Disney’s Maleficent is a retelling of their 1959’s Sleeping Beauty that was derived from Charles Perrault’s The Sleeping Beauty. It is a beautiful movie. The story is so well written. The scenes are well directed and acted. I will say that the 3D is not worth it. If you are going to go, go to the 2D because the picture is better. I give Maleficent 9 out of 10 stars. It is a great family movie that everyone will enjoy, as long as you enjoy fairy tales with a great twist from what we are used to hearing.
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Maleficent retells the original Disney’s Sleepy Beauty. It does a fantastic job at it. It aids in the Frozen redefining of the phrases “true love” and “true loves kiss”, which I am a huge fan of. Linda Woolverton is the writer of this version of Sleeping Beauty, she is truly a master at finding the voice of Maleficent. It is based more on the life of Maleficent. It is written so the it rounds out and mirrors the characters of Maleficent and Aurora, while at the same time bringing depth to all of the characters in the movie, except Prince Phillip, which is intentional. When you see the movie you’ll see why I say this.
The actors do a superb job. Angelina Jolie as top bill was phenomenal. She does for Maleficent what Margaret Hamilton did for the Wicked Witch of the West. She brings the character to life. There are moments that steal your heart between Aurora and Maleficent. You see Maleficent harden and then you see her soften. Aurora is played superbly by Elle Fanning and a few other young girls. One of the moments that will really grab your heart is between Angelina Jolie and her own daughter playing Aurora at a very young age. It is a moment of truthfulness between the characters. Imelda Staunton leads the three fairies that are to take care of Aurora. There are really great moments there. Sharlto Copley plays the infamous Stefan. Just as he was a fantastic psycho baddie in Elysium, he is so in Maleficent. He masterfully shows a plunge into a psychotic King that is paranoid of losing his own life, sometimes seemingly over that of his daughter.
As far as directing and the cinematography go, this is top notch. This is Robert Stromberg’s directing debut and he really shows off his chops; as well as the cinematography work of Dean Semler. I hope to see these two team up again. The picturing and mise en scene is perfect. There are moments of close ups and the scene filled with other characters that just take you by surprise and make your heart melt.
The hits that I really have for you are the moments where actors Jolie and Copley slip in and out of their accents. Copley has moments where he attempts an Irish accent and it is a wee bit disastrous (see what I did there). The greatest moments are when he accepts his Southern African accent and just goes for it. In the last moments of the film they have Prince Phillip and he really isn’t needed in that scene. He’s used as a plot device earlier in the movie and the pay off is great, but his reentrance into the forest isn’t needed. The 3D and 2D are not needed. 2D in this movie is what you want to see. It is brighter and has a greater sense of detail to the beautiful pictures. There are moments in the 3D version where everything is just way too dark whereas in the 2D it is not. There are also moments, such as the Dragon scene and the Moore’s scene that could’ve been outrageously beautiful, but they fall completely flat on their face. If I were a producer I would’ve called out the 3D editing. And the last and slight hit, I would’ve liked to see a green tinge to Maleficent.