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REEL REVIEWS: Jolie is cheeky as evil fairy
Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is a beautiful and powerful fairy. The unofficial guardian of the enchanted forest where many magical creatures live, all is well until the nearby human king wants the forest for his kingdom.
Amassing an army to take the forest by force, the king is turned away by the multitude of magical beasts who stand behind Maleficent.
On his deathbed, the king promises the throne to anyone who can kill Maleficent. An ambitious young commoner, known to Maleficent, chooses to use her trust to get close to her, but is unable to kill her. Instead he cuts off her wings which he presents to the king, gaining the throne.
Enraged by this violation, Maleficent curses the new king’s baby daughter, Aurora, who will become Sleeping Beauty before the sun sets on her 16th birthday. Before Aurora turns 16, Maleficent will have a change of heart, but nothing can stop her most powerful of curses and saving Sleeping Beauty may have to be left to someone else.
We say, “Maleficent may be a modern fairy-tale masterpiece.”
HOWE: Two words: loved it. When I saw the trailer for Maleficent six odd months ago I rolled my eyes, not because it was a re-telling of the classic story Sleeping Beauty, but because of having Angelina Jolie in it. I’m not a fan of her, as I don’t think she is that great of an actress, but in this she owns the screen every time she appears. She has made the character her own, much as Glenn Close did with Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians.
TAYLOR: Fairy tales, I think by definition, are vast, rich stories stemming from a time when magic was an acceptable answer for illogical plot points. So, we must, as an audience, suspend our disbelief, trading it in for a childlike innocence.
When a story takes place over a 20-year period, such as is the case with Maleficent, it must be told in broad strokes. So, the film suffers in that adult audiences don’t have time to grow attached to Maleficent herself, by the time her wings are cut off (which is sadly, an almost laughable performance.) However, kids appreciate character on a much baser level and due to this, the film works. If Maleficent smiles, has fun and is kind she is liked. When she suffers and appears to become vengeful, children understand. On the whole, it’s the best Disney film we’ve seen in a while, if only due to appearances.
HOWE: I don’t think taking younger kids to Maleficent will present a problem. Even though it does have a dark side to it, Disney has kept it pretty light and fun with the CGI woodland creatures, elves and fairies giving it a traditional pantomime feel to it. My only problem with it, and it’s not really that big a deal, is the casting of Sharlto Copley as King Stefan. When he delivered his lines they seemed a little cheesy. But if you can let a few things slide, kids and adults alike will have fun watching Maleficent.
– Taylor gives Maleficent 3 lessons in duality out of 5.
– Howe gives it 3.5 iron rings out of 5.
– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film critics based in Vernon, B.C.