DIRECTOR: Robert Stromberg
May contains spoilers!
Beginning the Disney trend of remaking and re-imagining their classic animations into to live action blockbusters, Maleficent is Angelina Jolie’s take on classic villain.
But in a well conceived twist, the iconic villain, made more so by Disney in the 1955 animated classic, Sleeping Beauty, is fleshed out into a well rounded character, to create a much more complex and all together sympathetic protagonist.
In the end she is redeemed but this makes sense as in the beginning she was a good fairy turned evil by the betrayal of a man, and a brutal betrayal it was. The themes, particularly in this portion of the movie are quite dark for a family film, with, I felt, a strong subtext of female brutalisation in the lovers betrayal and mutilation of Maleficent, who has her wings cut off by the man who would be come Aurora’s, Sleeping Beauty’s, father.
Then we are given the iconic scene in which Aurora is cursed in the King’s court, perfectly capturing the tone of that Disney scene but by this point we have a greater understanding of Maleficent’s motivations, more than simply being the ‘evil queen’.
So, it may have a lot going for it but then we have the slow tone, interspersed with fast paced epic 3D action which I find gets old quickly and the casting Jolie, who unfortunately just does not do it for me. There is no doubting her acting prowess but I just can not get behind her, a problem I have with most of her films, no matter who good they may be.
But this is a good idea, probably a gem for Disney fans as this is an authentic live action re-enactment of that all time classic film, whilst offering quite a different take and one more fleshed out inherently more interesting.