Cast: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam
Riley, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson, Kenneth
Direction: Robert Stromberg
Duration: 1 hour 37 minutes
STORY: The old fairy tale of an evil queen who puts a curse on a baby gets aslick, modern makeover with a decidedly darker edge. REVIEW: As a young girl living in her fairy land, Maleficent isn’t an evil person to begin with. In fact, according to the back-story, her life was full of fantasy and wonder in the moors and the forest that she lived in.
But as time goes by, things change when King Henry (Cranham) decides to take over her beloved homeland. And that represents the clash between the two worlds – that of the humans and Maleficent’s kind. While she had befriended a boy called Stefan (played as a grown-up by Copley) when she was young, he later develops ambitions that would have far-reaching consequences in the story.
And so, Stefan transforms from a friend into an enemy, a transformation that is most chillingly depicted in one scene. The shock and betrayal that Maleficent consequently feels is therefore somewhat justified and understandable. Her grudge against Stefan begins here and she takes revenge on him in the best way she knows.
And as the fairytale goes, Stefan’s daughter Aurora, for no fault of hers, is cursed. But just when the story seems to take a predictable turn, we see an unexpected link begin to develop between Maleficent and the young Princess Aurora (Fanning) which is surprising as the two couldn’t be more different from each other – Maleficent is a brooding person whose confidant is a shape-shifting raven called Diaval (Riley), while Aurora is a charming and happy girl.
Aurora has a goodness about her that possibly reminds Maleficient of how she once was. Maleficent is pretty much Angelina Jolie’s vehicle all the way, because looking at how she fits this role down to the letter, it’s hard to imagine anyone else inhabiting the character of a good person-turned-evil as well as she does in this film. Fanning imbues her character with a freshness that balances off nicely against Maleficient’s demeanour. All in all, an imaginative take on the old classic.