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Disney’s Maleficent has been impressing at the box office and is proving once again that movies that are helmed by a female lead can hold their own at the box office. Maleficent is beautiful on the screen and is the perfect vehicle to showcase the amazing acting talent of Angelina Jolie that is only getting better with time.
The film opens with the explanation of “let’s tell an old story anew” to the audience. That's what Maleficent aims to do as a film; it tries to tell the classic story of Sleeping Beauty from the point of the main villain, Maleficent, in a new way that fans might not be expecting. Fans do get to know more of the background story about Maleficent and dive deeper into her character to see what events turn her down an evil path.
Maleficent opens with the audience getting to know Maleficent as a young fairy who falls in love with a human boy. The movie shines when it explains the character of Maleficent, and explaining what is truly going on inside her heart and mind.
The movie quickly transitions into the very famous scene from Sleeping Beauty that shows Maleficent casting a curse on Aurora. The curse is that on her sixteenth birthday she will touch a thimble on a spinning wheel and fall into a death like sleep. This curse can only be broken by true love's kiss.
Aurora, played by Elle Fanning, grows up throughout the film with her three fairies looking out for her; the fairies provide some comic relief and add a fun element to this villain focused him. The relationship between Jolie and Fanning has strong chemistry and makes the audience really believe that Maleficent would care about Aurora. It is this relationship that shows the conflict between Jolie’s character and Fanning.
Overall, the story line does intertwine well with the original story, but the character development falls short for the other characters in the film. Fanning is impressive as Aurora, but isn’t given much time to develop her character on screen. The major highlight of the film is anytime that Jolie is on the screen. This is one of her best performances on screen.
Maleficent does impress visually, and it's clear that the audience is supposed to be transferred into this magical fairytale world. Director Robert Stromberg, is known for his work on Pan’s Labyrinth, in which he created an entire dark and complex universe. That same talent comes across in Maleficent as well, but this world is more full of life and color compared to that of Labyrinth.
Where this film lacks is that Jolie is never truly evil. The movie has been promoted as the story of Maleficent, but it becomes more about her relationship with Aurora.
The story is one that audiences have seen before and know, but it is the performance that Jolie gives that makes this movie worth seeing. Maleficent stands out amongst many remakes of classic animated features.
Overall, the movie has been created for a younger audience, at times the film has a few dark moments but it is a good film for children to go see. The movie never goes into a dark enough places that might upset the younger movie going audience.
It will be up to the audience to decide how truly evil Maleficent is.