director: Robert Stromberg (debut)
starring: angelina jolie, elle fanning, sam riley, and sharlto copley
REVIEWER: lyall carter
A vengeful fairy is driven to curse an infant princess, only to discover that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land.
After the success of the live action Alice and Wonderland, it wasn’t before long that Disney had swung into animated film remake mode. Although strictly not a remake and more of a reimaging, Maleficent more glides than soars.
As a beautiful young woman of pure heart, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) has an idyllic life in a forest kingdom. When an invading army threatens the land, Maleficent rises up to become its fiercest protector. However, a terrible betrayal hardens her heart and twists her into a creature bent on revenge. She engages in an epic battle with the invading king's successor, then curses his newborn daughter, Aurora - realizing only later that the child holds the key to peace in the kingdom.
With a production design that is reminiscent of 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, a great score which is accompanied by Lana Del Rey’s hauntingly beautiful rendition of Once Upon a Dream, Maleficent is technically wondrous. The CGI creatures do look a little out of place at times in the 4KUHD re-release but the illusion does hold.
Again it comes down to the story. Although it’s perfectly serviceable, it isn’t particularly memorable and it doesn’t grip hold tight of you. And I think its mostly because outside of Maleficent there aren’t really that many memorable characters.
But Angelina Jolie is magnificent as Maleficent. Cold as steel, broken and hurting, Jolie perfectly encapsulates the icy rage of Maleficent in a truly memorable, born to play it turn.
Maleficent would be slightly forgettable if not for Jolie’s magnificent cold as steel performance that she was born to play.