FEATURING: Angelina Jolie, Ella Purnell, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Brandon Thwaites & Kenneth Cranham
DIRECTING VISION: Robert Stromberg
SCREENWRITER: Linda Woolverton
From the moment that the concept of Maleficent became public knowledge, folks have been discussing it religiously! Expectations were shot rocket to the moon high and this film found itself in a position where it had to be absolutely magnificent or fall short of the goal. With Linda Woolverton penning the script….who is the genius writer of Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland and The Lion King, the stakes were raised to the likelihood of finding life on Mars. Angelina Jolie as the lead actress? Little girls, grown women and men of all ages gained a heightened interest in the film comparable to the reaction of average folks receiving the opportunity to travel to space as their next vacation destination. Director Robert Stromberg faced impossible odds of impressing everyone with this daunting task!
Fast forward to the release date and my initial prediction proved to be right. Maleficent recieved lackluster critical reception due to not being nearly as extraordinary as the premise and trailers would have folks believing. I walked into my viewing of the film assuming that the popular critics went hard on this flick for this very reason! I left the theater understanding why it may be considered such a disappointment to many yet I still believe that the target demographic of casual young movie-goers will leave the film awe-struck and that tears will pour down the face of young children when the possibility of a character not waking up is present! I also believe that the vast majority of critics may have been overly harsh on a film that showcases an exceptional amount of imagination behind the settings and characters. The magical realm of “The Moors” is an incredible sight to behold! Crisp and marvelous CGI accompany astonishing character-design creating a world that is undeniably cool to look at! Where is the major flaw that transforms critics into wicked witches upon reviewing this film? What prevents Thy Critic Man from being the hero who fights for the honour of Maleficent and defends it against the masses?
To put it bluntly…Maleficent feels rushed. This is a live-action re-imagining of a infamous Disney villain who was originally an incredibly evil lady in 1959′s Sleeping Beauty. While the Maleficent in that version committed heinous acts without a justifiable excuse…2014′s interpretation tells an alternative tale. Maleficent (Jolie) still curses Princess Aurora (Fanning) but her reasoning makes sense and can even be considered forgivable. She is an anti-hero of sorts and the real evil is in the humans who continuously try to take over her land or attempt to stab her in the heart. Where does the rushing come into play? Maleficent drives major plot points forward through a narrater and has a short run-time of ninety-seven minutes. The problem with this method is that the crucial relationships never really build up naturally and give off an impression of being skimmed over. Sometimes…they feel manipulative in attempting to make us care! The tragic twist that corrupts Maleficent? Maleficent and Princess Aurora becoming friends? Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip falling in love (Thwaites)? Major relationship twists and turns could have resulted in a powerful and provoking outcome if the script gave them more time to build. I do not want to make matters worse by stating that a few aggravating plot-holes are present so I will leave issues at that and hope that they go unnoticed! My plan is not to add insult to injury!
Maleficent may have suffered a broken leg in the form of plot development but the body remains healthy elsewhere. It does not deserve to be ridiculed or hold a place on the list of 2014′s worst films. I would go as far as saying that it surpasses mediocre despite some of the negative reception saying otherwise. It is a visually stunning film showcasing an exhilarating performance by one of the greatest actresses working today! Sam Riley puts his name on the map with a terrific outing as her trusty sidekick Diaval. Sharlto Copley and Elle Fanning do a commendable job of attempting to work with what little is given to them. Mystical creatures, fairies, and several nods to the 1959 classic can be cherished by viewers who wish to have an enjoyable night out at the movies. Wait…remove the fairies part! This trio is incredibly annoying! I am serious! They make Beavis and Butthead look like genius rocket scientists with a superior mind…and sense of humour. Look forward to Diaval instead who has the kick-ass ability to turn into any animal or creature that Maleficent wishes for!
At the end of the showing, Maleficent is not going to WOW the majority of theater-goers. This flick will not be in contention for “BEST OF THE YEAR” awards or leave its mark in history as one of the finest that Disney has to offer. However, it remains a film that has the ability to entertain, dazzle, and excite viewers looking for a fun night out at the movies. The chances are that the majority of audiences will leave the theater satisfied! As for the critics who bash this film mercilessly….it has to be better than being put in an eternal sleep, right? Right? I’d personally say so!
Superpower Film Scale: 3/5
1: Villainous Waste
2: Careless Bystander
3: Hero unaware of powers
4: On the verge of greatness
5: Heroic film
Standout acting heroes: Angelina Jolie
Photo credit: Wikipedia, Rotten Tomatoes & IMDB
Original Article: thycriticman.com