I had a weird expectation going into Maleficent. I knew what I wanted out of the movie, but also knew that it was highly unlikely, and that I was probably going to enjoy it a great deal regardless.
I wanted the movie to be weird and creepy and little bit twisted. I wanted to see what drove Maleficent to become someone so wholly consumed by petty hatred and revenge, that she enacts it on an innocent.
I didn’t want to see Wicked, but with Maleficent.
Um, this movie is Wicked, but with Maleficent.
And that’s fine, and good. It’s a strong story, and the film is insanely gorgeous. But it wasn’t the movie that I was hoping for. I was talking to Katie after leaving it (we were texting, not actually with each other), and said, “If Wicked and Game of Thrones had a baby, and raised that baby on nothing but Tim Burton movies…that’s what Maleficent was.”
But it could have used, dare I say it, more Burtony touches? There just wasn’t enough weird mixed in with this magic to make it interesting. Anyway, plot. Maleficent grew up as a happy fairy girl with horns and huge wings. She was always brave and strong, and she protected fairyland from it’s enemies. When she was very small, she befriended a young human boy named Stefan (if you know your Disney, you know that that’s Aurora’s father.) and as they grew up, the two fell in love. But Stefan was ambitious and soon began serving the human king, and grew apart from Maleficent. After finding out that whoever defeats her will be given the crown and the princess’s hand in marriage, Stefan returns, and cuts off Maleficent’s wings as she sleeps.
Bitter and angry, Maleficent cuts off Fairyland (also called The Moors) from humans with a large wall of thorns. Years pass, and Maleficent decides to enact her revenge when she hears of the birth of Stefan’s child. You know that part. Of course, as the year go by, Maleficent watches Aurora grow up, and Stefan grows more obsessed with his old lover. One day, the curious Aurora finds The Moors, and declares that she’s always known Maleficent was her fairy godmother. The two become unconscionably fond of one another, and Maleficent tries to lift her own curse to no avail.
Because of a few blunders by the three good fairies who raised Aurora (inexplicably given names that aren’t Flora, Fauna, and Merriwether, but also aren’t at all memorable.) and an encounter with the adorable floppy haired Prince Phillip, Aurora winds up under her curse and Maleficent goes to save her.
I don’t want to reveal the twist ending (which can be seen from a mile away), but it all ends very nicely for everyone.
Visually, this movie is stunning. Maleficent’s kingdom is populated by stunningly rendered CGI creatures and her own mix of looks from woodsy elfish princess to bad ass gothic anti-heroine is amazing.
Angelina Jolie was born for this role, I just wish she had more to deal with than being, basically, a malevolent ex-girlfriend. But it’s hard not to root for this version of Maleficent. Her scenes with Aurora are particularly affecting, and played beautifully by Elle Fanning as well. I fell completely in love with Sam Riley as Diaval, Maleficent’s crow servant who she transfigures into what animal will serve her best. Sharlto Copely might be the best part as the crazed and paranoid Stefan.If his arc had been given to Maleficent, I would have enjoyed this movie a little bit more.
Anyway, that’s where we are on that. I liked this movie, but expected more from it.
- X-Men: Days of Future Past
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Nothing new here, but I’m really, really excited for Jupiter Ascending, you guys. I hope it doesn’t suck. Also, Earth To Echo is growing on me…