Film Review: Maleficent


The untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from its 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty” is reinvented as the narrator in the film tells us how such a beautiful and kind hearted fairy turned into the evil and powerful Queen Maleficent.

However the film fails to capture the essence of true wickedness and evil that we crave in such an iconic villain like Maleficent– she doesn’t live up to her name.

The narrator in the film (who turns out to be Aurora) tells of how her fairy godmother, Maleficent (played by Angelina Jolie) went from being good to being wicked- well, almost. We have seen it before on stage with “Wicked” and it worked- where the humanizing of evil characters sheds a new light as to why they are driven to madness but in reality they are just misunderstood souls.

Screenwriter Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast) alters the storyline that Sleeping Beauty has been known for but despite the few lines the main characters lack, the direction (Directed by Robert Stromberg) of the film also leaves a lackluster impression. As a young girl Maleficent was kind hearted and a protector of her unclaimed kingdom of the moors a land of the fairies, strong and fearless army of tree warriors, toad-like creatures, as well as other magical creatures from the neighboring human kingdom whom strives for power and control over the riches found in land of the fairies but not even 3-D glasses could mask the unbalanced depiction of cartoon like feel seamless on the big screen.

We see a glimpse of her happy childhood days spent with the moors, until one day she is betrayed by her ex-human lover peasant turned king Stefan- whom falls short of portraying a king, (played by Sharlto Copley) by drugging her into a deep sleep and robbing her of her powerful and majestic wings.

Thus Maleficent swears revenge and how the story goes, casts an unbreakable curse on baby Aurora- whom after watching her grow into a beautiful and joyful young woman (played by Elle Fanning) and has a change of heart but not even the evil sorceress can break herself.

That is until Prince Philip makes a cameo appearance to break the spell with true loves kiss! But leave it to Disney to alter the meaning of true love, where not even a long and awkward kiss by Prince Philip wakes the sleeping princess and is rushed out by her Hocus Pocus like nanny-fairies, but rather a goodbye kiss from her fairy godmother Maleficent who’s black heart is really a heart of gold.

And finally we see some action in an epic battle between Maleficent and King Stefan as well as her trusty side-kick crow, Diaval turned human and finally fire breathing dragon. Which was halted when Maleficent’s kryptonite brass surrounds her- who knew brass would be her weakness? Aurora comes to Maleficent’s rescue by freeing her glass in-cased wings to fight against her father King Stefan and Maleficent gains her wings again!

Though it would have been epic to see the queen of evil embrace her dark side and turn into the fire-breathing dragon herself the battle ends with King Stefan falling to his death. Aurora not even being phased by her now orphaned status leaves the castle to live happily ever after in the land of the moors with Maleficent and fairy creatures of the land too- oh and Prince Philip shows up as well.

Overall the fairytale of Maleficent was like any other Disney fairytale and tiptoed into the darkness of Maleficent’s persona but never truly immersed itself which is a shame given that Stromberg has worked on Avatar and Pan’s Labyrinth and lacked visual effects that had the potential to borrow from the styles of both films which have been successful in special effects and applying that element of fear and magic at the same time.

So if you were wondering if this movie is suitable for children you will be relieved to know that this version of Maleficent is much more appealing for young audiences as it caters to children. And if you want to see Angelina Jolie reprise the role of the evil queen, she definitely steals the show in her Goth but fabulous wardrobe and high cheekbones as well as those amazing snake wrapped razor sharp horns and not to mention her iconic ruby red lips cackle that famous evil laugh.

Maleficent Rating: C

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Silvia Pereida

Silvia Pereida is a Cal State Fullerton graduate with a Bachelors degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Latin American Studies. She enjoys traveling including trips to Mexico, Colombia and South Korea. She currently contributing to M.U.S.E. a multimedia digital magazine as Executive Producer, Writer, On-camera talent, Reporter, Field Producer, Assignment Editor, Graphics, plus more.

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