Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I say it up-front: this is one of my favorite films for 2014. It’s a great story with an original take on a classic fairy-tale. The story is not over-done or over-written. Visual, the film does not try to overwhelm you with special effects that dwarf the story. The story and the message are placed first in the production and the special effects are used to demonstrate and amplify actions and events. In other words, there is an uncommon and refreshing balance to this production and the writing.
Refreshingly New Perspective
This is not the Disney film story of Maleficent. Maleficent is not really an evil witch strictly out to wreak havoc on the poor innocent mortal kingdom. She starts out as a young girl herself that is taken advantage of and physically harmed by a mortal man. A man whose only true desire was to be king at any cost; a man that swore his kiss was a true love kiss.
And, instead of a King and Kingdom of undeserving victims of the wrath from a wicked witch, we have a manacle, self-indulging king who wants nothing less than to conquer and possess the Fairyland itself. A King, whom on his death bed, offers his throne to anyone who can prove they killed Maleficent. And his offer brings out the true nature of Maleficent’s would-be prince; a young man whose true nature is not unlike the king’s - evil.
The fairytale land protected by Maleficent is typical of most movies. There are a variety of fairies and creature; yet, with little that stand-out characters being significant except for the three good fairies called Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. Of course Maleficent is the most unique and stand-out character. Wow, she is mesmerizing and not just because it’s Angelina Jolie. Her character and costume are both “Spellbinding.” Even with the progressively increased haunting make-up as Maleficent evolves through the story, Angelina Jolie is smoking hot. Sometime literally smoking as her character’s secret weakness is revealed and used against her.
Battle scenes can best be described as mini-epic settings not unlike some of those found in the Hobbit films. Dark and verboten: the battles are not presented in a manner to glorify war but to make a clear statement as to their use: to take or to protect.
In this version of the fairytale, there is an unexpected twist to the old “true love’s kiss” needed to wake a sleeping princess, Princess Aurora. [Spoiler Alert] Instead of the traditional prince with the kiss that breaks the spell, it’s the fairy god mother’s love, Maleficent, that is the real “true loves kiss.” Yes, the very person that cursed the girl 16 years earlier becomes the very person that loves Aurora. Jolie’s character develops a mother’s love; a “true love” for the child she watches over as the princes grows up.
You don’t have to be a kid to watch and enjoy this story. In fact, I find it more in the tween to adult category. For those of us that grew up with the Disney films of old 1940s, 50s, 60s and even 70s, this should be a refreshing and more mature development of the character known as “Maleficent.”
If you intend on getting this film for your children ages under 11, I highly recommend it be watched with some supervision, even if by an older teenager. There isn’t a problem with sex, nudity or any of that stuff; but there is a vicious act against Maleficent during the first half of the film that may bother young children. And, it’s easy for children to get lost looking for the special effects and miss the story and its message.
As I’ve said before: this is very well done without being over-done.