Movie review by Rashid Irani: just for Angelina Jolie, Maleficent is a must-watch | movie reviews | Hindustan Times
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Movie review by Rashid Irani: just for Angelina Jolie, Maleficent is a must-watch

The actor is bewitching as the titular mistress of evil in this update of Walt Disney's iconic Sleeping Beauty. Told from the perspective of the misunderstood villain, the narrative is recast as a tale of female empowerment.

movie reviews Updated: May 31, 2014 19:00 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Maleficent

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.