starring Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Leslie Manville
screenplay by Linda Woolverton
directed by Robert Stromberg
Based on the Disney animated movie Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is a dark tale of the competition between humans and fairies (Fair Folk)
Maleficent is the strongest of the Fair Folk. As such she becomes their leader by default when war with the humans comes once more. But Maleficent has a secret human connection. As a child she befriended a human boy. That boy matures to become king, and an eventual enemy of his one-time friend.
I was bothered by Maleficent’s appearance. Rather than a stereotypic Disney fairy, like Tinkerbell, she looks like a demon. Large in size, brown color, horns on her head, large gray wings on her back like a fallen angel or something. And that name, “Maleficent,” sounds like “malicious.” They all combine to make her appear the embodiment of evil.
Upon the birth of the human princess Maleficent pays a visit to his court ostensibly to bestow a gift on the girl. Instead she pronounces the terrible curse, that on her 16th birthday she will fall into a death-like sleep that can only be broken by love’s true kiss, an apparent impossibility. Over the course of the girl’s life Maleficent watches her. The girl knows it and wrongly thinks Maleficent is her fairy godmother. Maleficent falls in love with the princess and after her curse takes affect and she is in a death-like coma it is Maleficent’s own kiss that awakens her, not that of a boy-candy prince. I enjoyed that twist, but I still didn’t much care for the film. Disney pap.
I was interested to see Imelda Staunton, whose name and face I recognized from her performance as the hated Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (2010). In Maleficent Staunton plays Knotgrass, the leader of a trio of fairies charged with raising the princess in safety until she comes of age, away from the castle and her father. Her face was instantly recognizable from the Potter films.