Maleficent (2014)

You'll spend 70% of the film marvelling at the work of those prosthetic cheekbones.

You’ll spend 70% of the film marvelling at the work of those prosthetic cheekbones.

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INTRODUCTION. Wow, I’m on a blockbuster kick aren’t I? In truth – yours truly has been engaged in working on writing projects and watching old movies. Maleficent has teased me away long enough to write a review; not on its merit as a movie so much as because it touches on a subject dear to my sensibilities: expectations.

In this asinine era of increasingly gritty takes on classic figures I think many of us were expecting a very grim and deliciously dark, adult version of events. This isn’t that. Don’t go into the cinema in the interest of such a thing. Maleficent is very much a Disney fairy tale movie targeted at young audiences and it isn’t here to provide you whatever twisted pleasure people get from poisoning childhood remembrances with grown-up disappointments. 

STORY. “Hey! I like my dark fairy tales okay? Haven’t you ever read a real Grimm story?” I hear you readers, but only barely over the din of a generation nurtured by Disney’s less biting animations. If you’re looking for bloodied stepmothers and sea foam tragedies then you’re in for a letdown. Maleficent features a fast-paced and rhapsodic plot, practically a serenade to all saccharine tropes and happy resolutions. Over a span of 97 minutes it manages all of that while conveying (with no portion of uncertainty) a brilliant message pertaining to female empowerment. So even if you like the dark stuff, I’m going to say that this movie is mandatory viewing for anyone who has seen Disney’s original Sleeping Beauty

CHARACTERS. I wish this could be a paragraph of nothing but Angelina Jolie’s cheekbones – she is beyond doubt the high point of this cast list. They have cultivated a Maleficent who is accessible, who experiences great measures of human emotion. Does this ruin her character or better it? Rather: do we want a villain who is evil for the sake of being evil, or a villain whose motives are comprehensible? One of these two is more prevalent in reality than we would like to think. The other characters of Maleficent are a delight to watch, providing unexpected levity in a story to which we assume the ending has already been written. 

CONCLUSION. A fun and fantastical film to see with your friends. As long as you’re not expecting Burtonesque levels of gloom, this is well worth the price of a cinema ticket.

N

STORY: 6.5/10
CHARACTERS: 7/10
REWATCH FACTOR: 6.5/10
OVERALL: 6.5/10
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