What turns someone evil? What is a hero and what is a villain? These are the questions Maleficent asked its audience. Maleficent is a film about a vengeful fairy who turned psycho after her romance went south with a peasant human. She becomes hateful and stayed inside the woods, while the peasant married a princess and ruled the kingdom. After a while they have a daughter, Princess Aurora. While the whole kingdom rejoice for their new princess, Maleficent crash the party and put a curse on the newborn. However, little did Maleficent know that this baby girl holds the key to their land’s peace and her own curse.
Director Robert Stromberg who previously worked as a special effects artist do know his tech stuff. His direction is actually good for a first timer. While the movie looked gorgeous, the editing can appear disconnected at times. It jumps hastily without really developing the characters. Albeit that all, Maleficent is nothing short if not a Gothic galore: the clear-cut cinematography by Dean Semler and amazing background score by James Newton Howard.
Angelina Jolie, oh how I have missed your presence upon my computer screen. Playing the role as the wicked faerie, Mrs Jolie-Pitt looked like she is having a fun time throughout the movie. Whenever she is on-screen, it’s hard not to love her every moves and gestures. I guess this was the same reason why Angelina Jolie chose to star in this movie after a four-year gap. I think Elle Fanning’s performance as Princess Aurora is not bad either, but she is a second tier to Maleficent.
While the direction is adequate, the script by the great Linda Woolverton felt one-sided. We focus entirely on Maleficent that little time was put for another characters. Sharlto Copley’s King Stefan is my biggest concerned. I understand his character is bad because he is greedy but it feels rushed and forced in the end. But well, this is a Disney movie and we need a villain!
Maleficent also surprised me with its feminism subtext. I mean it’s about time we have multilayered female character whether it is adapted from children’s book or other sources, right? I personally love the twist in the classic “true love’s kiss” where it sends a loud and clear message to the audience that love is love no matter where it comes from.
Despite my slight complaints, in the end Maleficent puts an entertaining twist to the iconic Disney character and that’s not a bad thing at all.