Weekend Roundup & Review of Disney’s Maleficent

Hi everyone! Hope you had a lovely weekend. Well it’s sort of the calm before the storm as Twin Citians are bracing for the first snow storm of the year. We’re supposed to get anywhere between 6-12 inches, ugh! I ran a bunch of errands today just so I don’t have to go anywhere besides to and from work, though even THAT is gonna be quite an adventure tomorrow.

In any case, well it’s been quite a busy week for me movie-watching wise. Like many of you, I saw Interstellar on Saturday night in the AMC IMAX theatre. I’m still trying to process it, but I’m gonna try to review it this week, along with Big Hero 6. Y’know what, this time I’m agreeing w/ the critics in placing the Disney animated feature ahead of Christopher Nolan’s big space drama (91% for Big Hero Six vs 73% for Interstellar)

Friday night, my hubby and I opted for a fairy-tale reimagining that we’ve been wanting to see for some time. Boy it took forever for this movie to be available on iTunes, who knows why Disney delayed the rental release for SO long as the movie was released back in May. So here’s my review:

MaleficentPoster

As a huge fan of Sleeping Beauty, which is my favorite Disney fairy tale, I’m curious to see the backstory of Maleficent, which is also one of my fave Disney villains. The twist of the story itself is a hit and miss. I thought that the unlikely relationship between Maleficent and Aurora is interesting and also kind of hilarious. I mean before Maleficent curses Aurora to die on her 16th birthday upon pricking her finger on a spinning wheel, she also confirms one of the three good fairies’ blessing that she will grow in grace and beauty and that she’ll be loved by ALL who meets her. Well I guess that includes Maleficent herself as she can’t help to also grow to love Aurora in the end. Therein lies the issue I have w/ the plot – Maleficent isn’t so much an evil sorceress we expect from the animated version, as she never really did anything evil at all despite her vengeful quest. She’s portrayed more like a victim of the ambitious Stefan who betrays her to become King and he’s definitely the malevolent one in the story.

Jolie_Maleficent

That said, there are quite a few enjoyable moments to be had and Angelina Jolie is mesmerizing as Maleficent. I really can’t imagine anyone else in the role and she handles the dramatic as well as the mischievous moments brilliantly. The scene when she discovers her wings are cut off is quite heart-wrenching, but she also seems to be having fun with the more whimsical moments in the movie. The rest of the casting doesn’t fare as well, I’m so baffled why Sam Riley agrees to do the role of Diaval, Maleficent’s shape-shifting crow as it’s such a thankless role. I really thought there’ll be more to that character later on, but it never happened. Seems that all the guys in this movie are either evil or pointless, including Prince Philip, Aurora’s supposed suitor. Sharlto Copley’s plays Stefan with a sheer madness about him, consumed by paranoia and contempt against Maleficent that he seemingly forgot about his own family. I wasn’t crazy w/ Elle Fanning as Aurora, as she’s more cute than beautiful, but I guess they’re going for more an innocent girl so I warm up to her as the movie progresses. Given this is Maleficent’s story, all three gifted actresses (Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville and Juno Temple) weren’t given much to do here.

The visuals are basically a CGI extravaganza, which is not surprising given first-time director Robert Stromberg worked extensively in the visual effects department most of his career. The flying sequences are great to look at and there are some beautiful scenery and set pieces. That said, I’m still partial to the animated version from 1959 with its hand-drawn illustrations. Even by today’s standards, I’m still in awe how lush and beautiful it is. I like that the movie pays homage to the original in some ways though. Per IMDb, Jolie apparently insisted that the dialogue in Aurora’s christening sequence has to be written word-by-word and based exactly from the original animated film because she feels that it was the main core and setup of the entire film.

Maleficent_Stills

So overall I think this is a decent film if you’re willing to accept the reimagining of the fairy tale classic for what it is. The ending is kind of predictable and the ‘true love’ aspect seems to be borrowing from Frozen from a year before. But if you want to see this for Jolie’s performance as Maleficent, she certainly doesn’t disappoint.

3halfReels


Have you seen Maleficent, well what did you think?

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29 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup & Review of Disney’s Maleficent

  1. Ted S.

    I’m dreading the snow storm, can’t believe it’s coming so early, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet! Oh well, the downside of living in MN.

    I don’t think I’ll be seeing Maleficent anytime soon, just doesn’t look interesting to me. Same with other reimagining fairly tales such as Alice in Wonderland and Oz.

    I went and saw Interstellar at the 70mm theater earlier today, it’s no contest 70mm IMAX was a much better viewing experience. Still love the film though. 🙂

    1. Hi Ted, yeah I’m dreading it too. Well hopefully we’d get less snowfall total than what’s predicted.

      Nah, I doubt you’d enjoy Maleficent. Btw, are you still gonna give me a comparison Interstellar review of the two formats?

  2. Like you I also saw Interstellar, but also Nightcrawler. Enjoyed both of them. As for Magnificent, I liked how they twisted the story, although I must admit that I already forgotten most of the film…

    1. Hi Nostra! I’m very curious about Nightcrawler, but given how busy I am lately I probably will end up renting it. Ahah, yeah I’ve started to forget a lot of the movies I saw too!

  3. Really great review, Ruth! Can’t say the trailers really did much to interest me all that much, but my sisters been wanting to see it so maybe I’ll check it out with her. Angelina Jolie definitely seems to have a lot of fun with the role.

    1. Hi Billy! I’m a huge fan of Disney fairy tales so naturally I’m intrigued by this one. They changed the story significantly though, but thankfully there’s still enough here to enjoy.

  4. Nice review, Ruth. Yeah, definitely got that Frozen vibe as well. Wonder if that was just coincidence or what, ’cause it did feel like “Um, didn’t Frozen JUST do that?” while I was watching it. 😛

    1. Yep exactly! The timing was so close too, less than a year apart and both are a fairy tale reimagining of sort. So I guess they’re not THAT creative after all in terms of plot.

    1. Hi Fernando! Well so far my commute has been going ok, thank God 😀

      I think if it weren’t for Jolie, I might not have enjoyed this film as much. It’s really perfect casting to have her as Maleficent.

  5. I thought that was another shameless cash grab by Disney but Jolie was really good, on the other side of the spectrum Copley has been burying his career and burning bridges for several movies now, such horrible performances, there are almost no words.

    1. Yeah it probably was, though Jolie’s also the co-producer of this film. I actually find the twist of having the story from the villain’s POV intriguing, but they pretty much changed the essence of Maleficent’s character. Yeah too bad about Copley, I haven’t been impressed by anything he’s done since D-9 😦

  6. Hi Ruth. I’m interested to see what you have to say about Interstellar. There were some things that I loved: the cinematography and score especially. But there were also aspects that disappointed me. I’m still processing it myself but hope to get a review up soon.

    1. Hi Natalie! Hey I think we’d likely have the same thoughts about Interstellar then. I appreciate some things about it, but overall I’m not as wowed by it and I can’t really say I LOVE this film.

  7. I still need to see Big Hero 6, but it’s interesting that you prefer it to Interstellar. I didn’t really care for Maleficent, but I agree that Jolie is great in it.

    1. I’m surprised too, but there have been some truly excellent animated features and sometimes they tug your heartstrings more than live action films. I just posted my long thoughts on Interstellar, it’s not perfect but it’s still a good film!

  8. Oww, I’m sorry Ruth but I’m gonna have to disagree. This was so terrible – huge disappointment! Sharlto Copley was awful wasn’t he? What a terrible performance. The only saving grace was Jolie (and I enjoyed her chemistry with Fanning too), but the whole thing sucked as a whole.

    Such a shame, I adored the ‘once upon a dream’ trailer.

    1. Hi Jack! Oh we don’t disagree too much, I’m not too fond of it either, if it weren’t for Jolie I’d probably knock a point off my rating. Oh yeah the ‘Once Upon a Dream’ trailer is fantastic, the film sadly didn’t live up to that.

  9. Ya know, I was kind of wondering how this movie was, and it seems your review has summed up the common consensus: it’s just an average, OK movie, but Angelina Jolie gives a great performance. I don’t think anyone else could have played the role. Perhaps next time I’m in need of seeing a movie, I’ll check this one out! Nice review, Ruth! 🙂

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