Angelina Jolie dons some black horns and equips herself with razor sharp cheek bones as she takes on the titular role of Maleficent in the latest addition to Disney’s revisionist history section.
In a post Wicked world and following the box office success of Oz The Great and Powerful in 2013 revisionist history pieces appear to be the way forward for Disney. Taking a much loved tale and giving us a new take on it guarantees to put bums on seats. Maleficent, the antagonist from Sleeping Beauty was selected as the best option for this treatment; her motives in the movie are never explained, giving the writers a perfect chance to play around with the character.
Similarly to Oz the Great and Powerful Maleficent’s biggest flaw is just how in love with itself it is. The film, whilst visually beautiful is lacking in any depth or charm. Its CGI landscapes and creatures may be a marvel to look at but they are not supported by anything based in reality. The script, which often borders on pantomime doesn’t allow for any of the characters, other than Maleficent to grow; all the humans are idiots, all the fairies are CGI and Sleeping Beauty is enough to put you to sleep.
With all of this going on the movie is inevitably stolen and also saved by Angelina Jolie, who is effortlessly brilliant in the lead role. Her beaming eyes, banister like cheek-bones and sinister smile make her the perfect live action counterpart for the animated Maleficent. Her playful wickedness never branches into over kill, finding the perfect balance between camp and sinister.
It is when Jolie is allowed to shine the movie is at its finest. The scene where she curses Sleeping Beauty is the films stand out moment, with Jolie being allowed to revel in the malevolence of the moment. These moments are few and far between however and the movie fails to maintain any real balance as it plays with the moral ambiguity of the character, which unfortunately turns out to be as predictable as an England world cup campaign.
There is a general feeling of waste as the movies credits role. The visual beauty of the movie and its stylistic wonder feels as though it existed to merely hide the cracks in the movie; Sharlto Copley once again proves he should probably not take on any role where he is required to do an accent whilst Sam Riley and Juno Temple feel wasted due to underwritten characters.
Verdict: For all it’s stylistic potency and Jolie’s wonderful lead performance the movie fails to inspire. Its pantomime inspired routines and its slapstick humour fail to provide the movie with any real charm whilst its script fails to allow for any of the characters to develop. If you want to know the Maleficent story, dig out Sleeping Beauty and make the rest up in your head.