What’s it about?
Disney steal the concept of Wicked by telling the story of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the villain Maleficent.
What did we think?
Definitely not for kids and with a story not strong enough for most adults it’s unclear who the target audience for Maleficent really is. Die-hard Disney and Angelina Jolie fans will certainly flock to it but the many faults balance out the majesty of the effects and performances. The failure to commit to making Maleficent actually evil really robs the movie of any gravitas as does the bizarre decision to make the three ‘good fairies’ bumbling idiots. An adversarial relationship there alone would have strengthened a film sadly lacking real backbone.
Jolie – a performer I don’t really like or usually enjoy – is incredible but we’re so sympathetic to her throughout the movie that the original premise is almost pointless. When you shrug at someone putting a curse on an innocent baby then perhaps it’s evidence debutant director Robert Stromberg has missed the mark. The failure to commit is further seen in what is changed from the original story. Giving the ‘wicked witch’ more detail and background is okay but doing so at the expense of the characters on the other side of the spectrum – who are all two-dimensional morons here – just makes this a star-driven film rather than a good story.
It’s not actually a bad movie (I did enjoy it) but those who haven’t seen the original Sleeping Beauty would love it much more.