I know, I know, Maleficent is old news and so but have you seen it? If you think this movie is just for kids, think again. I went to the cinema to watch it in June and recently I watched it again. Usually the first impression of a movie is much better because of the intrigue and unravelling plot but I enjoyed the second time just as much. I could concentrate on the tiny details and visual effects.
First things first – the main plot. As you may already know, this is Disney’s remake of the Sleeping Beauty. They have kept many details of the animation and embedded them into the new version with Angelina Jolie in title role. The land is divided between two countries – the land of the humans and the land of the fairies. Maleficent is one of the fairies, and as a small girl she encounters an intruder in her land – a young boy who wanted to steal a jewel. Surprise, surprise, they become friends. The boy has high ambitions despite his low birth and Maleficent puts a lot of trust in him but faces bitter betrayal when a war brakes out between people and fairies. As her revenge, Maleficent puts a curse on the young Princess – Before her 16th birthday the Princess Aurora should prick her finger on a spindle and fall asleep as if she was dead. Only a true loves kiss can wake her up.
Years passed and Aurora lived in the forest with 3 fairies, who pretended to be her aunts. Fairies are not good at looking after children and Maleficent has to keep an eye on the little girl so she wouldn’t die before she can fulfil her curse. Long story short, she starts to like the child but the curse is not reversible (it’s kind of like when you put a very difficult password on a document and can’t open it later on).
The cast of this movie is pretty good. I really like Angelina Jolie as Maleficent. The horns don’t make her look ugly even one bit. She carries them like a crown. Also girls in the role of Aurora were chosen nicely. Imelda Staunton (also know as Dolores Umbridge), Lesley Manville and Juno Temple succeeded in playing fairy aunts who are a bit on their wild side. Their cottage looks a bit like a hippy hut. Sharlto Copley as Stefan? Well, I find his accent funny and can’t do anything about it. My favourite character in the film was Diaval ( Sam Riley ) – the crow who got shape-shifted by Maleficent numerous times into many other beasts. He was charming in many ways. Prince Philip (Brenton Thwaites)? Was he even there? I hardly noticed.
I really like the beautiful special effects – the creatures, the scenery, the transitions. I especially like the mud-throwing goblins/fairies (or whatever they are) and Ents (at least the tree people did look like Ents to me). Lighting and framing were done well and this movie is a pleasure to the eyes. I didn’t notice the music until I heard Once Upon A Dream by Lana Del Rey. This song just soaks in to the bone. Her voice is like liquid velvet.
What I didn’t like was the banality. The ending came as no surprise. OK, it’s Disney and they make movies their way. But what the hell happened to Maleficent’s British accent? Did she lose it while growing up? It couldn’t have been Stephens influence even though his accent got worse over the time. I don’t know, I can understand change of faces and features (it’s hard to find similar people to match different ages of the same character) but the accent? Really? Did they think no one will notice? And again – Aurora loses the accent when she tells the story? Is there some kind of curse – one shall change their accent after the age of 16?
Another thing – all this fuss about the curse and Aurora barely has a cat-nap. It couldn’t be more than half an hour from the moment she falls asleep and gets woken up. In the story 100 years passed ant the whole kingdom was asleep too. No, this just doesn’t work for me – I have daytime naps longer than that.
Also – the wing thing. How come the wings stay “alive”? They are cut off. Are they detachable? Do they have a magnet to stick right back where they belong? Dose it work like the charger from a MacBook – bring it close enough and it fall in the right place? Of course, it is magic but at this particular point, I don’t get it. Why couldn’t she just get them back all those years ago? If Maleficent couldn’t get them out of the iron casing, why didn’t she send Diaval to do it for her? He is not a fairy, he is a crow shape shifting by magic but it shouldn’t affect his ability to touch iron. He didn’t seem to have any problems with the iron thorns.Weird.
No movies go without some bloopers, that’s for sure. I don’t think that these minor details are so bad that they would spoil the joy of watching. Altogether Robert Stromberg has done magnificent job – I could just watch the change of scenery and Maleficent’s costumes even without any plot or action. Very beautiful and pleasing to the eye. My personal rating is 8 out of 10 because this move exceeded my expectations on many levels.