Director: Robert Stromberg
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley
Plot: The back story of Maleficent, the evil fairy of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, is revealed.
Review: There have been many fairy tales adapted to live action films in the last few years, and the best one for me is still Snow White & The Huntsman. Maleficent, while being a good attempt at retelling a fairy tale in a different way, just doesn't work so well overall.
With a title like that, you'd expect the antagonist to be portrayed in a different light from what we all know of the Sleeping Beauty story, and that's what we get. Director Robert Stromberg presents the audience with Maleficent's history, how she befriended the boy who wanted to be king, and how his ambition drove him to betray her, turning her into the villain we all know. She then curses his daughter Aurora to fall asleep and never wake again on her 16th birthday, unless someone gives her true love's kiss.
So the entire story maintains the main key points with several changes here and there, where Maleficent will instead become the hero we wouldn't expect. The problem is, the execution of this version is somewhat poor, with many wasted opportunities to take it a step up.
Maleficent ought to be a dark character, even if she can be good in the end, but she got to be evil for all of five minutes, which was during the christening scene. This was the only time Angelina Jolie got to have some real fun with the character and show some menace. After that, she softens up considerably, removing any possibility of being cruel. Sharlto Copley plays King Stefan, formerly the boy who betrayed her, as an obsessive man who is so driven to kill her that he doesn't care about anything else, which eliminates any development of his character as it relates to Aurora or the queen. Speaking of Aurora, her character is developed by way of her relationship with Maleficent, who in this version, is the one that looks after the girl, and not the three fairies assigned to raise her in the original story. Like I mentioned above, this negates Maleficent's darkness a lot. And don't even ask about the poor lad they chose to be the supposed prince charming, as he is even more insignificant here than the CGI fairies in Maleficent's kingdom.
But there is some hope though. Sam Riley is solid as Maleficent's servant Diaval, and Elle Fanning fits the role of Aurora just nicely, though she smiles quite a lot, but then again it's part of her character. The CGI is rather beautiful too, which is a plus point. And of course, Jolie is born for this role, she is perfect.
Basically, Maleficent is made by Disney, and thus it is tailored to suit the younger ones more than adults and those looking for something more grim. If you have kids, take them to go see this, but you probably wouldn't like it that much yourself. (3/5)