“The awful thing about life is this: Everybody has their reasons.” Maleficent has a very good reason. Sensational Jolie creates the character’s evolving emotions purely with her face.
It’s your task to make the villainous characters of The Brothers Grimm fairytales – the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel into sympathetic characters.
Go ahead. Try.
“The awful thing about life is this: Everybody has their reasons.” THE RULES OF THE GAME (1939)
MALEFICENT’S origin: Little Briar Rose, the classic, beloved fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm was based on La Belle au dois doremant (The Beauty sleeping in the Wood) by Charles Perrault. In 1959 Walt Disney produced the animated musical film SLEEPING BEAUTY.
MALEFICENT retells the tale from the viewpoint of Maleficent. Why did she put a curse on Princess Aurora? Frankly, will there be a female in the audience who could not relate to Maleficent’s act of revenge?
There are two worlds – the world of the magical creatures of the Moors and the world of humans. When a mere child, the faerie Maleficent meets and falls in love with peasant Stefan, a human with ambitions.
When they grow up, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) becomes a powerful faerie. Stefan (Sharlto Copley) goes on to create a presence in the human world’s king’s court. He wants to be named king but only after he succeeds in the King’s wishes to destroy Maleficent. Seeking Maleficent after many years have passed, instead of killing her, Stefan mutilates her destroying one of her magical abilities. The king names Stefan his successor.
When Maleficent finds out Stefan has married a princess and they will be christening their first child, Aurora, she delivers her faerie blessing in the form of a curse. Cruelly treated by her true love Stefan, Maleficent’s curse damns the girl to eternal sleep if she is pricked by a sewing needle. If Aurora does live to her sixteenth birthday and is not pricked she will be spared the curse. Aurora can break the curse by receiving true love’s kiss. Maleficent knows – from firsthand experience – true love doesn’t exist.
King Stefan permits three faeries, Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton), Thistletwit (Juno Temple) and Flittle (Lesley Manville) to disguise themselves as humans and hide Aurora away until she is sixteen and a day. Stefan becomes an insane despot while the faeries try to take care of a baby. Maleficent begins to watch over Aurora as she grows. Finally, they meet and Aurora (Elle Fanning) tells Maleficent she has been aware her faerie godmother has been watching over her. Aurora loves Maleficent without knowing anything about the curse.
Aurora’s true kiss? What a beautiful twist!
The screenplay by Linda Woolverton is a marvel. The director, Robert Stromberg, creates a wondrous world. I have absolutely nothing critical to say about MALEFICENT. Jolie has created a character that will redefine this classic fairytale. While her lines are spare – she’s a powerful faerie who does not need to explain anything – her face expresses a variety of emotions as the character progresses through the film.
The special effects, the costumes, the makeup, and art direction – everything about MALEFICENT – is first rate. Forget about FROZEN. MALEFICENT is magic.
Film Critic for FilmsInReview.com, LasVegasInformer.com, and FilmFestivalToday.com
Member of Broadcast Film Critics Association: www.bfca.org/
Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/.
Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at firstname.lastname@example.org.