Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Maleficent the Magnificent? - A Semi-Spoilery review


I’ve been on a little bit of a hiatus - University and Laptop Issues prevented me from being able to post, but I’m back and with a review!

I’ve spent a lot of time in the cinema lately - honestly, I should just move in, it’d be much easier - and the latest film I’ve seen has been Disney’s ‘Maleficent’, starring my ultimate girl crush, Angelina Jolie.



My expectations for this film weren’t very high, I expected that Angelina would be a standout - obviously - that Elle Fanning would be bland, if a little annoying and that the supporting cast and characters would pale in comparison to its titular character. I expected amazing visual effects and a small spin on an old tale. Going into this movie, I was not familiar with the tale of Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty was not one of my favourite stories (Beauty and the Beast was) and so in terms of storyline, I was not entirely sure what to expect.

The film starts off with a young Maleficent played by Ella Purnell, piercing green contacts, red lipstick, wings and all, and chronicles the story of Maleficent’s childhood. A necessary but boring addition to the movie in my opinion. Perhaps my love for Angelina Jolie impacted this somewhat as I was really just waiting to see her. Nevertheless, we see the young Maleficent take charge of her kingdom and have her first encounter with a human boy - young Stefan - who has stolen something from the magical kingdom. This part is crucial to Maleficent’s character development, as she does not punish the boy, she merely tells him to give back that which he stole, and she then returns it to its rightful place before befriending the boy. The start of a romance that would last throughout her childhood and teenage years.


After some well shot flying sequences and montages of her years spent with Stefan - when the boy visits - we get to the pinnacle of the story. The part where things turn sour for Maleficent. The King attempts to attack Maleficent and her kingdom and in an amazing but way to short for my liking, battle, Maleficent essentially shows them who’s boss, calling upon large tree-like creatures to stand up and fight with her, as she flies through the hoard of the King’s men, knocking them over and swatting them away like fly’s with her powerful wings. This scene was brilliantly shot and executed, and I honestly wish that there had been more of a battle within the film, as on the fighting stance - there wasn’t nearly enough for my liking.

The three fairies, played by Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville, were the only characters that I especially hated. Their portrayal was annoying, infuriating and over-dramatic and their scenes were actually quite boring. All they did was bicker in shriekingly loud voices as fairies, and as humans.


Elle Fanning, wasn’t bland as I expected, but she wasn’t spectacular either. I don’t think the young actress had a lot to work with in terms of material, as her character didn’t really do much except smile and...well, smile. Nevertheless, she was ok, but really came into her own towards the end.

The final battle at the end between Maleficent, Diaval and the Kings men, is only the second real battle in the whole film - disappointingly - but with Diaval as a dragon and Aurora freeing Maleficent’s wings it was quite a good end to all the drama of the film. With her wings, Maleficent is as confident and powerful as she was before and triumphs in the battle. The only negative things I have to say about this scene, is that the Kings men would never have been able to hold down a dragon. Never. And yet somehow they did, with chains that they pulled out of nowhere as they had not previously had them with them. Also, disappointingly, was the lack of a real showdown between Maleficent and King Stefan, which I later realised was probably due to it not only being a Disney film, but also being rated PG. With the exception of the drop of blood when Aurora pricked her finger, there was no real bloodshed in this, and so in in my opinion no real battles.

The film was also surprisingly humours at times, which helped improve what would otherwise have been a bog standard Disney movie.

Overall, the film was good, I wasn’t wowed by anything and I essentially got what I expected. Angelina Jolie was simply brilliant as Maleficent, they couldn’t have picked a better actress for the part, but I fear that had it not been for her, the movie would not be nearly as good as it is, as she really makes the film.


All in all I give Disney’s Maleficent.....

6/10

Thanks for reading!