Film & TV

Film Review: Maleficent


Based on the character from Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is a live action spectacle about the sinister Mistress of Evil who seeks out ways to cause misery.


MaleficentDecades after founder, Walt Disney, marvelled audiences with his animated movies, his company has thrived. Whilst its traditional animation outfit has slowly faded, its live-action arena is gathering pace.

The Pirates of the Caribbean movies showed they could successfully transfer their properties to the big screen with Maleficent their latest. Based on the wicked character from the 1959 movie Sleeping Beauty, it successfully conjures a dazzling spectacle for which Disney has become known.

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is a sinister Mistress of Evil. With a heart of stone she seeks out ways to cause misery. One victim is Aurora (Elle Fanning), a young princess. Trapped in a battle between forest dwellers and humans, Aurora holds the key to peace. Maleficent determines to prevent such an occurrence with a myriad of mischief. Seeking to rule a divided kingdom, Maleficent’s ways reveal the darkness lurking in her conflicted soul.

It would be simple praising Maleficent’s wondrous CGI which mirrors Disney’s best works. To do so would ignore the care gone into the script. Graced with Jolie’s strong performance, the character effectively escapes from its animated confines. A fleshed out persona, Maleficent is continually split by her thoughts. Initially an entity for good, her gradual descent into evil is authentically conveyed. It’s easy understanding her actions, with true villainy potentially hiding elsewhere.

Robert Stromberg’s direction replicates that elusive charm missing from several recent fantasy epics. Ensuring the story’s messages create a strong moral centre, he avoids bogging it down with sugary sentiment. In many ways Maleficent is a very traditional Disney tale with a fine cast more than matching the opulent visions. There’s majesty to the dark tale with the cinematography capturing the fantastical flourish it needs.

Maleficent is a decent live-action version of a Disney classic. Sticking closely to its source while adding a few of its own unexpected twists, it’s a delicious cinematic foray into the realms of imaginary marvels.

Reviewed by Patrick Moore

Rating out of 10: 7


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