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FILM REVIEW - Maleficent

I remember that my first few film reviews were of live-action remakes of classic Disney films and I found myself reminiscing about them today. Many of us grew up on the originals and so there was a massive sense of nostalgia surrounding them, which led to trepidation about them being done again. That being said, I had thorough enjoyed ‘Aladdin’ and I thought ‘The Lion King’ was also not bad. So, I thought to myself why not start from the beginning of this trend and watch what was considered the first ‘remake’.

‘Maleficent’ tells the story of the villain in the original ‘Sleeping Beauty’ film which came out in 1959. This film starts although, with the tale of two neighbouring kingdoms, one of man and the other of magic. Within the latter lives a young fairy named Maleficent who meets a young boy named Stefan. The two strike up a friendship and with time it blossoms into something more. The King of the human kingdom afraid of his magical neighbours sets out to war, but Maleficent who is now an adult fairy protects her home. Enraged, the dying King offers his throne to whoever can kill Maleficent. Stefan tempted by the power attempts to murder his old love, but in the end, just settles for taking her wings, and becomes King. Many years pass and Maleficent has become bitter and attempts to find revenge against Stefan. When news arrives that he’s had a child, Maleficent finds the perfect excuse and curses the newborn princess. Stefan then sends away princess Aurora with three good fairies to be looked after until the age of 16 when the curse is supposed to happen. Unbeknownst to all parties, Maleficent included her feelings towards the young princess change with time. Soon she begins to look out for her and as Aurora grows and discovers who she believes is her ‘fairy Godmother’ the two become inseparable. But alas things can never stay the same and Aurora discovers that Maleficent is the one who cursed her. Will she ever be able to trust Maleficent again? And can her bond with the princess change Maleficent’s heart?

Right. So unpopular opinion but I never really rated Angelina Jolie as an amazing actress. Now before you guys lose your minds, I must confess that I’ve only ever seen her in Tomb Raider and Shark Tale and whilst I think she did an impressive job being a video game character and a sultry fish, perhaps it didn’t show her range of skills. That being said, I think she was fantastic in this film. Like, consider me converted. I am a fan. I shall now endeavour to go and watch more Angelina films. In terms of the rest of the cast, I don’t particularly need to say anything because they were almost inconsequential to the main character. Elle Fanning played a very happy and bubbly Princess Aurora and I think that Sharlto Copley who played King Stefan also put in a very good performance. Maleficent’s right-hand man or raven, Diaval, played by Sam Riley was also quite memorable. A good cast in my opinion.

From the beginning, I have said that I really enjoyed these live-action remakes. That doesn’t mean that I’m not a fan of animation anymore, I just see the advantage of live-action. I think initially when I had heard about this film I thought to myself is this film necessary. It’s how I felt about the ‘Joker’ film and a little bit about how I feel about the upcoming ‘Cruella’ film. However, the twist and change to the story made this film worth it. As a fan of the Kingdom Hearts video games, Maleficent is always one of the big bads and I wasn’t sure I was going to have any empathy for her, and yet I did. She is suddenly made into this literally three-dimensional character who suddenly has all these layers and a likeability to her. On the other hand, the King, Stefan, who under the traditional tropes of Disney film would be regarded as a regal and honest character, is turned into a paranoid villain and as a viewer, you almost question everything you know about Disney heroes and villains. That being said. Scar. Still a little bitch.

The CGI was probably one of the strongest points of the film. The magical kingdom of the Moors was bought to life in a real and yet still imaginary way. I liked the transformations of Diaval and also the way they had created the three little pixies who looked after Aurora. The landscapes and sets were good, although they weren’t so unique that I’m likely to remember them. The music of this film was used well, and there were definitely parts where I was aware of the soundtrack during certain scenes. Overall, this was a good film and that makes me trepidatious about the sequel!


  • Story: ★★★½

  • Acting: ★★★½

  • Cinematography: ★★★½

  • Music: ★★★½

  • Enjoyability: ★★★

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