Thursday, February 5, 2015

Maleficent - 2 stars out of 10

Maleficent - 2 stars out of 10

I am so angry about “Maleficent.”  What started as an interesting reinvention of the titular character quickly turned into an undoing of every key event from the original story.  This film started with so much potential to turn our perspectives inside-out by showing “what really happened,” but this only works if you rewrite the events within the context of the original storyline.  I’m a huge fan of experiencing a story from a different perspective, like when you rewatch “The Sixth Sense” after you know the twist, but this was more like experiencing an entirely different story.  I don’t understand why making the bad guy “good” required that some of the good guys to become “bad.”  I understand that Stefan chose power over love which leads to his bitter end, but his persona in the original is so likable that this doesn’t feel right.  As for Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, I didn’t find it necessary to modify their well-meaning-but-lovably-dim-witted characters into rude, selfish, and mean-spirited annoyances.  The animation of the three fairies was pretty magical, but I wasn’t digging the overly-computer animated forest creatures.  It had the same look as “Oz the Great and Powerful,” another Robert Stromberg film whose cartoony animation detracted from the story.  I also take issue with the casting of Elle Fanning as Aurora.  She is a fine actress, but I’m sure that there are 100 no-names that would’ve better embodied this iconic character, especially if they didn’t have black eyebrows [shaking my head]!  I could’ve gotten past most of these things if this film was done right… but then there’s the second half.  No.  Just no.  You can't rewrite the single most important moment in the entire movie.  These are professional scriptwriters.  They could've written the story in a way that would still preserve the ending but instead got too creative.  And then it continued to get worse.  My anger grew with each changed event, whether it was the dragon, the new character fates, or the final battle.  This was one of the greatest stories ever told and they killed it.  Perhaps the biggest insult is their attempt at justifying this complete debauchery of the story by saying "So you see, the story is not quite as you were told...”  No kidding, they would’ve been better off assigning new names to the characters and just creating a new story.  Why did they have to take away every piece of “Sleeping Beauty” that we love?  It would’ve been magical to see Aurora dancing with the forest creates to Lana Del Rey’s fascinatingly dark rendition of “Once Upon a Dream,” but they just pasted the song over the ending credits.  The only redeeming quality of this film is Angelina Jolie, who perfectly captures the mannerisms of Maleficent and effectively brings the character to life.  Other than that, the only practical application of this film is to ruin childhoods.

[Pictured: Angelina Jolie is truly the only reason to see this film]

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