Sleeping Beauty. Most remember the title from our childhood as one of Disney’s most loved animated fairy tales of 1959. Even if you weren’t born yet, the Disney classic has been carried on and on over the years. Much like many other classic animated Disney films, Sleeping Beauty has been transformed into the big screen in 2014 as, Maleficent. I was quite pleased with the outcome, as Angelina Jolie shined to bring this film to life whereas others failed such as; Kristen Stewart in Snow White and The Huntsman. Maleficent is told slightly different, than the original classic. This seems to be the case for all rewritten films nowadays. But don’t be fooled. Sleeping Beauty is a great childhood animated film, and Maleficent’s apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
The story follows a young delightful fairy named Maleficent (later played by; Angelina Joile) who lives in The Moors, a magical place few humans dare to venture. As she grows, Maleficent meets a young boy named Stefan (later played by; Sharlto Copley). The two become close friends and eventually their hearts grow into much more. Filled by greed, Stefan desires the crown to his kingdom at all cost. Maleficent is caught in Stefan’s path and betrayed by his lust for power. Nothing like a woman scorn they say. During the celebration of the King and Queen’s birth of their newborn baby girl, Aurora (Elle Fanning), Maleficent casts an evil spell on the princess due to the anger filled within her for Stefan’s wrong doing. The spell will take effect when she turns 16, where no magic can undo and only a true loves kiss can break the hold.
The journey takes a deeper look into the life of Maleficent and how she came to be. It was much more than the evil we knew her as, leading you through a heartfelt struggle she suffered at the hands of Stefan. Jolie really excels in her performance and molds this film into much more. Without her, Maleficent might have faltered. Fanning does well as Aurora, her youthful spirit and beauty come through in the character. As for Copley, he did not impress me at first when he was a peasant. His role as King was much better and improved as the film went on.
Visually, Maleficent was stunning. The colorful scenes reminded me of something out of the 2010 film Alice in Wonderland or even Avatar. The special effects with Maleficent’s magic, mystical creatures from The Moors and backdrops were excellently done. Costume design was a plus as well. Some might fault this film for not sticking exactly to the original story, but I say keep an open mind and you will be impressed the same. Directed by Robert Stromberg with screen-writing by Linda Woolverton and Paul Dini, Maleficent is a great summer family movie to go see. I caution bringing young children though, from what I heard about casting, they had to cast Jolie’s own children because most other children were terrified of her in costume.
Maleficent is a great family film to see this summer. Relive a childhood classic through the outstanding performance of Angelina Jolie.