run time: 97 mins
considered: Action, Adventure, Family
director: Robert Stromberg
starring: Angeline Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Sam Rilet, Brenton Thwaites, Kenneth Cranham, Sarah Flind, Hannah New, Isobelle Molloy, Michael Higgins, Ella Purnell, Jackson Bews
movie summary: Deep in the enchanted forest, we find a young girl named Maleficent (Isobelle Molloy/Angeline Jolie), who is destined to be Queen of all the lands one day. By chance she meets Stefan (Michael Higgins/Sharlto Copley), a young boy she becomes best friends with. Years later the pair are on separate ends of a battle for the lands, which Maleficent wins thanks to her powers and influence over creatures. The King is upset with his defeat and offers up his throne to anyone who brings him Maleficent’s wings, Stefan betrayes his best friends since childhood by poisoning her and clipping her wings. Stefan becomes King, marries, and has a baby girl named Aurora (Elle Fanning). Maleficent has spent years waiting for the perfect moment to seek revenge on Stefan for his actions, so she barges in on the celebration party for the new baby and casts a spell on the infant.
The castle goes into shock when Maleficent proclaims that Aurora will go into an eternal sleep the day after her 16th birthday if she hasn’t experienced a kiss from her true love. Maleficent flies away laughing the whole way out, while the King immediately arranges for Aurora to be sent out of the kingdom to be hidden and protected. Three nannies take the baby to a small cottage out in the forest where Maleficent sends a crow to keep a watchful eye on the newborn. Stefan calls his troops to battle and the iron workers into work in preparation to raid the forest and kill Maleficent. She senses the troops marching on her lands so build a gigantic bared wired tree wall to protect herself and keep Stefan away.
The King spends the next 15 years locked away in his castle planning the great attack for when Aurora turns 16 and Maleficent shows up to see her curse take effect. Little does he know Maleficent has been watching Aurora grow up since she was a little girl when the two run into each other in the forest. Aurora considers Maleficent to be her fairy grand mother and gets really attached to her, so much so that a few days before her 16th birthday she wants to move away from the cottage and into the forest with her. Maleficent knows exactly who Aurora is, but this little girl has no clue about the curse, that her father is the King, and the history between the two. The nannies slip up and tell Aurora the truth about her life which causes her to run to Maleficent to get the truth. When all the cards are laid on the table Aurora runs back to the kingdom to find her father who is putting the final touches on his attack plan. Within a few hours of being home, Aurora goes to sleep and will only be woken up by true love’s first kiss.
Maleficent rides a horse into the kingdom where she hopes to break Aurora from the spell. When Stefan gets word his old friend is within the kingdom walls he unleashes his army to track her and kill her. The battle to save Aurora rages on outside while the soon to be Queen rests peacefully waiting for a hero to come and rescue her.
my thoughts: I was invited out to a screening for Maleficent and I gave in to the peer pressure of attending the summer’s “blockbuster hit” according to the TV spots. I was totally going to pass on this movie because it looked terrible, but after the first 15 minutes the movie actually grew on me. It was a refreshing take on a classic fairy tale.
Angeline Jolie was a perfect actress to play the dark, mysterious, and evil Maleficent. She has the look of destruction in her eyes with a smile would scare even the scariest monsters. She was once a warm and loving person but grew tired of human games and betrayals so she unleashes her power in the worse possible way. Without anything else to do for the next 15 years, she watches a little girl grow up and act just like she did as a kid. These actions begin to turn her cold heart to a point where she wonders why she did what she did. This movie is not long enough (which was nice for a change) to really show off Maleficent’s background and powers, but focuses more on her relationship with Aurora than anything else. Unfortunately for Ella Fanning any cute teenage girl could have been casted in the role of Aurora without anyone noticing, the whole marketing campaign for this movie is about Jolie which sucks for anyone else in the story.
Maleficent is filled with CGI creatures, battles sequences, and other wicked forest things. Thankfully the special effects are not shoved down your throat which makes the movie more enjoyable. The writers put their focus on story telling and emotions more than anything else. Like I stated earlier, the story grew on me and turned out to not be that bad. My final thought about this movie is that it is not worth the $15 cost of admission, but is worth catching on a cheap day. Save your money for a small popcorn or candy because this movie is only 98 mins long.
my star rating: 5 out 10
imdb.com: 7.5 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 50% out 100%
rogerebert.com: 3 out 4