Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Maleficent

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 48% (Critics) / 74% (Audience)
Directed By: Robert Stromberg
Written By: Linda Woolverton
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley and Sam Riley
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Synopsis:“Maleficent” explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty” and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever. – (Source)

The Good:
Angelina Jolie is game and gives a pretty good accounting of herself especially in scenes where Maleficent is behaving wickedly and loving every second of her badness. A bit more of “bad girl” Maleficent would have gone a long way toward making this movie more enjoyable.
I liked the visuals too which was surprising to me because I really was not a fan of what director Robert Stromberg did as the visual effects supervisor on Tim Burton’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND. With Maleficent things were more vibrant and not sop washed out and the different looks of the pixies and the tree creatures were really cool.

The Bad:
The overwhelming need this film had to make Maleficent into a heroine really took away the one part of this film that had any energy which was the malevolent version of Maleficent. When Jolie was being bad, she and the film came alive. The scenes with her growing to love Aurora and turning over a new leaf were just plain dull.

The Ugly
It was kind of a bummer that the central reason for almost every major decision Maleficent made in her life was being betrayed by a guy.

Final Verdict: Maleficent had promise but the film felt constrained at almost every turn and the worst example was with the title character. Not letting her revel in her wickedness and taking advantage of how eager Angelina Jolie obviously was to play the bad guy, was a major misstep and resulted in a lackluster film.

Grade: C-

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