Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Movie Review: Maleficent

Roth Films, Walt Disney Pictures, USA, UK, 2014.
Maleficent title

Young fairy girl Maleficent (Isobelle Molloy) lives in peaceful fairyland of Moors. Young boy Stefan (Michael Higgins) tries to steal a jewel but he steals Maleficent's heart instead. When Stefan (Sharlto Copley) grows up he becomes ambitious and forgets Maleficent. King Henry (Kenneth Cranham) starts a war against the fairies. Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and the elves fight back and drive away the humans. Stefan wants to be the next king so he betrays Maleficent. Stefan gets the princess and the kingdom. Maleficent grows bitter and wants revenge. 
Isobelle Molloy
Young Maleficent
Angelina Jolie
Sharlto Copley
When Princess Aurora is born three amusingly inept fairies (Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple) bring gifts to her. Maleficent crashes the party and casts the Sleeping Beauty- curse. What then happens is quite different than in the original story. The three fairies raise Aurora but actually it is Maleficent and her raven Diaval (Sam Riley) who protect the child Aurora from hurting herself until the curse can take its place. When getting to know Aurora (Elle Fanning) better Maleficent wants to cancel the curse but it is already too late. 
Elle Fanning
Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville
Thistletwit, Knotgrass and Flittle
Sam Riley and Angelina Jolie
Diaval and Maleficent
Reinterpretation of "Sleeping Beauty" is a charming fairy tale that makes an interesting twist to the well-known story. It is something Tim Burton could have made on his best days. The strongest role is Angelina Jolie's who ranges from wounded brave warrioress to mischievous evil witch to compassionate godmother. She is absolutely great and steals the show. The other actors do their best but are mainly supporting actors to Jolie's show. King Stefan becomes a Macbethian lunatic and Aurora is a sweet princess. The tone goes very emotional without forgetting humoristic reliefs obviously from the goofy three fairies but also dead-pan mirth from the raven-dude. It gives a good background story and motivation for one of the classic Disney villains, and also an alternative view of what happened. In the Disney style the fairyland has a population of happy and cute little creatures but also bigger and scarier creatures. It was also great how the bright and happy fantasy land turned darker when the curse was set. The effects are on par of the fantasy movie standard that "Lord of the Rings" has set, and so far it goes that couple of the wood fairies look like Ents. I also liked Lana Del Rey's version of "Once Upon a Dream" in the end.
wood fairy
Wood fairy
Rating: Very good

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites, Kenneth Cranham, Sarah Flind, Hannah New, Isobelle Molloy, Michael Higgins, Ella Purnell, Jackson Bews, Angus Wright, Oliver Maltman, Gary Cargill, John O'Toole, Harry Attwell, Anthony May, James Hicks, Stephan Chase, Mark Caven, Chris Leaney, Jamie Maclachlan, Shaun Smith, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, Eleanor Worthington-Cox, John Macmillan, Tim Treloar, Peter G. Reed, Marama Corlett, Liam McKenna, Steven Cree, Janet McTeer 
Director: Robert Stromberg 

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