Maleficent (2014)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good visuals and Angelina Jolie is perfect

Story could have been edgier

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Maleficent

Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure/Family

Release Date(s):  May 28, 2014

MPAA Rating:  PG


I’m sure my life will be perfect!

Maleficent (Ella Purnell) grew up tied to nature but befriended a boy named Stefan (Michael Higgins).  When Stefan found the potential to become king, he chose to betray Maleficent.  Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) grew up and sought revenge on King Stefan (Sharlto Copley) cursing his baby daughter Aurora.  Under the protection of Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton), Thistlewit (Juno Temple), and Flittle (Lesley Manville), Aurora is spirited away to the woods to grow and break the curse…under Maleficent’s watchful eye.  As Aurora (Elle Fanning) grows, Maleficent’s feelings change…but what has been done cannot always be undone.


What witch woke up on the wrong side of the bed?

Directed by Robert Stromberg, Maleficent is a live action reimagining of Walt Disney’s 1959 Sleeping Beauty.  The movie was released to mixed reviews but performed strongly at the box office.  The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.

I really was disappointed by Disney’s last attempt to turn a classic story into live action.  Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was a really disappointing outing and a miserable cinema experience.  With a wary eye, I checked out Maleficent.  It was much better than that film, but still lacked something to make it a great film.


We look like the fairies but the dragon was way cooler animated…

I have never been a big fan of Sleeping Beauty’s story.  With things like Wicked really pushing the idea of reexamining fairy tales, it seems like a given that Disney can recycle a lot of their old stories.  By turning it into a story about Maleficent, it could have been a great companion piece…but Disney opted to change the story’s ending so it doesn’t mesh with the animated film (unlike Wicked).  The movie plods at points, but does have moments.

Angelina Jolie is perfect for the role of Maleficent.  The character was generally portrayed older and looked more like Gloria Swanson from Sunset Blvd., but Jolie brings an uneasy sexual nature to the story that runs as a bit of odd subtext to the story.  If the movie hadn’t been Disney, I would have liked to see this pushed further.  Many equated the cutting off of Maleficent’s wings as rape, but the relationship between Aurora and Maleficent could have been even more twisted.


Sleep well my beauty…hey…I got a name for this story!

Visually the movie does excel.  I like that it took the designs of Disney’s film which I still would argue could be Disney’s greatest animated feat…which as mentioned unfortunately it doesn’t have the story it needs to support it.  Everything from Maleficent’s style to the fairies provide great epic eye candy that is less claustrophobic than Alice in Wonderland’s vision by Tim Burton.

Maleficent is a movie that has problems, and I really want to like it.  It is a movie fighting to get up a hill, and it can’t quite reach the peak.  If the movie wasn’t targeted at children, I’d say it could have done it, but also as a movie for kids, it is a bit too extreme as well.  Though it might miss the mark, it is a slightly above average movie…but I’d stick to the animation.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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