With the release date of Maleficent for the UK being nearly a month ago I am sure you could gauge my interest based on the date that I have now managed to see it on. What intrigued me most about this movie is the mixed reviews it has received, although mainly negative I have more recently heard some positive reviews and wherever there is film debate happening I want in!
The story of Sleeping Beauty is a well known one and despite never having seen the film I had a good grasp of the events that take place. From the offset I really liked the idea of showing the story from the viewpoint of the villain, Maleficent. The possibilities of this concept are endless and I found myself wondering what other films it could possibly work with. However I have one main issue with this entire concept – a massive lack of continuity between Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent. As far as I can see the ending has been changed here just to show a different view point, and yes in the movie we are given the excuse that the story we were originally told wasn’t completely accurate however I felt that this was a complete cop out. The events in Sleeping Beauty have just been entirely discounted to fit the plot of Maleficent, I had no issues with the plot itself unfortunately just its conflict with the original story. That major flaw set aside, let’s look at the rest of the film and what it had to offer.
Angelina Jolie was great as Maleficent and gives us some real moments of brilliance as the winged creature. However a confused tone throughout the film makes for an unsettled finished picture. We get moments of darkness towards the start of the film but these are compromised by ridiculous humour and a more relaxed mellow feel towards the middle of the movie. This film tried to be both suitable for children and adults and I think this is where lies the problem. Personally I wanted to see this film be darker than it was, it had glimpses of it but as I said other elements took away from that, on the other hand if it wanted to be specifically for children I think it needed those darker moments removed and more generic Disney moments included. If this balance had of been corrected, either way a stronger movie could have been produced. Another flaw that was present in Maleficent was the extreme over use of CGI. At times I was dying just to see a real tree or river – I understand to create some environments CGI is necessary but here it was just overkill and I was so sick of it by the end.
What Maleficent does have going for it is a fantastic finale, this was easily the highlight for me. The entire film reminded me profusely of Snow White and The Huntsman (which I really liked) but the action in the finale was the closest that it came to mirroring this film. The finale is full of action and emotion and could easily have been lifted straight out of one of The Hobbit movies, I really did enjoy these scenes and it made me forget everything that I had issues with previously. I also thought that the character of Diaval was done really well and Sam Riley did a great job playing the human side of this character, this positive added a lot of quality to the piece. However the rest of the movie was filled with cliches and classic Disney moments, however that should be expected. Also every single scene that featured those three fairies I found myself becoming more and more irritated just because their characters were that annoying. In the end Maleficent has its moments, it really does however due to massive continuity flaws a confused tone and a heavy reliance on CGI I struggle to view this film in a hugely positive light. The finale most definitely saves it, but only just.
BIGGEST FLAW – Continuity issues and convenient plot point
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Awesome finale
Rating – 6/10