Movie review by Rashid Irani: just for Angelina Jolie, Maleficent is a must-watch

  • Maleficent

    Maleficent explores the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain from the classic Sleeping Beauty and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her ...

  • Sam Riley

    Diaval is Maleficent’s loyal servant, who, on her command, can take on different forms to suit her purposes. He serves as Maleficent’s conscience and has ...

  • Elle Fanning

    Princess Aurora is a curious and thoughtful child who develops a bond with nature that rivals only Maleficent’s. But as she grows, Aurora is caught ...

  • Stefan

    Stefan is a childhood friend of Maleficent’s who comes from the human kingdom outside of the forest Maleficent calls home. Over time Stefan becomes consumed ...

Film: Maleficent
Direction: Robert Stromberg
Actors: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning

It's an auspicious match-up between actress and role. Returning to the big screen after a hiatus of four years, Angelina Jolie is bewitching as the titular mistress of evil in this live-action update of Walt Disney's iconic Sleeping Beauty (1959).

First-time director Robert Stromberg, a former production designer with back-to-back Oscars (Avatar, Alice In Wonderland) to his credit, melds eyeball-caressing visuals with storytelling skills.

Right away, we are transported to a forest kingdom brimming with magical folk both beastly and benign. Told from the perspective of the misunderstood villain (Jolie), the narrative is recast as a tale of female empowerment.

Read: Angelina Jolie's daughter Vivienne debuts with mom in Maleficent

It seems that our anti-heroine is a tragic victim of circumstances. Driven by a desire to exact vengeance against the king (Sharlto Copley) who betrayed her trust, she casts a spell on his newborn daughter. In true fairytale tradition, though, the wronged woman has a change of heart and pitches her lot with the grown-up princess to ensure that peace returns to their kingdom.

Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville, British stalwarts familiar from the films of Mike Leigh, fetch up as the pint-sized pixies tasked with bringing up the young heir to the throne.

Some of the more harrowing scenes might frighten young viewers. The bland use of 3D is a further deterrent. If ever a film didn't need the murky added dimension, this is the one.

Sporting ruby-red lips, coloured contacts and swan-shaped horns, Angelina Jolie hasn't been as impressive since her Academy Award winning turn in Girl, Interrupted back in 1999.

Just for her, Maleficent is a must-watch.

 

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