Well, I guess Disney is remaking their beloved animated classics as live-action fantasies. Starting with Maleficent (the remake of Sleeping Beauty) and Kenneth Branagh’s remake of Cinderella, coming in 2015. As gratuitous as it truly sounds, I had high hopes for these movies. I saw Maleficent with a few of my friends from my Government class, and we had a good time with this movie. Although it’s not a great movie, there are a bit of good qualities to like.
The remake of Sleeping Beauty is told in Maleficent’s point-of-view. Before becoming evil, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is a fairy living in the kingdom of the Moors. She spends most of her time in the trees, testing her wings, and having a crush on Stephan (Sharlto Copley). As Maleficent becomes an adult, an army comes to invade the land. After getting her heart broken by Stephan, it completely drives her nuts. She places a curse on his infant daughter that by her 16th birthday she’ll be in death-like coma.
Angelina Jolie is downright perfect as the title character. With the red lipstick, green eyes, the horns, and the evil laugh, she gets the evil personality of Maleficent right on the money. There is also another side of the character that I surprisingly appreciated. I think Elle Fanning has a good future ahead of her, but he isn’t a good choice for Aurora. It’s not to say she did a horrible job. I find her fake English accent a bit distracting. Sharlto Copley does a solid performance as King Stephan.
Visually, the movie is breathtaking. Most of the time, the CGI works well combining to the actual scenery. There are times in the movie that reminded me of Avatar and The Lord of the Rings in terms of using CGI in real-life settings. There are a few times, however, where the CGI doesn’t work, especially with the three pixies. When the pixies become humans, they get more irritating with their comic relief. The tone can be unfocused, going from dark and serious to light and whimsical. I would have enjoyed the movie without a lot of narration. Nevertheless, Maleficent is a mildly enjoyable remake to the beloved Disney classic. I’m looking forward to see what Kenneth Branagh does with Cinderella.