Director: Robert Stromberg
What's it about:
A dark and twisted take on one of the most popular fairy tales of all time - Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is a fantasy tale that has Angelina Jolie play the lead role. It's a world full of pixies and strange creatures from the woods. Visually the film looks stunning with Jolie's high cheek bones and horns creating the right moments. We all know about the curse on Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent takes us to the back story of why it happened. There's a king and his daughter who is cursed by Jolie to fall into sleep on her 16th birthday only to be woken up by true loves kiss.
Jolie is in terrific form and mesmerizes you from the very first frame. Over the years she's managed to captivate the audience by doing roles that will play to her abilities. The special effects and camera work also add to the mysterious setting and backdrop. The scene where Jolie puts her curse is one of the major highlights of the film. Those who have followed Sleeping Beauty's story will like the small references made to her life as a little girl and the moment leading to the big climax.
It is a revenge drama and there are moments when it doesn't go beyond Maleficent's act of vengeance. The screenplay rambles on as we see repeated shots of Jolie sulking, pouting, scheming. Writing is extremely uneven and Stromberg who has two Oscars for art direction in Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, puts the emphasis on the visuals than creating a strong storyline. At times you feel like you are watching a feature presentation by a VFX studio on the latest technologies used in cinema.
What to do:
Maleficent will please Jolie fans, so watch it if you like dark fantasies about mystical creatures.