Director: Robert Stromberg
Main actors: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning and Sharlto Copley
Production: Walt Disney
Running time: 1h 37m
Maleficent is a 2014 movie directed by Robert Stromberg that once again, in the form of live-action, tells the story of The sleeping beauty. While not deviating at all from the original plot, it amplifies it, serving both as prequel and as sequel, even if the thing that makes it special is that the story is entirely narrated on the villain’s point of view, that is Maleficent. In fact the movie spreads what are the reasons why this fairy throws the famous curse and what happens after Aurora’s awakening.
Maleficent is introduced as a good fairy (although her appearance resembles more that of a harpy) that protects the clearing, full of magical creatures, from the thirst for power of the near kingdom men. But when she is betrayed by the man who had given her the true love kiss, Maleficent gives way to negative feelings; she self-proclaims herself queen of the clearing and spends her days plotting her revenge.
Aurora is a minor character compared to what one can think, the movie wanted to give her the appearance of a princess who acts and does not “sleep” as in the cartoon, but the hard truth is that she does not hit. She is relegated to a secondary status and her character is apparently used as a mere pretext to tell the story of her antagonist.
Similarly king Stephen is an underdeveloped villain, I wish they had explained what was due to his thirst for power.
The special effects are stunning, it is clearly that this is a movie with a high budget, and it is nice to see how they attempt to remember the 1959 animation – a clear example is the raising of the brambles. Moreover, the pace of the narration manages to alternate moments of calm with battle scenes so easily, making sure the viewer is not distracted.
The assembly and the lights are important because through them we can distinguish the characteristic feelings of the scene, as is the case of the magic of the fairy, green when it is negative, golden when it is beneficial.The dialogues between the characters are very good but a lot of emphasis, as in all the other aspects of the movie, is placed above all on those of Maleficent, especially when she makes the curse and in one of the decisive scenes in the end. Her costumes are very nice; you know, the dark is a style that never fades, but I would have preferred to see, both in Maleficent’s dresses and makeup, a touch of purple, so characteristic of the epic character of the cartoon.
I admit that I don’t love Angelina Jolie as an actress, but I have to say that her performance was really sensational, perhaps one of her best performances in recent years. She even wanted to do herself all the action scenes without using a stuntman.
The soundtrack is appropriate to interpret the emotions of the movie, and I loved the final version of Once upon a dream sung by Lana Del Rey.
There are a lot of themes in the movie, but the main two are related to feelings. In the first, in fact, we see how a young and innocent Maleficent, pained by a violation that is both physical and psychological, refuses to believe in love forever and walks on the path of revenge. The second, closely related to the first, shows that there are different kinds of love, and not only that between man and woman. Indeed, throughout the film, Maleficent, rather than seems Aurora’s fairy godmother, seems a kind of foster parent, who, despite having no blood ties with the child, is able to establish a strong bond with her.
Finally, the moral of the film seems to be that it is not good to act when one is taken by emotions, especially grief and anger, because you can do things that you will regret in the future.
The strength of the film are definitely the special effects, well-kept and that create an entirely new universe of fantastic creatures. Its weak point is perhaps to be developed on the figure of the villain par excellence for 55 years now. Did we really need to redeem Maleficent?