The hype around Maleficent prior to its release has been massive, with the added excitement of having Angelina on board. So of course the question everyone is asking – is it actually any good?
Maleficent is the untold story of Disney’s iconic villain from their classic “Sleeping Beauty” fairytale. In this live action adaptation, we are given the back-story of Maleficent that explains the reasons behind her condemning a girl to fall asleep forever upon her 16th birthday.
A once beautiful and peaceful young fairy, Maleficent grows up to be a powerful protector of the forest land and all of its occupants. As she becomes more powerful, she suffers a brutal betrayal. Blinded by hurt she sets out for revenge and places a curse upon the king’s newborn daughter, Aurora.
The first couple of minutes of the film start off with idyllic scenes alongside a young Maleficent and the magical forest creatures. It almost gives off a “straight to DVD” animation feel, which was a bit of worry considering the budget of the film. However, that doesn’t last long and the capabilities of modern CGI really kick in and deliver a visually splendid and beautiful film. Even during battle scenes, the effects, make up and over the top costumes are stunning, which couldn’t have been an easy task as it could have crossed the line into campy or tacky very quickly.
As expected, there is tension between certain characters; the magnitude of it plays out in some scenarios that could have been plucked from Game of Thrones. They are balanced out by some of the slower pace cat-and-mouse game scenes and comedic lines. Maleficent behaviour towards a young Aurora will no doubt get laughs from audience members, as well as her interaction with her crow.
A shape- shifting bird called Diaval (played by Sam Riley), is bit of a lovable and memorable character. His relationship with Maleficent really plays into the idea that she is not really evil. It also happens to be one of the highlights of the film.
As far as acting goes, Angelina Jolie is superb. She encompasses everything that one might imagine Maleficent to be, if she were real. She manages to do what many of the other characters fail to do; she draws you in with her emotional and convincing performance. Most viewers won’t be seeing her as pure evil, but more complex and relatable. Admittedly she had more to work with then the rest of the cast.
Same can’t really be said for the Aurora character. While Elle Fanning is possibly the best pick to play the beautiful and perpetually smiling bubbly princess, her character was not given as much of a modern make-over as Maleficent. She does well with what little she is given.
While Maleficent lacks in some parts, it largely delivers the “Disney magic” most people were expecting. It may not be the kind of magic some wanted, due to its focus on the darker back story, but that shouldn’t ruin anyone’s enjoyment of this film. I rate it 7 out of 10 stars.
Maleficent is out in cinemas today.