Movie Review: Maleficent (2014)

Published On June 15, 2014 » 2245 Views» By admin »

maleficent 1A script not as good as the Special Effects

stars

Angelina Jolie has always frightened me a bit. Her history of edgy, hard hitting characters has always intimidated me. Maleficent, while good, is no real exception.

Maleficent tells the story of one of the most iconic fairy tale villains, the evil Maleficent from sleeping beauty. Only this time, it gives a more sympatric look at the motivations behind the villain. Think of Wicked, only with a less-good story line.

The screenplay is a bit of a problem. The story is confusing and convoluted and starts off with a young Maleficent becoming embroiled in a fairy versus human war. A fairy gets betrayed, gets her wings ripped off, issues a curse on the infant Aurora…

And the movie turns into a silly slapstick mess/weird creepy stalking flick. I don’t know; I was pretty lost.

The actors in the film didn’t give it much juice. Elle Fanning is utterly forgettable and one dimensional as Aurora. It’s easy to see why she was picked to play sleeping beauty. She barely seemed awake. Also, I’m pretty sure this film was supposed to portray Maleficent in a sympathetic light, but the problem is Angelina Jolie isn’t likeable.

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She doesn’t bring enough humanity to the role to make her character seem sympatric. In fact, she just kind of comes off as weird and creepy, kind of like she was in the 90s when she made out with her brother and carried a vial of Billy Bob Thornton’s blood around her neck.

Visually, the movie is absolute stunning. The special effects are perfectly done; the makeup gave Jolie an otherworldly feel. The action scenes are tense and emotional. Robert Stromberg is making his directorial debut in this one, and you can kind of tell that he mainly worked scenery and special effects before. He was the Art Director for Avatar and worked on Alice in Wonderland as well. The problem is that the script wasn’t as good as the effects.

Maleficent is complicated, but not unredeemable. It’s hard to understand her motivation and I wonder what would have happened if they’d put a more sympathetic actress in the roll. If anything, Jolie comes off as yet another special effect in a movie heavy on special effects.

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Also, if you can’t do an accent, don’t do an accent. One minute, Jolie sounded like a Cockney Newspaper Boy, the next she sounded like a Buckingham palace guard. Nothing would have been lost if she’d done no accent at all and it was incredibly distracting.

Maleficent isn’t for kids. It’s a bit hard to tell who this movie is targeting. It was an interesting concept, but poor scripts and poorly chosen leads really made it fall flat. It’s not entirely unwatchable though. It is visually stunning and exciting. There are quite a few good action scenes, and as a villain, even on with a dodgy accent, Jolie shines.

I’d say this movie comes in at an absolute average. It’s not particularly great, but it’s still watchable, even if for just admiring Jolie’s amazing cheekbones.  Watch the official trailer below.

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