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

  • Rashid Irani, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 31, 2014 19:00 IST
  • Maleficent explores the untold story of Disney

    Maleficent: tale of an iconic villain

    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 pure heart...

  • 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 strong beliefs, which he is not afraid to act upon.

    Maleficent: tale of an iconic villain

    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 strong beliefs,...

  • 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 in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy.

    Maleficent: tale of an iconic villain

    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 in the middle of the...

  • 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 with his ambition to be King and will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

    Maleficent: tale of an iconic villain

    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 with his...

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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