There have been a bunch of movies coming out lately that are twists or reworks of old Disney stories, like “Snow White and The Huntsman.” The most recent example of this reworking was the movie “Maleficent”, which centers around the villain of the original “Sleeping Beauty” movie. Because there was big hype around this movie, and the idea interested me, I went and saw it. So, was it any good or worth the money? Let’s see.
“Maleficent” centers around the villain, Maleficent. The movie starts off with Maleficent as a young fairy. They say that she is one of the most powerful fairies there are. Right off the bat, I liked the way Maleficent and all of the fairy creatures looked. It was pretty cool. Maleficent had her famous, dragon-looking horns on her head and huge, bird-like wings on her back. These creatures were not in the old story, but they were a very nice additive to the movie. I especially liked the treant people, they were awesome. The visuals and special effects of the movie were very good and probably one of the best parts about the movie. I really liked the way everything looked, but how about the characters?
Basically, there were only two major characters in the movie that I liked. Angelina Jolie did a very good job as Maleficent. The other character I liked was Diaval, Maleficent’s pet raven. Now, just to clear it up, Diaval turns into a human and has an actual character in this version; he isn’t a simple pet raven like Diablo in “Sleeping Beauty.” Maleficent and Diaval were great, but I basically didn’t really care for any of the other characters, including Aurora. It feels like they got so excited about making Maleficent and Diaval really awesome that the other characters almost got forgotten about. Then they thought, “Oh yeah, we have other characters to deal with…oops.” I would be very mad about this, but as a writer and creator of characters myself, I understand that this kind of thing can happen and not be on purpose.
So, was there any deep meaning or really cool references to “Sleeping Beauty” in this movie? Not really. I didn’t find any nice symbolism, cool references, or any really deep background thought in this movie. It was pretty much a case of “We want Maleficent to be really cool,” which they managed. As for the stuff that did reference the original story, how was that exactly? To me, it felt kind of forced and poorly put together at some points. As an example, they had to have Maleficent’s famous staff in the movie. Basically, Maleficent woke up, grabbed a little stick, turned it into a staff, and used it as a walking stick for a bit. This felt very forced because in the old story, her staff was magical, powerful and had a reason for existing. In this movie it was kind of like “Hey, how are we going to put the staff thing in?” and the director said “Eh, give her a stick or something, I guess.” This is a very minor point, but there were other more major things that had this same feeling of being forced. The prince was another example of something that seemed to have absolutely no reason for being there. I think they would have been better off by saying that if something couldn’t fit in a nice way, then don’t have it in the movie. They wanted to keep some stuff to the original story, but this is a rewrite, so you can do whatever you want, really.
I really did like the character of Maleficent. However, I think the biggest thing that bugged me about her was a lack of explanation or reason. Maleficent basically had the powers of a god; she could control people, use curses, and grow giant, thorny walls of death everywhere. They gave no reason for why she had these powers beyond saying that she was the most powerful fairy in existence. The other fairies had no sign of even the slightest level of magic compared to Maleficent. It was a throw away answer. I understand that Disney never explained Maleficent in the original story either, but this was a good opportunity to give an answer. The other part that had me a little confused was the way Maleficent acted at times. Sometimes, she seemed very evil and angry at the humans, and she had good reason as to why. But sometimes, she seemed a lot nicer. She acted very evil and then out of nowhere started being very nice to a certain character for no reason at all.
I won’t explain the whole story of the movie, but I will say I liked this story better than the original “Sleeping Beauty.” Maleficent actually made a better main character; she is just generally more awesome. The story had a nice twist on the concept of saving the princess and having prince charming be a big hero. I think doing this rewriting was a good idea, and it had some nice twists in it.
Well, did I absolutely love it? Not really. Did I absolutely hate it? Also no. This movie was in the middle. There were a lot of parts that I think were pretty good, and I think that centering the story around one of the best Disney villains was a great idea. Let’s be honest; Maleficent is second to basically only Jafar in terms of really cool, old Disney villains. There were parts, however, that I think felt forced, or totally missed a chance. This movie had huge potential to do some really great things in my opinion, but I think it only touched on about half of them. Do I think this movie was worth the $15 that I payed? Well for one, the extra money for 3-D is never worth it unless you are seeing an IMAX movie. But no, I don’t think it was worth as much as I payed. I would say this movie is something you could wait for and then pay $5 to see on IO on demand. It comes down this; it wasn’t as good as I was really hoping it would be, but it isn’t a bad movie by any means.