Review : – Maleficent (2014)

A re-imagination of a beloved classic, a labour of love from a massive hollywood personality as well as a fantasy film that competes heavily with the larger epics that have come before, Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ is a family friendly film with great spectacle and effects. By advancing the plot of the already released – and adored – ‘Sleeping Beauty’,    manages to create further depth to some of Walt Disney’s most treasured characters. By focusing the narrative on the antagonist of the aforementioned source material, this film manages to feel fresh in its take on an already well established plot.
Showcasing the entire life of the title character Maleficent – the original films green fairy whom curses the young princess to an eternal slumber on her sixteenth birthday – the film outlines the reasons behind her cruelness and hatred towards the royal family that feature heavily within the plot. By showing the character from innocence to evil, the film draws great sympathy from the audience, the one emotion that carries heavily throughout the films rather short duration. By showing the title character in such a way, Angelina Jolie – as well as the younger portrayals – draw upon the human element of a fantasy creature, with a feeling of warmth created in the process.

Carrying a strong cast that includes; the aforementioned Jolie, Sam Riley, Elle Fanning and Sharlto Copley, the world envisioned onscreen holds enough ‘A’ list players that it seamlessly works.

Angelina Jolie is stunning in her performance of Maleficent, fully embodying the different characteristics within the portrayal. An obvious labour of love to the original, the role is performed in a high respectable manner – only progressing the already established character further. Carrying the film throughout, this role could well be her best performance yet. Being of the fantasy genre, the production has a variety of characters with
in its narrative. With regards the strength of the films performances, it is to be noted that ‘Maleficent’ has much better portrayals on the more mystical creations, with each actor fully embodying their characters to perfection. With regards to the human characters that feature, sadly the film lacks the level that is required. With the main human roles appearing wooden, the film is a lot better within the magical moments that feature. Although this is not a game wrecker, the unbalance between the cast does mean for the film to struggle in keeping pace during the human side of the plot. After Jolie, the performance that stands out most is that of Sam Riley – in the role of shapeshifting crow, Diaval.Maleficent

The background career of this films chosen director Robert Stromberg, within the filmmaking process of special effects, really comes to the forefront within the design and craft of the cinematic world that features. By designing and animating an entire mythos within this films narrative, the director and filmmaking team manage to create something that is special to witness. Produced to a high quality standard, ‘Maleficent’ works well in showcasing a fantasy realm that blossoms entirely onscreen. Disney have chosen well with the director of this production, thus the film reaps many rewards for the braveness in which the studio held. Overall the film easily brings audience members into the world relayed onscreen, enhancing engrossment and attachment to all the major characters that feature and the world in which they inhabit.
By having such a visionary world in which the narrative takes places, the film creates enough to feel fresh and unique throughout – and as such not a complete live action remake of an already well known masterpiece. This uniqueness really works in making ‘Maleficent’ a worthwhile watch.

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Casting actors that look and embody the animated characters in Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ , the film is instantly recognisable and as such a worth while companion piece to the heavily liked original. Using key criteria in the definition of this production, the studio and moviemaking team have done wonders in bringing animation to another film median. By holding a vision throughout its creation, the film works on many different levels. However, come its close the film does struggle to linger in the mind after the credits have rolled. This therefore shows that ‘Maleficent’ lacks the cutting edge that most modern day fantasy films carry. A shame when put into consideration the outstanding portrayal of the title role.

‘Maleficent’ is dense enough with its enhancement of character development from the original, showcasing the story for an entirely different generation of cinema-goers. By bringing the perspective to another side in the story, the film finds its selling point and goes heavily with achieving its vision, and that of the film directors. Each character is instantly recognisable and rather engrossing to watch, bringing the sweet story to life well. A family friendly film that is suitable for all audience demographics, ‘Maleficent’ is a stand out film for those evenings in with children. The Special effects that feature in this film, are done to an almost perfect standard. However, come its human side, the film lacks the spectacle and scope that is found throughout the fantasy elements. A cinematic world wonderfully brought to life onscreen, the films explores fully the untold origin of one of the most iconic film villains ever created. It is touching therefore, to find Jolie at the core of what works well within the film, a truly respectable portrayal of an obviously loved character.

Disney’s latest production is somewhat of spectacle to watch, especially for the younger demographics that view cinema as an escapism from real life. By trusting a visionary director- who has a background in special effects production – the film (and its studio) is payed off with a product that is fun, mystical and well crafted throughout. Where some of the cast may come across wooden in their individual performances, the strength of Angelina Jolie’s title character, both saves the finished production as well as bring true empathy to the origin of such a cinematic creation. Through being outstanding within her presentation of such a character, Jolie manages to bring the role to life with such conviction that multiple layers are found under the surface of her already established image.maleficent-poster-banner

Plot Storyline – 3
Acting – 4
Direction – 3
Special effects – 4
Retrospect – 2
Overall – B

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