Review: Maleficent

Posted: May 30, 2014 in Review
Tags: , , , ,

For my first review upon returning from Europe, I’d like to do Maleficent, a retelling of the 1959 Disney film Sleeping Beauty. And like its predecessor, Maleficent has some storytelling problems. Emphasis on the “telling” in “storytelling”: during the course of the movie more is left to narration in this film than to actually showing us the exact events as they happen. So we basically skip over several of the formative events in Maleficent’s early life, and in King Stefan’s early life as well. The result is that we really don’t get to know the characters very well, We just see Maleficent go from sweet girl to young woman to angry witch, all in the course of maybe half an hour. We also don’t get to see Stefan’s development either, which would’ve made his character easier to understand and relate to.

And this is only the tip of the problems with the story here. I don’t want to go into great detail, but let’s just say the writing and the lack of characterization leave much to be desired, with huge plot holes and characters that are as two-dimensional as paper cut-outs and as unrelateable as them too. I know Disney made this film mostly to catch in on the trend of retelling old fairy tales for a new, modern audience (explaining why Once Upon a Time is heading into its fourth season and why Disney is doing retellings of Cinderella and a Cruella DeVil movie and Alice Through The Looking Glass, among others), but it wouldn’t have destroyed te studio to add maybe another forty to fifty minutes to a ninety-seven minute film and fill out those characters and plug up the plot holes.

Overall, I give Maleficent a 1.6 out of 5. Not even its good moments (few and far-between) are enough to redeem this film. Not even Angelina Jolie can fix it, and she’s an amazing actress! I really can’t wait to see how the guys at How It Should Have Ended decide to fix this film up. Because like I said, it’s not a very good film.

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Comments
  1. I’m sort of really glad you didn’t like it, because the people I watched it with really enjoyed it and I didn’t know what to say. As i mentioned before, my highlight was Sam Riley, but other than that I wasn’t impressed

    • Yeah, I think most people were overwhelmed by the whole “true love” twist and the amazing computer animation. Other than those parts, there wasn’t much to make Maleficent into a really memorable film. I doubt it’ll be getting an Oscar nomination this winter.

      • I thought the movie was really predictable, but most people clearly didn’t. The twist got to them and it is true that it looked great, but that doesn’t make for a good movie.

      • And I think you’re right! It definitely won’t get an Oscar nomination.

      • Ultimately, I think Disney and Joliewill wish they’d done this movie differently. Maybe then they could have had a successful film al a Frozen.

      • Awe, I love Frozen! And yeah, they could’ve done this so much better. I wonder if Disney is going to screw up the Cinderella movie as well …

      • I’m already betting on it. And speaking of Frozen, did you know they’re developing a musical and an ice show based on the movie (the latter sounding rather redundant if you ask me).

      • Well, you thy have to make as much money out of it a long as they still can. I don’t like that though, I mean Elsa appearing as the new villain in Once Upon a Time was just a stupid idea.
        Did you know that they made an ice show for Ice Age as well? My grandma saw it, but she didn’t like it.

      • I don’t know about Ice Age, but I do know that Elsa will be a villain. Remember, we only know that Rumplestiltskin forced her into an urn which she destroyed upon getting out. She may not be evil. She may just be what she is in Frozen: misunderstood. Maybe Rumple wanted to harness her powers but couldn’t control them, so he locked her away. Or maybe she is evil, but not through her own fault. In any case, we’ll see what storyline they come up for her in the 4th season. I bet it’ll be interesting, to say the very least.

      • You might be right. I’m not that much into Once Upon a Time as I used to be though. I preferred once Upon a Time in Wonderland, but that got cancelled …

      • But it looks like the Knave of Hearts/Will Scarlet will be a regular in the upcoming season of Once.

      • Okay, I didn’t know that. I love the Knave! He was one of my favourites on Being Human.

      • I’m already theorizing what his role will be in the upcoming season. Nothing provable yet, but I’ve got a couple of ideas.

      • Hmm, I can sort of only imagine him in flashbacks, because I can’t see a reason for him to leave Anastasia and Wonderland. But I guess that won’t be all he does ..

      • In this show? I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t end up killing someone or implicated in a murder or a love triangle three episodes in.

      • But that would revoke the entire change he went through in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. I mean he found his Happy Ending! Alice told her kid about how Anastasia and Will become the White King and Queen, so I wonder what he’s doing in Storybrooke altogether.

      • Hey, Snow White and Prince Charming found their happy ending too. But guess what happened next? The Curse! If anything, this show proves that happy ending isn’t always how it ends.

      • Yeah, I know that, but … but the story that Alice told and Wonderland wasn’t affected by the curse and … I don’t know, but they’re just making stuff up as they go along and that’s not a good thing.

      • I think you’re worrying too much. This show is good with not retconning too much or at least doing it in an acceptable way that won’t cause too much trouble. Besides, I’m sure the writers will figure it out. Maybe on the way to becoming the White King and Queen, Will and Anastasia have to do some good in Storybrooke. With the White Rabbit’s time travelling holes, anything’s possible.

      • That sounds plausible, but I still think that Once Upon a Time has messed up along the way. Ever since the end of season one I just didn’t like it as much as before.

      • Yeah, I didn’t like season 2 as much as season 1. But season 3 really picked up the bar, and I’m looking forward to season 4 now.

      • I’ll watch it, but I’m currently more interested in other stuff.

      • Oh, but I am looking forward to see what happens with Regina and Robin and their relationship!

      • Me too! I’m betting on a lot of heartbreak, followed by reconciliation and love (so Maid Marian is going to die at some point).

        By the way, would the other stuff happen to include Teen Wolf and Doctor Who (they just announced Series 8 will come out in August).

      • Absolutely! Teen Wolf starts again sometime this month I think and finally Doctor Who is back! They’re actually gonna start earlier than I thought.

      • I know! And the remake of the Sailor Moon anime comes out next month, so I’m really excited for that.

      • What!? I didn’t know there’s a remake! They just started playing the old tv show on one of the channels here.

      • Yeah, it’s being remade in honor of 20 years of Sailor Moon (technically 21 at this point, but it’s been planned since last year at least). It’s called Sailor Moon Crystal, and it features new artwork and everything. The first episode drops at some point in July, and will air a new episode every two weeks, for a total of 26 episodes (for the first season, anyway).

        There this website called sailormoonnews.com that’s up on all this stuff. They even have posted pictures of some of the anime artwork. You should check them out when you have the chance.

      • That sounds awesome! I definitely will!

      • Wonderful. Always happy to help.

  2. THANK you. Was it just me, or did it feel like they had Maleficent’s character on a leash? If you’re going to humanize a villain, shouldn’t you give her some humanity? Jolie was all airs and haughtiness for most of it. She was at her best when she was messing with people and watching little Beasty from afar. But overall, the film just felt muted.

    • I’m just watching it, and I’m like, “Script treatment, please! We need more background on this character! How did she go from sweet little girl to haughty woman to….whatever she became?” It might’ve worked better as a novel.

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