Maleficent is a fascinating retelling of Disney classic Sleeping Beauty where we are thrown into a world where at times true evils exist in the actions of those we love. The story, revolving around Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), King Stefan (Sharlto Copley) and Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), looks at the actions of the past and how they affect the future. Not only that, but the journey along the way and how love can change everything.
In a world of fairies and magical beings, we are introduced to a young Maleficent, who with her wings, is the most powerful fairy in the Moors. She befriends a young orphan boy who as they grow up start to develop a deep bond, sharing in true loves kiss. As she matures she becomes the defender of the Moors and battles great armies to ensure the protection of the lands. In the course of events that follow we see Maleficent stripped of her wings and transform into the dark Mistress of evil.
The Christening scene is quite remarkable, Maleficents transformation from young innocent, to evil sorceress is quite breathtaking and that very scene is delivered quite well, paralleling the classic in both performance and emotion. We see Maleficent take several journeys along the way, contrary to what the original animated classic portrayed. Maleficent is perceived as both a villain and a hero, characters are portrayed differently. The curse is enacted differently in this film, there is a very interesting underlying theme when exploring the context of the curse.
Diaval (Sam Riley) was a standout, shape shifting from crow to Human and many other forms. The dynamic between Diaval and Maleficent was quite lovely. Her best friend, protector and at times you could argue, her conscience. Brenton Thwaites added light with his portrayal of the charming Prince Phillip. Whilst at first I was intrigued by the casting of Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora, I feel like she did a splendid job. She was a strong, individual, curious (as Maleficent affectionately calls her) Beastie.
Angelina Jolie has excelled in the role of Maleficent. Honing in on the character it’s remarkable to see Jolie powerful yet, at points fragile. At one point I felt as if I was watching Emma Thompson, exactly that calibre of performance, taking on a role where she is completely transformed, both emotionally and physically. I have to say, as a youngster, watching the animated film with my siblings where we’d also act out the motions and words, I studied and would always want to portray Maleficent. Angelina Jolie is Maleficent. Plain and simple, she did a spectacular job. The close ups throughout the film, as well as the positioning of Maleficent behind certain objects was quite clever, with every shot she gave the audience a different emotion. At times she was also quite funny, which made her level and give off an almost human like quality.
Director Robert Stromberg, has created a wonderful feast for the eyes. Beautiful imagery that captures you completely, along with some truly wonderful modern techniques that refine this beautiful classic. The special effects, looking at both the creatures within the Moors and Maleficent herself were achieved quite well, with the 3D effects coming across nicely. With or without the 3D effects the film still works and envelops the audience in the wonders presented on screen. A standout part was during a fight scene Maleficent breaks through a window, taking on a form like a bullet, and as she is mid air the slow motion effects along with the glass shattering, Jolie in her attire creates a magnificent image. I was sitting there thinking, I want this action figure, it was truly spectacular.
I will definitely go see this again on the big screen. It was a thrilling journey, offering many twists along the way and a new perspective on a much beloved classic.
Rating: 4/5 ☆☆☆☆