In theatres tomorrow from director Robert Stromberg and Walt Disney Pictures is the story we never knew about the one called MALEFICENT.
This film tells the story of Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), a winged and beautiful creature who lives in the moors. In the neighboring human kingdom a young man named Stefan (Sharlto Copley) befriends her and they fall in love.
But as the years pass, Stefan stays more in the human kingdom. As the king declares war on the moors, Maleficent protects their home taking on the ruler. When she keeps them at bay, the king declares that anyone who brings down Maleficent shall be rewarded with the crown to his kingdom.
Turning on his friend, Stefan treats her with cruelty and becomes king of the land. Angered by everything her friend has done, Maleficent becomes dark and angry. Years later, through her crow-panion Diaval (Sam Riley), she learns that Stefan and the Queen are the proud parents of a baby girl.
On the day she is presented, Maleficent arrives uninvited to give the child a gift. On her sixteenth birthday, the girl-child Aurora will prick her finger and fall into a deep sleep. The only thing to do now is for the king to give his child to the three fairies Flittle (Lesley Manville), Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton) and Thistletwit (Juno Temple) who take her deep into the woods and keep her away from the castle until the day after her 16th birthday.
During those years, Maleficent watches Aurora (Elle Fanning) grow and even befriends her. Always clear that the day of the dreadful curse is to come, Maleficent must chose anger or love before it’s too late!
FINAL WORD: Jolie as Maleficent is stunningly beautiful, delightfully wicked and emotionally striking. I enjoyed watching this character come to life and face the same struggles as any human and that is the betrayal of someone we love. Jolie brings an edge to Maleficent and although she seems hard hearted, her face tells us otherwise. What a fantastic role to have taken on!
Fanning as Aurora is charming and gives the role the sense of innocence that one would expect from a young lady living in seclusion. Her friendship with Maleficent is based on trust and a life she has come to love.
Manville, Staunton and Temple as the three fairies are downplayed here. Instead of loving and caring fairies they are the three stooges who are clearly incapable of taking care of a child! Thank goodness for Riley as Diaval who does what ever is necessary to help Aurora thrive!
Copley as Stefan really doesn’t work for me at all. His accent was muddled (not sure what that was about) and the emotions he puts out just don’t seem genuine. Now the moments of crazy are pretty intense but even then I was never quite sure how he became the center of attention.
Other cast include: Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip, Kenneth Cranham as King Henry and Hannah New as Princess Leila.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give MALEFICENT four tubs of popcorn out of five. Yes it is a little difficult to bring together the SLEEPING BEAUTY story of my youth and this new story of MALEFICENT. That’s what happens when those of my generation latch on to the things that brought us joy in childhood.
That being said, MALEFICENT can be taken as the ‘other side of the story’ since that is also what we were taught as children of a different time. The film is brilliant with effects (although the 3D isn’t necessary), colorful and dark, with a cast that works well together in bringing the story to the screen.
Disney is going to win a newer audience over and as I was leaving the theatre tonight for another film, saw the lines have already begun to see MALEFICENT. People were wearing their horns, costumes and excitement to see what is going to be a hit!
In the end – evil has a beginning!