Maleficent marks an age in Disney as they embark on making an iconic villain in their famous fairytales as a heroine. It would be probably seen as unbelievable if such a notion of making a villain somehow a protagonist in a movie-for-children many, many years before. But the powers-at-be in the gigantic mouse company might have wanted to push boundaries with this notion, and it’s a good thing to say that they have succeeded. Malefice
nt is a beautiful reimagining of the fairytale about the popular sleeping princess and the avenging fairy who cast upon her the sleeping curse.
Angelina Jolie is Maleficent, the supposedly evil fairy who cursed Aurora, a princess in a faraway kingdom, to sleep on her 16th birthday until only a true love’s kiss would wake her. Maleficent wouldn’t be as good as it is without Jolie, who’s able to embody a character that’s been embittered into deep hatred yet still yearning for redemption. The seemingly evil character’s story was told very well, making the audiences understand more her actions and her reasons for doing them.
Thankfully, the supporting cast is able to carry on and channel Jolie’s outstanding acting. Elle Fanning (Dakota Fanning’s younger sister) is good as the beautiful, graceful and curious Aurora. Sharlto Copley (better known as the protagonist in District 9) delivered well as Maleficent’s friend who turned into a power-lusting king and Aurora’s father. Sam Riley is funny and entertaning as Maleficent’s raven shapeshifter sidekick Diaval. Imelda Staunton (known as Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter is Knotgrass in this movie), Juno Temple (as Thistlewit) and Lesley Manville (a frequent collaborator of director Mike Leigh is Flittle here) are fun to watch as the three bickering fairy godmothers who are tasked to take care of Aurora until her 16th birthday.
I had reservations before watching the movie. The critics didn’t like it, some people I know did and yet still a few really did not. But after removing all doubts and just letting myself drown into the movie, I was smitten by it. I am pretty sure it’s not only me; the children in the audience were smitten as well. They liked what they saw as I even heard them shouting, jeering or laughing at some moments in the film. Maleficent has that fairytale feel that Disney movies can only give. It seemed like the time stopped and only the moving pictures in front seemed to matter. The impressive visuals and beautiful cinematography made Maleficent really enchanting and captivating. And have you listened well to the poignant musical score? It is very much effective in carrying out the mood of the scenes that the audience is sure to have ridden well along.
The slow pace at the start and the bits and pieces of sloppy writing prevented this movie from being an exceptional one. A reimagining of a classic story is such a hard task to do, and people who essentially know the story might not that be easily impressed. But still, just with Angelina’s brilliant performance and the appealing visuals, Maleficent is a good film to watch.
Maleficent’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 4 out of 5