is portrayed to be. We get her back story and reveals why she becomes a vengeful character.

    Maleficent lacks a deep story and tends to jump forward on the timeline only after a few scenes. It makes for a weak story and seems like it’s trying to get to the point as quick as possible. A film is usually two hours long and Maleficent only seems to be a mere hour and a half, they could have easily extended the story at the start, however it gets straight to the point. While it’s always good to be straight to the point, it also hinders the film when it seems too quick.

    The young Maleficent and young Stefan left a lot to be desired, however Angelina Jolie (Mr & Mrs Smith) pulled it out of the bag, she stands out over the whole cast and is most certainly the…To read the full review click here.

  • “Royalty…Nobility…Gentry. How quaint. Even the rabble.”

    With backlash from both critics and audiences over the malevolent villain from the 1959 animated classic, the argument remains that the once frightening Maleficent has been botched into an empathetic heroine to root for in the 2014 creation of Maleficent.

    Normally remakes are mere cookie cutter remakes repackaged as new product, but follow the same formula as their predecessor. It takes guts to remake such a cinematically historical figure, and notably one of the most purely evil Disney villains. The tale of a villain’s story and past is more unique than what has been unearthed on screen lately while maintaining the integrity of the original story with a 21st century twist.

    With that being said, Maleficent has it’s flaws as a film (hence my 3/5) rating, but I wouldn’t call it the complete bomb that critics are blasting it with.

    Maleficent is a dark fantasy CGI wonderland re-imagining of the 1959 Disney animated classic Sleeping Beauty. Carried entirely by its villainess Angelina Jolie, the film takes a twist on the classic by retelling the story from the antagonist’s point of view.

    If the over-saturated graphics in the film look familiar, it’s because you’ve seen them before. Making his directorial debut with this film, Robert Stromberg is an American special effects artist and designer most recognized for his Academy Award wins for Best Art Direction in James Cameron’s Avatar and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. The film also has another Academy Award winning veteran behind the scenes–screenwriter for Maleficent Linda Woolverton. Woolverton is an American screenwriter, playwright and novelist who became the first woman to write an animated feature for Disney by writing the screenplay of Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Her most recent works include the screenplay of Alice in Wonderland making Linda the first and only female screenplayer with a sole writing credit on a billion-dollar film.

    It’s apparent that Maleficent has a power-duo behind the scenes, but on-screen the powerhouse scene-stealer is Angelina Jolie. Without giving the plot away, I admit that I have absolutely no qualms with the plot twists nor the alleged “feminist politics” scattered throughout the film that critics are eyeballing and sneering at.
    How can you not expect an inch of pro-feminism when the narrator of the film, despite her historical profile as pure evil, is a woman? And since the narrator isn’t a man, it didn’t faze me that her persona was injected with feminine desires, love and pain. This “angle” isn’t something that distracted me, but kept me in tune with the character triumphantly played by Angelina Jolie who was the captivating force behind the entire movie. Although the supporting cast including Elle Fanning as Aurora had moments of notoriety … without Jolie, the film would have tanked. Every smirk, grimace or stare commanded attention from the viewer. Even her antagonizing shriek was reminiscent of the old Angelina from her performance in Girl Interrupted; she gave me chills.

    My only real complaint about the film was the over-abundance of CGI and digital animation for Maleficent’s minions. The fairyland of good and evil along with the human world vs. the fairy world immediately reminded me of Ridley Scott’s 1985 cult classic Legend.

    The difference between the two films, aside from the plot and technological age gap, was that Legend experimented in the realm of soundstages instead of location filming. Yes, the film is very aged, but the fact that the film was shot on the 007 Stage at Pinewood, on of the largest sound stages of it’s time, recreating a comparable fairyland, is much more appealing to the eye than a world of computer graphics. Not only that, but the film has similar gremlin-like creatures in groundbreaking costume designs that I felt Maleficent could have accomplished instead of CGI, cuddly characters. Did I also mention that Legend is also rated PG, and those goblins are far more terrifying and accurately represented in their exterior of evil?

    When creating Sleeping Beauty, Walt Disney said he wanted the film to be “moving illustration” meaning going beyond the usual painting and incorporating elaborate, illustrative details. If you pause the film at any frame, you can find a beautifully composed image. Sleeping Beauty was kind of the end of an era in Disney film-making because of the cost. This is a film that says animation is art, not digital. Maybe one day we’ll revert back to making film as art instead of a digital universe.

    When I persuade people to see Maleficent, I remind them to remain level-headed on the purpose of the film. Keep in mind the target audience; the amount of wickedness that can actually be created to maintain a PG setting while upholding one of the darkest Disney villains is no easy task. As much as we’d like the Mistress of all Evil to live up to her title, this is Disney and your target audience is a younger generation. You’re seeing this film solely for Angelina Jolie, and her performance is worth your time and ticket stub.

  • “Before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will fall into a sleep like death!”

    The very first feature film I’ve seen (as far as I can remember) was the original Walt Disney film “Snow White and the seven dwarfs” when I was about 6 years. It was in such a tiny village cinema in the pre-smartphone era. You could actually enjoy a movie without the feeling that you were in some kind of nightclub with all these luminescent screens. That movie made quite an impact on me. Maybe that’s where my love for the medium of film was created. Later in life, I read lots of books. Especially the fantasy genre appealed to me. A fantasy world as Terry Pratchett, Feist, Terry Goodkind and Tolkien (of course) described it. When reading a book about a mythological and magical world populated by dwarfs, giants, wizards and knights, I spent hours in this imaginary setting. The film industry also amused me with great movies like “Willow”, “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Chronicles of Narnia”. I’m a bit embarrassed to say this but I was thrilled to see the first Harry Potter movie. Sounds as if I’m a teenager. And nowadays, being a father, I enjoy watching “Frozen” and old Walt Disney classics with my two kids. To make it short: I still love a fairy tale once in a while!

    “Jack the Giant Slayer” and “Snow White and the Huntsman” already appealed to me. The first one because of the beautiful SE’s and the impressive giants. The second film because of the gang of funny dwarfs. Sad enough the expression on the face of Kristen Stewart was again of the same level as a typical pancake. That disappointed me a bit. And that’s the most successful part of “Maleficent”. The wide range of expressions that Angelina Jolie demonstrates herein. No discussion. She was perfect for the role. That soft and sweet look while relaxing and during loving moments. The menacing, unyielding gaze during a confrontation. The devastating evil glance at the time she felt betrayed and hurt. Both facial expressions as body language are used by Jolie in a fantastic way. Those glittering eyes, those sharp cheekbones,the dominance and that demonic laughter. I never thought I would say this about Angelina Jolie, but this was really a beautiful rendition.

    Everyone knows the story of “Sleeping Beauty”, so it’s a bit pointless to summarize it here. But if you assume that this is an ordinary film that doesn’t deviate from the original story, then you are mistaken. This time they looked at it from a different angle. And I must admit that you can call it a fairly successful result. First of all the build-up to the story of “Sleeping Beauty” was magnificent. Although it looked more like the intro of “Settlers”. It felt cartoonish. That feeling goes away the moment you enter the Moors. A magical land adjacent to the human civilization, where only peace and happiness prevails, and one does not know or understand the human traits of greed and envy. A magical landscape populated by all sorts of wondrous characters, including the small (but powerful) fairy Maleficent who lives in a huge tree. That she eventually becomes the evil and vengeful witch because of underhanded treachery, is a very creative brain twisted idea that the filmmakers have used here. And the denouement differs somewhat from the original fairy tale. But I must admit that I found it extremely fascinating and unique.

    About the parts being played I can be short and concise. There is only one masterful rendition in “Maleficent” and that’s the one Jolie takes care of. The whole movie revolves around this character and (I can not say it enough) she did it masterfully and professionally. An engaging and friendly character at the beginning, who’s determined to defend the Moors against the humans. And then transforming into a nasty, evil witch with a devilish smile. The most striking imaginative scenes were the battle at the Moors and the christening. Then you see her slowly transform into an understanding person with remorse. For once I felt sorry for the wicked person from a fairy tale and sympathised with her.

    The other members of the cast were reduces to meaningless roles that were necessary for the story because of this acting by Madame Jolie. Elle Fanning did well as Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) but was really annoying after a while with her innocent giggling all the time. Sharlto Copley was convincing as the power-hungry King Stefan. And the three fairies, who were given the task to guard Aurora until her 16th birthday, didn’t look great when they were still mini. But they took care of the humor side of the story. The only one who could make an impression next to A. Jolie, was Sam Riley as Diaval. But I guess the successful effects when he transformed into a horse or dragon again, had something to do with that.

    And then there is the second very important part of this film : the special effects. These were at times overwhelmingly great. The landscape of the Moors, the creatures living there, the battle against the humans with the living trees (immediately reminded me of “The Ents” from TLOTR), the dragon and the flying skills of Maleficent herself. Breathtaking and simply beautiful. With a budget of roughly $ 200 million it ought to be. And Stromberg as a director also guarantees that. He knows the craft of visual effects, looking at his impressive resume on IMDb.

    An entertaining movie with a masterful interpretation. Nothing negative to say then ? Oh yes, it’s sometimes so blandly and predictable. Immediately you feel where it’s going and how the denouement will be. It’s not very original and the surprising twist is actually obvious. But it’s a long time since I was immersed in a fairytale atmosphere like this and momentarily I forgot I had already passed that age where you still believed everything. I believed in it again during 97 wonderful minutes.

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