Thursday, 29 May 2014

Maleficent - review

"Don't believe the fairy tale" cries the poster for Maleficent and it is a case of something Wicked this way comes as Disney attempts to repackage one of their most iconic villains as a sympathetic anti-hero.

But where Wicked succeeded in weaving an alternate view of a character into the backdrop of a pre-existing story, there are many moments in Maleficent that openly contradict the events in Disney's version of Sleeping Beauty.

Angelina Jolie is very good in the role but I wish she had been able to really cut loose of the shackles of the overly-CGI's Alice In Wonderland landscape and embrace the dark side and relish the chance to be bad.

Instead she becomes a surrogate "fairy godmother" character to Aurora as she watches over her following the curse and begins to regret her decision, which is written off as her having her heart broken by a man.

As well as continuing the run of alternate fairy tales such as Oz The Great & Powerful and Snow White And The Hunstman, it also reinforces the new direction that Disney is going in.

Despite the motivation of Maleficent being the actions of a man, there has been a noticeable shift in the past year to changing the age-old perception that a girl's idea of love and relationships come from Disney films.

In the past, girls have been raised on the idea that they need a handsome prince to save them and love them epitomised by the song Someday my Prince will come", which is ironic considering Sleeping Beauty's curse is activated by a tiny prick, and this film continues the groundwork laid by Frozen where "true love's kiss" comes from a sister or maternal figure and not the prince... not difficult in this particular film when the love interest is unfortunately called Prince Philip!

Terrible Scottish accents, an over-use of narration, a CGI battle that felt like it was out of The Phantom Menace and bland performances from the supporting cast meant that if it wasn't for Jolie this is one fairy tale that would have sent me into an eternal sleep.

2 stars

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