If you haven't had a chance to see Maleficent, run to the theaters. It is a good time, especially if you a Disney fanatic. Check out my review from Our Knight Life
When Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland became a success in the box office in 2010, a rumor started to go around that the same live action treatment would be given to the Disney’s animated Sleeping Beauty, but would focus on the villain, Maleficent. Let’s just say I freaked out. I was very excited, because this is my favorite Disney movie. Everyone who knows me is aware of how large of a fan I am. Sure I was a little bummed that Maleficent would be getting the focus because I wanted to see as much of Aurora as well, but I would take what I got. When things got a little more serious they announced that the film would actually go into production, they gave it a tentative release year of 2013. That was a maybe in the film world at that time. Hollywood was a different beast at the time with the writers’ strike ending and the economy hitting the studios hard as well as movie goers. Giving a film this far in advance date could have easily have been a death sentence. Well, the movie made it, and what a movie it was.
The movie focuses on Maleficent’s character and her journey before she appears at Aurora’s christening. We get to follow her as a child and watch her grow through the trials and tests that are thrown at her. The biggest trial she goes through is love, the largest battle that she faces throughout the entire movie. As she takes this journey, the audience can begin to piece together the beloved animated film coming to life around her as she interacts with it.
I knew going into the movie that it would be epic to see and would really focus on Maleficent. I expected it to be good, because it was Disney, whose lowest standard is still pretty good in comparison to most other companies. I did not however expect it to be fantastic. I say this coming in as an already prepared critical fan due to my love of the original animated classic. The entire film is presented as a fairy tale, and yes before you point out that Sleeping Beauty is actually a fairy tale, let me point out that Maleficent is not. She is a pure creation of Disney. This tale is spun with the aid of the beautiful and mythical scenery that is as magical as it is believable. This is just the first 15 minutes.
The part of the movie that impressed me the most was the Sleeping Beauty tale. It was just as vital to the movie as Maleficent’s story. Let me warn you now that there are changes to Aurora’s tale, which give her character way more depth and in a very good way. Aurora is very important to this story and to Maleficent’s character. Their interaction with one another creates the major conflict for Maleficent each time she and Aurora cross paths.
I just thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I loved the realism, even with fairies, that was put into the story. I loved, loved Angelina Jolie as Maleficent. She was fantastic and perfect, which was expected since she was first cast for the part. Elle Fanning’s Aurora was a perfect balance to Angelina Jolie’s mystery and darkness, embodying everything that makes a trademark Disney princess but also making her real and believable. The story was compelling from start to finish, and I am just sad that it was only ninety-eight minutes long and not more.
For those of you who are a bit unnerved by Maleficent if not terrified by her. I don’t blame you. I have always stated that she is one of the darkest and evil characters Disney every created. I don’t think I can say that honestly anymore, because if I was Maleficent, I probably would have done the same thing. If there was ever to be a movie that could take Maleficent from a terrifying level to an understandable one, it will be this movie.
It is a perfect addition to the summer movie blockbuster list and a great family outing in my opinion. While there are some parts that can be considered violent like a couple of battles and attacks on Maleficent, I don’t think they are any worse the battles seen in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I even feel that the battles in that movie are a little more focused upon and personal than they are in Maleficent. There is a character death, but it is not gory. It is however focused on, because it is important for the story. I would confidently say that ages eight and older should be fine with this movie, but again it is up to your parental discretion on what your children can handle. Beat the summer heat with a family trip to the theater to enjoy Maleficent. Some of you might even see me, because I plan on going again.
All photos are courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.