One of the most long-awaited films of 2014 has finally hit the big screen, and it really is as magical as you imagined!
What’s It About? We all know the traditional tale of Sleeping Beauty, but Maleficent (PG) reminds us that there are two sides to every story. Angelina Jolie stars as the title character, a magical fairy who turns evil after being tricked and mistreated by humans. In a jealous rage Maleficent curses the new baby princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), but she soon comes to realise that the child may be the only one who can restore peace between humans and the magical creatures.
Verdict: Maleficent is one of the most visually beautiful films that you will ever see and the use of 3D really makes the magical
kingdom come alive. From the fluttering fairies, woodland creatures, and even Maleficent’s magical powers, absolutely every aspect of the film is truly pleasurable to watch and will transport you into that world and make you feel like a child again.
Angelina Jolie is striking as the lead role in both appearance and performance. The film is solely focused on telling the traditional fairy tale from the villain’s point of view and Maleficent’s character development is beautifully told; from her childlike innocence and kindness to the despair and sorrow that she feels when she realises that humans have betrayed her trust. This sorrow quickly turns into bitter vengeance and when she curses the innocent baby Aurora the audience feel Maleficent’s pain and are completely on her side. Jolie’s portrayal of the character is brilliant in ensuring that Maleficent doesn’t just become a fantastical and unrelatable source of evil – despite possessing magical powers she is very human throughout the film and captures the audience’s heart and empathy.
Once Aurora goes to live with three fairies in a bid to protect her from the evil curse, Maleficent begins to follow her life more carefully and with the help of her servant Diaval (Sam Riley), a rescued raven who she can transform into man at the mere flick of her wrist, she watches over the princess and finds her hardened heart thawing with Aurora’s sweet and loving innocence.
One of the key aspects in Jolie’s performance is that no matter how evil she appears to be, Maleficent is never truly a villain. Whilst she acts maliciously and is full of hatred and anger her softer side is never too hidden away and you appreciate the entire time that she is not a bad person deep down, simply forced into making bad and harmful decisions due to the terrible way she’s been treated. On top of that, the character has wit and attitude, avoids being a cliche and instead becomes a source of inspiration and and the embodiment of a strong, female character.
Although Jolie is the star of the show, Elle Fanning brings charm and grace to Aurora, a character who is normally considered quite plain and two-dimensional. Although your eyes will never wander off the evil queen for long, when they reach the princess it is just as beautiful to watch. Riley also shines as Diaval, a welcome character that provides an insight into Maleficent’s mind who also supports and comforts our heroine as the humans put her under siege.
Final Words: Disney has exceeded itself in this enchanting tale that will delight both the grown ups and children in the audience in equal measures. Visually stunning to watch, Maleficent transports you into a fairytale realm and Jolie’s heartfelt and alluring performance will captivate you from start to finish.
Maleficent is out on Blu-ray and DVD on 20 October 2014.