By: John ’Doc’ Strange
Directed by: Robert Stromberg
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley
MPAA Rating: PG (for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images)
Selig Rating: FULL PRICE
Runtime: 97 Min.
Disney‘s animated feature Sleeping Beauty came out in 1959, telling the story of a princess who is cursed by an evil fairy to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel on her 16th birthday and die. Saved by the third good fairy, Merryweather, who uses her blessing to weaken the curse so that Aurora will only fall into a deep sleep.
Disney’s new telling of this story has been changed to reflect a new view of the old story. Live action combined with amazing special effect characters who give a new meaning to CGI really breathe a new life into an old story. This film starts by showing us the fairy Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) in her youth as she delights in everything the world has to offer. She is beloved by her fellows and becomes the protector of her land, the protector from the humans who live in the neighboring land.
Maleficent’s fall from grace is at the hands of a human, Stefan (Sharlto Copley), whose one desire is to one day be king. Maleficent falls in love with the young man who one day steals her wings and gets crowned King of his land. He and his queen have a child, Aurora, who is presented to the land. Three good fairy’s go to the presentation to give the young girl special gifts. While they are presenting their gifts, Maleficent arrives. She curses the child to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep until the end of time, a sleep that could only be ended by true love’s kiss.
That is where the differences begin to grow. The character of Maleficent is so much stronger than her animated counterpart but is at the same time beautiful and elegant. We see the whole story of this amazing creature from her youth, through heartbreak and out the other side into salvation.
Elle Fanning does a wonderful job portraying Aurora. She embodies just the right amounts of the qualities you would expect of a princess with the wide-eyed innocence of a young girl raised by fairies deep in the woods.
Maleficent is a magnificent film full of beauty and action though with a darkness that, while adding to the depth of the film, may not be what the young children are ready for. In 1959, Sleeping Beauty got off to a slow start. One so slow that Disney stopped doing animated features for a few years. Maleficent will not have this problem. I think people are going to love it as much as I did!
Movie Site: http://movies.disney.com/maleficent
The Selig Rating Scale:
FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!