Maleficent (2014)

Dark, magical, beautiful. Angelina Jolie was perfectly cast as the title character in this new interpretation of the classic Disney fairy-tale, and while some of the effects were a little dodgy (but not most of them), the story did bring about some noteworthy character traits and interpretations. Recommended? This movie is better than it looks, but don’t expect too much here.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

The movie follows in line with two recent trends: strong and independent female leads and humanizing villains that are otherwise considered despicable. The story puts an alternative spin on the classic story of Sleeping Beauty that holds up in consistency with the original Disney film until the ending. The character of Maleficent had a strong build up and journey throughout the whole film that a darker ending may have added to her character more than the Frozen-esque one that was chosen.

Going into this movie, anyone could guess that Angelina Jolie would be perfect in the lead role and she definitely did not disappoint. Her dark elegance and vengeful but thoughtful approach brought out both the best and worst in Maleficent’s character. Also impressive in the film is Elle Fanning as Aurora. When you factor in that Aurora is given the gifts of beauty and happiness at birth, Fanning plays the young woman with elegance and brings out those qualities with ease. It is, however, a lot like her real life personality, so it is safe to say that she was the perfect actress for the role.

The artistic direction and visual effects were a little scattered in terms of quality. Some of the special effects were really well done and truly brought Maleficent’s world to life. One such example is the constant changes in animal form of one of the characters. The artistic direction, however, left more to be desired. A lot of scenery just looked very fake. It was almost as if the production design was rushed and thrown onto a green screen. It was not particularly bad by any standards, but if Disney had put as much work into this as Pixar or their animation studios do, the end result may have been a little more impressive.

There are a few reasons why someone might be interested in watching this movie, whether it be childhood nostalgia or simply childhood. Maleficent is not a bad movie, but that’s not to say that there are a few alterations which could have made it better. But what couldn’t be made better in hindsight? As it is, Maleficent is an engaging and beautiful movie to watch with real emotions and lessons to be learned.

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2 comments

  1. Personally, I loved this movie, It gave a very entertaining twist of a different perspective of the story we all know. I don’t get why it’s been getting so much bad rep from the media. I particularly loved the visual effects of the movie, they were simply stunning! But I couldn’t agree more that the ending had a much more “frozen-esque” twist at the end, is this where Disney is heading for all of it’s movies? Hmm I wonder…

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    1. Thank you for your response! I’m glad that you enjoyed the movie, I know that I did far more than I expected I would. As far as the media goes, who knows why mainstream viewers think what they think? Most people I spoke with shared similarly positive opinions of it. There were many things that were quite well thought-out in the making of this film. As far as the effects went, while very stunning, many of them still seemed very constructed, while a story surrounding a character so connected with nature may have benefited from visuals that looked more realistic. While Disney may have gotten away with such a convention in films like Alice in Wonderland or Oz: The Great and Powerful, it wasn’t quite as successful here.

      What I found most satisfying about the ending was how the movie, in its prologue, commits to setting right the course of history, but leaves no reason as to why the story was distorted in the first place. An ending that instead painted Maleficent as a tragic hero who sacrificed herself for Aurora and was later misrepresented by the kingdom would have made this a truly great spectacle with a firm stance about the flaws in blindly accepting the victorious, often patriarchal version of events. But I’m not the writer, I just sit back and judge.

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