Maleficent (2014) Movie Retro Review by Darrin Gauthier

MALEFICENT

Director: Robert Stromberg
Writers: Linda Woolverton (screenplay by), Charles Perrault (based on “La Belle au bois dormant” written by)
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley

Plot:  A vengeful fairy is driven to curse an infant princess, only to discover that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land.
Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 51%   Audience 70%

Why I watched it: Almost didn’t, this has been on my Netflix list for awhile and I’ll be honest I picked it as a random pick and even then I watched it cause of it’s short running time.

Thoughts: This may be a case that’s it’s better you don’t know the source material cause this is a huge re-imagining to the point this doesn’t even remind me of Sleeping Beauty.  Trying to turn a villain into a hero is tricky and a bit silly.

What I liked: This film is watchable because of Angelina Jolie, I’m not a huge fan but you have to give her credit watching this film you’re watching a movie star and she makes this watchable with sheer star power.  She’s very good and she’s not working with much but she has such an ease about her on screen and of course tons of charisma and all the while with cut off wings and two big horns. I do thing the one thing the film hits is ‪Maleficent‬ she’s an interesting character and she’s not one note plus she also has an arc.
I also liked Sam Riley an actor I don’t always care for as I find him a tad bland but here he hits the right note as ‪Maleficent‬’s henchman/helper and I liked the look of his character.
Now the film is way to CGI heavy for me but the characters for the most part look with a few exceptions.  The film does have a fantasy element to it, the world is fun to look at, a little busy but it’s a bold and very colorful place.

What I Didn’t Like: Like I’ve mention this film is overloaded with CGI to the point it almost feels like an animated film, and at times it really takes you out of the film.  The three fairies that look after Sleepy Beauty, who by the way I liked in the animated film are terrible here, the CGI characters are creepy looking and when they’re real people they’re unfunny and honestly they come across like fingernails on a chalk board.  You feel nothing about them and really the fact that they create no on screen bond with Sleepy Beauty is a major flaw.  They raised her so 16 years.  Also Sharlto Copley is acting like he’s in another film, I think he’s doing a Scottish accent, no one else is doing a Scottish accent and he feels like he’s stumbled out of Macbeth.  His performance doesn’t track with the rest of the film, every time he’s in a scene there’s a huge tonal swift.

The film feels very slight to me, like they’re just hitting the high points of a story that was better told before, the film drags at points and really seems padded at 97 minutes.  The film has just one fleshed out character, Elle Fanning basically smiles the whole film, she needed some depth and we needed stakes.  The film just feels uneven and really it’s hard to get into the main plot.  I’m not shocked there’s talk of a sequel cause I think ‪Maleficent‬ is a character rich enough to be in better stories.  The battle/fight scenes are serviceable but again it’s so special effects driven that you are kind of detached while they’re going on.

Final Thoughts: Though a tad slow it’s a watchable movie, don’t go in thinking you’re seeing Sleepy Beauty but from ‪Maleficent‬’s perspective cause this is an entirely different film.

Rating: ‪5/10‬

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