Maleficent

Angelina Jolie as Maleficent. ©Disney 2014

Angelina Jolie as Maleficent. ©Disney 2014

Disney’s reimagining of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale is dark and beautiful. Maleficent brings the fairy world to life with stunning visual effects and fantastical characters. The costumes and styling are perfect and aptly reflect both the mood and scenery.

Angelina Jolie gives a powerful performance as the scorned, infamous Maleficent and this is a role she seems born to play.

Shifting the focus from Aurora to Maleficent could have been dangerous but a well-written backstory and clever plot twists ensure that the character is enthralling enough to carry such a weighty project. And it bears repeating – Jolie is magnificent. She revels in the delicious malice of the character and reaches into the very depths of her soul to convey pain in the moments that change everything.

Elle Fanning plays the innocent princess Aurora and manages to successfully walk the line between endearing and banal.

There comes a point when Aurora must fall victim to her sleeping curse and this is unfortunately the only downside in an otherwise entertaining film. Suddenly scenes become esoteric and trippy as a dolly zoom effect detaches her from reality and then smoothly glides her to her fate, as if pulled by an invisible force. The style is not in keeping with the rest of the film and it feels strange, especially considering director Robert Stromberg’s strong background in visual effects. Perhaps this is the point, but it is jarring.

This could very well be Jolie’s last onscreen outing, the actress has expressed that she wants to focus on behind-the-scenes work as director and producer in the future. What a way to go out.

****/5

What did you think of Maleficent? Have Disney been evolving their brand successfully to reflect changing times and audience interests? Are ‘reimaginings’ done to death?

Let me know your thoughts below!

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