Monday, June 9, 2014

Maleficent (a movie review post)

Let's get one thing straight right here at the outset: This is not any kind of prequel. This is not the live action prequel to Disney's Sleeping Beauty. It doesn't pretend to be. This is not like Oz the Great and Powerful (which is a prequel but which I still haven't seen).

No, Maleficent is the story of Sleeping Beauty told from the perspective of the villain. Sort of. At any rate, it's told from a different perspective than the one that has been presented in popular culture for the last half century and more. I think they did an amazing job.

The movie is magnificent to look at. The tree men that serve as the border guards are astounding and the land serpent was... well, that was incredible. Not to mention the work they did on Flittle, Knotgrass, and Thistletwit. And the dragon! Well, I think it's enough to say that the movie looked amazing, but, then, there is also Angeline Jolie who was impeccable in her role. Not that there wasn't makeup to go with that, but I think she almost didn't need any help pulling off the fairy look. Except for the wings. I think it's safe to bet that she doesn't have her own wings.

The performances were excellent, especially Jolie. Elle Fanning pulled off exactly the persona of someone who is happy and beautiful all the time. Sharlto Copley was crazy scary... or, maybe, he was scary crazy. One of the two. The three fairies pulled off the same sort of bickering as the fairies in the animated Sleeping Beauty; they were wonderful and hilarious. And Sam Riley was great, too.

The only possible issue with the movie is the whole "true love" thing. Disney continues to try to undo its whole cliche around that theme, which is fine and good, but it hasn't even been a year since Frozen, so I hope this is not a new trend, taking the "true love" theme in some other direction every movie for the next... well, who could even guess how long that could go on. Anyway, it was fine for this movie and handled well, but 3/4 of my family reacted in the same way to it: "I hope this isn't going to be their new thing." I guess we'll just have to wait and see on that one.

Overall, this is a great movie. It has everything you could want, none of which I'll name, because that would mean spoilers, even if I did already mention the dragon. But, then, we all knew about the dragon, right? Wait, it doesn't have lightsabers, but I think that's okay. I'll just put it like this: My wife cried. It's almost a certain thing that a movie is good if my wife cries, so there you are. This one gets 5 tears.


  1. [Note: I am out of town, but I will respond to comments when I return.]

  2. For some reason, this movie just didn't spark my interest. Plus I'm leery of fairy tale movies after the awful Snow White and the Huntsman. Will watch on NetFlix eventually.

  3. Your review does a better job of enticing me than the previews I've seen so far. I'm not a Jolie fan, so the movie better do more than show me Jolie with wings - which is what the previews seem to scream. Woo. Look! We have Jolie and she has wings! She's evil. She wears black. And yeah: wings! I need a plot if I'm going to spend money, thanks.

  4. I enjoyed it. I had a few issues with the pacing and sparse dialogue, but visually it was absolutely gorgeous. And I do enjoy seeing fairytales reinterpreted. In this case, I thought they could have pushed a little harder on Maleficent being the one who "woke up" from her hatred after love's true kiss.

  5. Meh, it's just "Wicked" with Sleeping Beauty instead of Oz.

  6. My kids went with their great grand parents to see it. They all seemed to enjoy it. I will wait to see it when I buy it.

  7. I don't know what the whole "true love" thing is. I haven't seen Frozen yet.

    This one doesn't really appeal to me. I'm not a huge fan of Angelina Jolie's. I think you're the only person I've read who liked the movie.

  8. I don't know what the whole "true love" thing is. I haven't seen Frozen yet.

    This one doesn't really appeal to me. I'm not a huge fan of Angelina Jolie's. I think you're the only person I've read who liked the movie.


    There were a few plot things left hanging that made me twitch (as a writer), but I completely fell in love with Maleficent as a character.

    I liked the darker twist to the whole story, and I liked how Maleficent and Aurora's relationship developed.

    I am completely indifferent about Prince Phillip, lol. He felt like he was just kind of stuck into the story because he was there in the cartoon version. He was just a plot device, which gives me no reason to care for him as a character. Oh well.

  10. Guess I've got to see it now. Probably end up renting it. If your wife cried, I am damn sure I will

  11. Guess I've got to see it now. Probably end up renting it. If your wife cried, I am damn sure I will

  12. Well if the wife cries it's got to be worth something. I'm glad you clarified that it's not a prequel since that's what I assumed. What a def post, and you have yourself a splendid evening!

  13. I'm not excited by the genre, but you've made it sound interesting. Maybe I'll see it, but it's a good possibility that I won't.

    Like Briane I have no idea about the "true love thing". I thought Disney always had a happily ever after true love thing but I take it you're referring to something different.

    Tossing It Out

  14. Gee, when has Disney ever done a cliche to death before?

    I'm not big on fairy tales, but you do make it sound interesting. Maybe I'll check it out when it comes out on DVD.

  15. Not a Jolie fan...but you make want to see this movie. That's quite the feat.
    Tina @ Life is Good
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  16. My first thought upon seeing your post title was, "Awesome~ I've been wondering what this one's all about." So thank you. The trailer looked pretty amazing (though perhaps not something I'd take my 5 year old to see--Angelina's looking pretty scary). Glad to hear the movie held up.

  17. Very cool. I want to see that 'un.

  18. I WANT spoilers, but that's okay, I'll deal. I'm so glad it's getting a good review from you, because I kinda wanted to see it, but I needed to know beforehand if it was worth it! We're going out of town this weekend and that's what we do out of town, you know, see movies and stuff, LOLOL.

  19. I really enjoyed this movie, and I think your review is spot-on! I'm not a huge Jolie fan, but I think she did a fantastic job in this role. I loved the effects (I saw it in 3D), the color, the costumes, everything visual. It was a good time! :D

  20. You give me hope! Fiance and I really wanted to see this movie (Sleeping Beauty still my favorite Disney movie) but after seeing Oz Great & Powerful... we figured it would just a beautiful to see, shitty to watch performances and awkward plot.

    The only anti-argument I've heard that made any kind of sense was that some people were dismayed they humanized such a "wonderfully evil" like Maleficent. As in, let there be some evil in the world that doesn't need a sob story for us to empathize with. I get that argument, but I like when the evil one has a reason for doing so.

    Good one, Andrew! Going to see this movie this weekend now.

  21. Alex: I watched Snow White and the Huntsman... but I don't really remember anything about it. This one was so much better.

    Jean: Well, you know, about those wings...

    L.G.: I think that happens before the kiss, and I think they did a great job with it, actually, when she realizes what she's done.

    Pat: I haven't seen that.

    David: I haven't made a decision to buy it. If my daughter wants it, we'll probably end up getting it.

  22. Briane: Well, I can't tell you that, because it would be a spoiler.
    And I'm not what I would call a Jolie fan, but I do think she can act.

    Rebekah: Well, that was what he was there for. He shows up and there is this expectation of what will happen, so I liked that. And the reaction of the three fairies is hilarious.

    Jo: It's certainly worth a rental.

    Maurice: Yeah, all of the trailers and things made it look like a prequel, so I was surprised to find otherwise.

    Lee: They did always have that, but they changed it with Frozen. They broke their cliche, if you will.

    Jeanne: I know; that's why I'm worried they will just make this their new cliche but, for the moment, it's a good thing.

    Tina: I don't see movies because Jolie is in them, but I don't think I've ever thought she did a bad job.

    Jessica: You know, your five-year-old would probably do okay with it.

    David: It's worth it.

    RG: Well, go see it, then!

    Marci: I bet it was awesome in 3D. I love 3D; I just wish it didn't cost so much!

    Jean: That's the thing though: no one evil thinks they're evil.

    I still haven't seen OG&P. I'll get to it at some point.

  23. 'Maleficent' is an admittedly great-looking, sometimes creepy.
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  24. Hyacinth: It was certainly great looking.