Yesterday it was my birthday! I was really stuck for what to do, that would appeal to both myself and the kids (plus at least be tolerable for Chris). I was pretty excited when I found out that Maleficent was released on Wednesday 28th and this soon became a firm decision for what we would do with the day.
The short description on IMDB is:
A vindictive fairy is driven to curse an infant princess only to realize the child may be the only one who can restore peace.
However I don’t think that’s very accurate. Their longer version (written by Walt Disney) is:
A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal – an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces a battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom – and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.
I’m a little happier with this description, though I think it doesn’t especially sell the movie. I also don’t want to tell you too much more though as I’m sure its a better movie if you haven’t had it spoilt for you.
Angelina Jolie is awesome in this movie – both as the good fairy and the evil Maleficent. While I have never really been a fan of Angelina herself, I have never disputed that I think she’s a great actress. Maleficent’s shoes must have been huge to fill, being such an iconic villain, but Angelina does a great job. However, in my opinion, the great cast ends there. While none of the cast are especially poor, Aurora is neither here nor there for me, Stefan is meh… (I probably dislike his character which maybe means the actor was good?), the three fairies are ridiculous and Phillip… well enough said!
The storyline, while not giving too much away, is COMPLETELY different to that of Sleeping Beauty. If you like the original and would cry to think it might be different, definitely do not watch this movie. However if you watch it for what is it, a twist to the original story – just like Wicked is to The Wizard of Oz – then its probable you’ll enjoy it. You see Maleficent’s character, from just a girl to growing up and becoming the evil villain. You see a whole different side to [King] Stefan, Aurora’s dad and while the story is slightly twisted, a fairly similar (and in my opinion) annoying Aurora (that’s perhaps a little unfair to the Disney animated version but certainly to OUAT’s Aurora). If you are a lover of the animated version, the three fairies will upset you incredibly. Flora, Fauna and Merryweather are just NOT in this movie. Their replacements, are (again in my opinion) a complete waste of time.
HOWEVER, putting aside all the possible issues you might have with this movie, I actually enjoyed it. I laughed, I cried and as I said before, Angelina Jolie was a great Maleficent. I personally like the twists this storyline took, I liked the added extras and I didn’t mind at all the bits they took out or changed (bar the three fairies perhaps). As a fan of the TV series, Once Upon a Time, even one of the twists wasn’t really that much of a surprise.
For me, as a lover of fairy tales and especially Disney, I would highly recommend this movie to go and see. Though it is a PG, I would also recommend it for kids. Megan at age 9, enjoyed it all and didn’t seem to get scared at any points. Lily however, at only 6, did hit a few points where she got scared – especially a fight scene towards the end with Maleficent captured and a fire-breathing dragon. However she was easily pacified and has done nothing but talk about the movie since. Even Chris, who on the whole prefers the darker Disney stories anyway, enjoyed the movie. I’m absolutely sure that this is a movie we will pick up on DVD when its released and if Lily is to be believed, she will be having a Maleficent party for her birthday next year…