Maleficent {2014}

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), the villain we all love to hate from beloved childhood  fairytale Sleeping Beauty, is back to reveal her origins and why she decided to curse the princess Aurora. All is not what it seems in this retelling of the well known tale as we see how and why Maleficent became so cruel and bitter towards the princess. 

This prequel/retelling has been awaited by all since it was revealed that the classic Disney movie had been commissioned. Surrounded by mass amounts of hype, millions of pounds worth of advertising and a star filled cast. It is a sure winner you would think. Not really the case I am afraid.On opening weekend in the UK I went to go see this film with mass excitement after seeing the amazing trailer. I left with a bruised soul at what I saw and not in the good way.
This Disney retelling was supposed to humanise the wicked villain we all know by revealing how and why she became who she is as well as how Maleficent perceived the events of the original animated film. Somewhere along the line there was a mis-communication though because Maleficent became a weak, unbelievable character that made me want to just roll my eyes. The sass and bite that this female villain had in the original was kept for a single scene where she curses young Aurora but past that the character becomes a dulled down version and where they aimed for complexity only received boredom. 

The movie explains Maleficent's story during the first thirty minutes of the film with a new realm where the magical creatures can live. It includes a dolled up pre-pubescent Maleficent meeting a random Scottish man that would eventually lead to her downfall. Already I was disappointed. The story of Maleficent was to weird to make sense and the relationship she built was made uninteresting by the overuse of a voice over that the director had added in order to presumably make it more fairy tale like. As an audience member it was impossible to connect with any of the characters shown and frankly this beginning section could have been cut down to around ten minutes had they refined the script to make it less babbling. 

Whilst Maleficent was becoming dark and scary by killing leaves after her big betrayal there is the butchering of the three fairy's. The comedic yet ditsy fairies that take little Aurora in are turned into little CGI idiots that make you want to slam your head against a wall in frustration. It is not just these characters that make you angry for no reason but also all other actors featured. The young Aurora over acts every possible scene until you no longer hold any liking for the character and Prince Philip looks like he belongs in a medieval boy band. Relationships were awkward between characters whilst the randomly Scottish king became a paranoid creep for no reason and the new magical realm introduced was where they seemed to want to set all of the boring scenes that made no sense. The only truly interesting character was someone who was an animal for the majority of the film.

I will commend the use of CGI though. Apart from the fairies you wanted to make fly away the effects were great. The green magic fire that Maleficent used and the creatures her minion became were all incredible. Even the odd magical realm was crafted in an aesthetically beautiful way. In the trailer you see a large majority of these effects, including the creepy tree warriors that needed more screen time, and that may explain why it looked so good. Unfortunately the epic effects could not fix the dragged on and impossible to enjoy plot.

The film had potential but stopped it out through exaggerated, over acted performances, the overuse and misplacement of a voice over and the contradictions with the original story. The ending was not original nor emotive and the action sequences were odd and unnecessary to the story. I was immensely disappointed with this film and kind of want to pretend it didn't happen.

Rating: 2.5/5


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