Welcome to June, the month of non-franchises, non-apocalyptic and non-remake films. What I mean is, for the 4 films I plan to see this month, they will not be part of an established franchise like How To Train Your Dragon 2, have end-of-the-world themes like Edge of Tomorrow or are closely related to any existing films like Godzilla.
And what better way to kick-start this month than to talk about a film by the Franchise-generating monster that is Disney, on a story about the greatest* apocalyptic villain in animated history, in a live-action film that is partially a prequel of The Sleeping Beauty...I am of course referring to Maleficent.
(sorry, this film was inescapable, and the one I actually wanted to watch wasn't showing in my local cinema. I promise to do better next week!)
In one sentence, Maleficent is a film that invites you to leave your common sense at the door, and relish in Angelina Jolie.
Disney has been having a continued agenda with films like Enchanted and Frozen, which attempt to rewrite fairy tales to suit the needs of a modern audience by redefining what true love is, and in the mean time creating worlds where traditional villains can be empathized with while spitting in the face of incompetent authority reflecting public attitudes with their own governments I'm guessing.
The unnecessary social/political commentary and leftist brainwashing aside, this film has positives. It has stunning visuals, great cinematography, and does toy with an interesting change and a new take on the old Brothers Grimms tale. On the negative side, the film suffers from surprisingly poor direction, unbalanced execution, largely zero-dimensional character designs, and a plot that has more holes than swiss cheese.
The problems can destroy your suspense of disbelief, and disrupts the level of immersion and ominence a film focusing on Maleficent should have. It is a film that tries to appeal to too many people on too many levels but ends up only amusing a few in a couple of ways.
Despite this, I really, really loved Angelina Jolie's portrayal of Maleficent. Aside from praising her personal effort in what must be her best on-screen performance so far, I also nominate this as the best casting decision for a main character in any English film since Christopher Lee portrayed Saruman in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jolie is the only person in this film who I felt fully immersed herself in her role, and because of that, is the only character in this film who leaves any impression on me. And given that the film is meant to focus on her, job is very well done on that aspect.
So while the narrative, side characters and facepalm-worthy plot holes in this retelling of the classic sleeping beauty does destroy about half the experience, Angelina Jolie and a capable visual team proves to be the film's salvation, and makes the film overall worth the price of admission. Just remember to pick up your brain on the way out.
5.5 / 10.0
People (I think) who would enjoy this:
(But seriously, I gave up taking any mental notes for nitpicking purposes about 7 minutes in)