Angelina Jolie as Maleficent
Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora
Sharlto Copley as King Stefan
Sam Riley as Diaval
Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip
Imelda Staunton as Knotgrass
Juno Temple as Thistlewit
Lesley Manville as Flittle
In theaters May 30
5 out of 5
You know the story. At her christening, princess Aurora is cursed by the evil faerie Maleficent so that before the sun sets on her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. A good fairy then amends the curse to put her into a deep sleep to which she will only awaken from by true love’s kiss.
You didn’t know anything about Maleficent except that she was evil and pissed off about not being invited to the christening.
Every story has two sides. This film gives you the tale of Sleeping Beauty from Maleficent’s point of view. We see the beginnings of Maleficent, her origin. And we find out that she may not have been as bad as we have all thought. When Maleficent was a girl, she was a caretaker and guardian for her world, the realm of fairies that co-existed along side humans. This was much to the unrest of the king who wanted to wipe out all mystical creatures and claim the land for himself. Maleficent also befriended a human boy who became a close companion, but as he grew, his ambition took him back to his world and away from her. In later years their friendship took an unfortunate turn that left Maleficent devastated, violated and very justifiably bitter. She watches and waits for her moment to exact her revenge which she unfurls with evil eleganza at the christening of little Aurora. The king enacts a plan to keep his little daughter safely hidden away until after her 16th birthday, but ultimately Maleficent sees through it. Still holding on to the pain and bitterness of the past she begins to question herself and her actions. As the years up to Auroras fateful birthday roll on, Maleficent realizes that she has to change what she has set in motion, but can it be done? Is it too late to change her fate and Aurora’s?
Angelina Jolie is serving you evil faerie realness! With her clipped British accent and prosthetic cheekbones that look so sharp they could cut you if you slapped her, Jolie exudes darkness, a regal bearing, and commands your attention every moment she is on the screen. So deliciously evil and glorious to see as she wields her power. She RULES! Angelina is joined in the cast by Elle Fanning (Dakota’s little sister) as Princess Aurora. Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter/Phoenix), Lesley Manville (Another Year), and Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises) play the three faeries who are charged with Aurora’s care for the first 16 years of her life. These ladies are totally delightful as Aurora’s ditzy caretakers. Sam Riley (Brighton Rock) is Diaval, Maleficent’s shape shifting companion and Sharlto Copley (District 9) as King Stefan, who was once a peasant boy that was Maleficent’s friend, now turned bitter enemy.
Beautiful visuals, but I feel they didn’t go as far as they could have with the 3D. This is a world with all kinds of exotic fantasy creatures and breathtaking landscapes. I think the 3D should have been more deeply indulged here—like gangbusters Lord Of The Rings style. There is huge, huge eye candy here (not to mention a dragon) and I think every stop should have been pulled out.
Disney is the master of self-exploitation and Maleficent is an interesting way to re-invent one of the legendary pieces of their catalog. I think Maleficent is a nice piece of faerie tale fantasy. You might want to go see this one now on the big screen. Don’t wait for Netflix. I leave you with the official Disney twitter hashtag: #Eviliscomplicated
P.S. A great film for you OUATers (and you know who you are).
Check out the trailer for “MALEFICENT” below: