Pretty good

I wasn't expecting much from this 'dark' re-imagining of a Disney Classic. I'm probably still bitter over Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland which failed to live up to the original film and disappointed by not delivering what seemed like a sure fire surreal hit considering Burton's previous films (Edward Scissorhands being one of my favourite films ever). I thought this was going to be the same except that the Disney film it was based on, Sleeping Beauty, was rubbish.

Maleficent mixed up the originals story in some interesting ways which helped with some of the more boring aspects of the cartoon. For example, the fairies no longer play a central focus in the story. True they were the best part of Sleeping Beauty but that film had Aurora, possibly the most bland princess ever conceived and Prince Philip who was Aurora's true love. Presumably they were matched together by their complete lack of interesting personality. Maleficient's Aurora is far superior, she smiles a little too often but ultimately she seems like a genuinely nice girl and at worst comes off as in offensive. Prince Philip is played as a young teenager who has a small role in the story which matches the older Disney cartoon but in this he isn't tasked with saving Aurora. That role is given to Maleficent herself.

Spoilers beyond this point

Maleficent comes to know Aurora and loves the girl that she cursed. Eventually she tries to break her own spell, by getting Philip to kiss her. Once this fails she gives Aurora a kiss on the forehead saying she is sorry and this breaks the spell. This version is far smarter than Philip's kiss working since the two barely know each other, a fact mentioned by Philip himself. There some other good twists on the story too. Maleficent adds in the clause that love's true kiss can break the spell to spite the king who once loved her but betrayed. Aurora thinking that Maleficent is her fairy Godmother allows for the two to meet and a relationship to build.

Oh and Angelina Jolie is pretty damn good in this. She is in turns menacing, compassionate and always entertaining. She features heavily in all the adverts and bears the responsibility of being the lead character extremely well. There are some silly/annoying things. The random war at the beginning doesn't really mean a lot to the audience since you have no idea who anyone is yet, the fairies are still annoying and the narration throughout seems a little redundant since it adds nothing to the story but these can be overlooked for the rest of the film is good.

The film is worth seeing for Jolie, it's worth seeing to see the new takes on an old and outdated fairy tale and, most compelling, it's worth seeing to override the old film's dullness.

Imran Khan - 29/05/2014