Maleficent – Mistress of all Evil (Review)
So, I am a HUGE Disney fan. I think it’s an osmosis thing as my father is also a huge Disney buff and, in fact has a Disney room in my parent home. Oddly enough, however, I was never into the Princesses or Fairies or anything like that. Granted, I had a soft spot for Ariel cause, well, a red-headed mermaid that LOVES to sing? Yeah, that one’s right up my alley.
But ultimately, I was a Disney Villains girl through and through – to include Stitch.
But always, ALWAYS my favorites were the Evil Queen (lesser known as Queen Grimhilde; it’s no wonder she was so obsessed with vanity with a name that would cause me to be sour too!)
However, my heart tried and true always went to Maleficent. Yes, she’s an evil fairy. Yes, she curses a baby to die on her 16th birthday for nothing more than just being born and spiting the King and Queen to whom she was born. But there was something about the woman that just resonated with me. Not sure what that says about ME per se, but c’est la vie!
I was thrilled when Once Upon A Time mentioned that they would indeed have Maleficent in the show, as I fell in love with Lana Parrilla playing Regina/Evil Queen to counter Ginnifer Goodwin‘s Snow White. But I wasn’t at all happy with the work up that Maleficent got in the show and was duly disappointed in how she was portrayed.
Though played by Kristen Bauer van Straten (the infamous Pam from True Blood; so there was promise at least), OUaT’s Maleficent not only looked horrible, but lacked everything that she was supposed to be – wicked, delightful, elegant and menacing. Instead OUaT’s take on her was a cast off character who paled in ability next to the Evil Queen (which, as much as I LOVE Regina in the show, c’mon!) and who was at best fodder. Even in her dragon form, she was no match for, well, anyone. That is nothing against Mrs. Bauer van Straten at all. It’s simply how OUaT’s writers developed (or better, didn’t develop) the character. She had no OOMPH and even a solid actress in evil roles like Kristen couldn’t salvage her. I was ultimately disappointed at the loss of opportunity and potential for a good, solid, antagonist in the show to play off against Lana Parrilla. (Think of the triangle that would have made!) But I get it, with Regina and the formidable Robert Carlyle as devious, witty, insane and twisty Rumpelstiltskin, there would have been far too many villains for one show.
Needless to say, when I saw the initial teasers of Angelina Jolie portraying Maleficent in a full length movie, I was cautiously optimistic. I LOVE Angie, for a whole slew of reasons but also cause knowing her past, I knew she’d have to have to have some idea how Maleficent should be. Then when I started to see the trailers for the actual movie, I got really, really excited. She looked correct. She had the poise, grace, elegance and dripped in wicked from the scenes that they showed us. Now, lets just hope that the story and direction held up to the aesthetic.
Could I be optimistic? The more I saw the more anticipation grew.
Now, I haven’t been to an actual theater in over three years now. Its generally not worth the costs anymore and with a 52 inch flat screen and premium sound system at home with over 500 channels available to me, going to the movies and paying the exorbitant prices for them just isn’t my cup of tea anymore. I used the be the person that would boundfully take in at least one movie a weekend, if not more, and would gladly stand in lines for over an hour on opening night to be among the first to see a much-anticipated film. Not so much anymore. But Maleficent, she got me out of the house and into my local AMC on opening night no less. (Though apparently, no one goes to the movies anymore either as the 9:45 showing on a Friday was practically empty.)
Worse, as I sat down I prepared myself for the possibility that my expectations would not be lived up to (as is the case in far too many instances when it comes to retellings or reconstructions of much beloved characters) and settled in with my $11 cherry coke and popcorn.
I wont go into too many details with the story line itself because, ultimately, it’s rewriting that we thought we knew about the Mistress of All Evil. Jolie is a little too over the top in spots and I think there was some footage left on the cutting room floor which could have been added (the movie clocked in at an hour and 38 minutes, so they had a little room for additions) BUT the camp fits and isn’t over done so much that it turns the drama of the important moments into a comedy. There are, of course, the endearing moments and Maleficent is more than just a wickedly delicious evil fairy. Far more than that in fact.
Visually the movie is stunning and The Moors are someplace I would love to be able to live myself. Action fares well, and they dont scrimp on it. Magic, of course, abounds, and though the movie is quick there is decent character development in everyone except Aurora, who rightfully so is more an afterthought in this movie than in the original animated feature of her own name. Elle Fanning is somewhat annoying as Aurora actually as Aurora in the animated film comes across far more mature and intelligent than Fanning’s portrayal.
None the less, I enjoyed it and would gladly see it again, though I’m not sure I’m willing to shell out another $22 to see it. Maybe next time I’ll skip the soda and popcorn. Its a good film to take children over 6 to as some of the creatures may scary them just in their visage, but though the violence is well done, there is no blood that I saw and death was implied. Either way, it will be one I add to my collection when it becomes available on Blu-Ray and ultimately, I wasn’t at all upset with the retelling and was quite pleased with the work up that my favorite Disney character received. It makes me love her all the moor…
See what I did there?