There's a whole lot of style and visual beauty to behold here but not a lot of story. In his directorial debut, Robert Stromberg does a marvellous job immersing you into the wonderful world of Maleficent but he's let down by an underdeveloped but mildly decent story: A revengeful Maleficent curses the King's daughter Aurora, but as Aurora grows so does Maleficent's heart towards her.
The origin story of how Maleficent lost her wings and turned into a dark fairy is interesting, but after the prologue the film is reduced down to shot after shot of characters interacting and exploring the lands, it's story filler but surprisingly, this filler is entertaining.
It's your typical live action Disney movie, that being the set designs and production values sparkle as you'd expect, and the special effects are stunning, most noticeably overhead shots of castles and when Maleficent unleashes her forest warriors and the dragon battle. In 3D it's even more jaw dropping, when our anti-hero takes flight the 3D is incredible, although it's a shame pop out effects were kept to a minimum. With all the splendour and style the thinly written story is overshadowed, and even more so by it's magnificent star.
Angelina Jolie is perfect, a spectacular performance that just goes to show why she is one of the best actresses of our time. Salt, Mr & Mrs Smith, Gia, The Tourist, Changeling, you name it and her performance is faultless, her different personalities and range she can convey truly set her roles apart. As Maleficent she is terrifying, sexy and at times heartfelt, her look is incredible too from her defined jaw bones, piercing eyes, horned crown to those pout lips, Jolie dominates the screen with authority. I loved her line delivery when she faces up to King Stefan, starting with a sinister hush of "Well well. . . ", and then a devilish smile. Her work here is phenomenal.
The direction, special effects, strong supporting cast and a spellbinding performance from Jolie are the highlights of this Disney picture, but if you want a compelling story and substance you'll be slightly disappointed. Let us hope that if a sequel is on the cards the narrative will be meatier.