'Maleficent' Visually stunning epic fantasy
Creating the back story to one of Disney’s vilest villians could have turned out to have been a huge mistake. After all, Maleficent was pure evil, powerful and beautiful. She never had to turn herself into an old hag like the Evil Queen; even Maleficent’s dragon form was full of power and beauty. Why mess with perfection?
Here is the thing about evil – it isn’t born; it’s created. Through greed, rage, injustice or revenge, evil is the product of choices, and Maleficent explores the theme of evil and its complications. Even though Disney used #eviliscomplicated to promote the movie, it is clear that evil in this case is born on the choice of a man to covet power and fortune over love.
The Sleeping Beauty story has been reworked to become more progressive and sympathetic to the evil of Maleficent. The three fairies are inept and petty and unequal to the task of raising a little girl. Maleficent steps in to watch over Aurora, and it is the relationship and bonding between the two that really make this an interesting back story that works without taking away from the aura of Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty.
Angelina Jolie is Maleficent. She doesn’t play Maleficent; Jolie channels her, becomes her, and is powerful, beautiful and scary. From the moment Jolie enters the throne room to curse the infant to the end of the film, she shines on screen with a nuanced performance that should win consideration for an Academy Award. With this performance, Jolie proves that she is a movie star in the sense of Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth and Mary Pickford.
Had it not been for Frozen, Maleficent would have been truly ground-breaking. It seems that between the two films, the Walt Disney Company has captured the Zeitgeist of the nation. Somehow, it has latched on to the collective subconscious and brought the stories that America needs to see right now.
Lana Del Rey’s haunting interpretation of “Once Upon a Dream” fits this movie to a “T.” Del Reys vocals are more than a match for Maleficent’s stunning visuals and epic fantasy story that deserves to be seen in glorious 3D. The only reason to settle for less is because you have to. Evil may be complicated. The decision to see this movie should not be.
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See Romney's Review of Maleficent on MoviePilot.com