Editor’s Notes: Maleficent is now open in wide release.
Maleficent, directed by Robert Stromberg is a Disney live action film released this year. Linda Woolverton, of The Lion King fame, has written the screenplay. This film is latest from Stromberg, who has been a part of gems like Avatar and Alice in Wonderland.
Angelina Jolie is the one and only saving grace for the film. From her poise to her costumes to her gait and her glare, everything is deadly.
Young Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) a faerie born and brought up in a magical forest called Moors, complete with movable trees, pixies and dwarfs. She falls in love with a human, Stephan (Sharlto Copley). Stephan, however, having greater ambitions, very conveniently (and in a very human-like fashion) forgets about her soon after their true love’s kiss, to serve his King. Maleficent is distraught but being the most powerful faerie that there is, she is entrusted the task of being the protector of the Moors. Soon, the human king sends his army to invade the untouchable moors, to only be vanquished by Maleficent. On his death bed, he announces that whoever manages to kill Maleficent shall wed his daughter and be the next king. Stephan seizes this chance, having known that iron burns faeries, and goes into the Moors again after all these years to meet her. Maleficent fails to see his real intentions and believes he has indeed returned to her. Stephan drugs her but isn’t able to kill her. So he only tears away her wings and shows it to the king to trick him into believing that she is dead. Stephan is the new King and Maleficent, now wingless and seething in revenge and hatred, begins to utilize her powers to lock away the moors forever from the world of humans, waiting for a chance get back at King Stephan. Hereafter she hears about a princess being born, Stephan’s daughter, Aurora (Elle Fanning). Maleficent curses the baby, but is unable to stay away from its beauty. Will the curse take effect and render the princess in a comatose state or will a suitable lover be found to break the spell? Will maleficent rot forever in anguish or will she once again become the sweet-hearted faerie from her childhood days? Watch it to know.
Magnificent Maleficent. Angelina Jolie is the one and only saving grace for the film. From her poise to her costumes to her gait and her glare, everything is deadly. Even her voice is perfection. However, the story in itself is in shambles. There are so many things unclear, like why couldn’t maleficent grow back her wings, having being able to convert a crow into a man into a crow-dog into a crow-horse (not kidding, the creature seemed like a hybrid mutant of some sorts), Or why didn’t Stephan not keep aurora with her till she was sixteen - since the pixies she was entrusted to (because they had magical powers) turned themselves into human to disguise themselves? (plus if she was going to sleep anyway, wouldn’t any father want to keep her close till she was alive and well?), and how could the pixies not know that aurora was spending all her time dilly-dallying in the moors with Maleficent? It was a chore trying to decipher some logic behind it all.
There many flaws in this film, which are hard to ignore in spite of Angelina’s over powering presence. In this day and age, harry potter-ish fairy tale background sets to enamour the audience is just not going to work – having so much budget and I must add having a Star like Jolie should have prompted some more original thinking. The whole set-up and even the costumes looked fake and did little visually. However anything concerning Angelina and her character was conceptualized well – her costumes, make-over, head gear, and her throne worked nicely. Angelina dominated the screen and was quite a sight for sore eyes. The story is laughable, especially since this comes out immediately after frozen and sort of has a very similar theme – curse – act of true love/kiss needed to break it – a totally unconventional person who is not a male/prince is the one to break it. Disney, trying too hard to make your stories unpredictable, eh?
The film is refreshing; in a way that it captures the backstory of the villain. Though there are times when the movie doesn’t really stimulate you in anyway, you wait with baited breathe only to hear Angelina speak and glare.
The film is refreshing; in a way that it captures the backstory of the villain. Though there are times when the movie doesn’t really stimulate you in anyway, you wait with baited breathe only to hear Angelina speak and glare. The rest of the characters are as worthless as a laptop without an internet connection. Aurora looks as spineless as she can be and her prince might as well be a piece of furniture in the Whitehouse. Anybody will be able to see through the acting (except Angelina’s of course), and some unaware souls might mistaken it for a low budget non-Disney film (Yes, this has happened). The cinematography is confusing and really not thought over. There are times when there is too much smoke and special effects lighting which really hamper the feel of that sequence, for example when Maleficent is riding her crow-horse to reach the castle. The timing too of certain shots is messy. Maleficent’s entry could have been so dramatic and intense, but was wasted. Even at the end when she flies through the clouds – a beautiful scene – it was cut short god knows why. There are certain moments in the film which could have done with so much finesse and precision – it left so much to be desired. This film is like parts shot in a haggard way – indeed it seems like it was shot and edited in a hurry – and relied heavily on the special effects to pull it through.
So Disney has attempted another Pirates of the Caribbean with Maleficent – with Angelina Jolie as its Jack Sparrow. Except the pirates franchise was, simply put, made a little more seriously. Though this film has managed to surpass the night-time grosses of its past live action Disney films, it has been a massive disappointment, ladies and gentlemen. What a waste of Jolie. This film could have been so much more, but it left a sad deep hole in heart, knowing that Angelina – not only agreed to do this film, she also co-produced it. The film does its job though – making you root for the villain, and really sympathize with a negative character. Though Angelina is a misfit here, with all the heavy Disney-fied distractions – she did a brilliant job in not getting lost in it and engaging the audience. Angelina’s flawless acting has saved this film from being forgettable to mildly entertaining.
Not worth it unless you are a kid, you limit your cognitive capabilities while watching a film, or you are a Jolie fan. Even for Disney fans, this one’s avoidable.