Hello everyone! 🙂
Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!
Since I saw the latest live-action remake of ‘Lady and the Tramp’ recently, it’s only fair that I check out another live-action remake of another Disney classic. This is ‘Maleficent’, a live-action remake of the 1959 film ‘Sleeping Beauty’. I saw ‘Maleficent’ starring Angelina Jolie as the character on Disney+
I like ‘Sleeping Beauty’ as a Disney film. I wouldn’t say it was great, but it had three likeable good fairies in it that were like the film’s main stars and it had a superb villain in Maleficent. So, it was interesting to check out this film from the villain’s point of view. It also took on this ‘Wicked’ stance.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, ‘Maleficent’ was partly inspired by the musical stage show ‘Wicked’, based on ‘The Wizard of Oz’ film. I’ve not seen that stage show but I’ve heard it’s become popular over the years. How does ‘Maleficent’ compare to that? Well, I hope ‘Wicked’ is a lot better.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed ‘Maleficent’ in a strange way and even my Dad seemed to like it when he saw it. But if I’m really honest, I find the 1959 ‘Sleeping Beauty’ film to be better than ‘Maleficent’. ‘Maleficent’ seems to take on a haphazard approach to make the villain more the hero.
This, in my mind, is the wrong way to interpret Maleficent! I would’ve preferred it if Maleficent was a villain all the way throughout the movie rather than be a hero at the end. It’s like with ‘Venom’. He started out being villain-like before he became a hero, which in my mind is the wrong way to do him.
Also, the story and character motivations seem way-off compared to the 1959 ‘Sleeping Beauty’ film. In the film, it starts off with Maleficent being a young girl who falls in love with a human peasant boy called Stefan. She gets betrayed by him when she grows up since she has her wings cut off by him. 😐
Many years later, Maleficent curses Aurora, the newborn daughter of Stefan who becomes a king, to fall into a sleep-like death on her 16th birthday when she pricks her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. So in a sense, the movie does kind-of follow the story structure as ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
But the way it has Maleficent ending up raising Aurora and forming an attachment with her when she becomes 16 is rather badly-handled and lazily-written in my opinion. I would’ve liked it if ‘Maleficent’ ended up being a ‘Joker’ film where she was all evil and she succeeded in her evil plans.
The performances of the cast are very good mind. Angelina Jolie does deliver a good performance as the anti-hero, but like Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, I wish she was given a better script to work with. Also, who names their daughter with an evil name like Maleficent? She must have had cruel parents.
In case you’re wondering, the word ‘maleficent’ means ‘causing harm or destruction, especially by supernatural means’. The film also features Sharlto Copley as Stefan, who ends up being the villain instead of Maleficent here. It was bizarre once Stefan began getting crazy compared to him as a boy.
There’s Elle Fanning as Aurora, King Stefan’s daughter who ends up believing Maleficent to be her fairy godmother. There’s also Sam Riley as Diaval, a raven who’s given human form by Maleficent. I actually would’ve found it interesting if Diaval became Aurora’s love interest instead of Prince Philip. It was very disappointing though when Diaval ended up being the dragon instead of Maleficent here.
The film also features the three ‘good’ fairies that ended up being ‘very annoying’ compared to the 1959 film. There’s Imelda Staunton as Knotgrass the red fairy, Juno Temple as Thistlewit the green fairy and Lesley Manville as Fittle the blue fairy. In fact, those weren’t their names in the original film. They were Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. Why did they change their names in ‘Maleficent’?!!!
There’s also Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip, Kenneth Cranham as King Henry and Hannah New as Princess Leila who ends up marrying Stefan (although we don’t see much of her in this). There’s also Janet McTeer as the elderly Aurora who narrates the film. She sounds so different to Elle Fanning. 😀
So yeah, ‘Maleficent’ wasn’t really my cup of tea. I’m glad I’ve seen it on Disney+ and I did find it entertaining in a strange way. I think ‘Maleficent’ could’ve been better in a more ‘Joker’ route compared to the ‘Venom’ route it took. If you want a proper ‘Maleficent’ film, check out the original 1959 ‘Sleeping Beauty’ film. It’s not great, but I find Maleficent to be a better villain in that than this.
Will I check out ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ next? Well, you’ll have to wait and see. 😀
Thanks for reading!
Bye for now!
Great review Tim, completely agree, flipping Disney won’t take risks keep it kid friendly with PG-13/12A scares.
imagine if this had made this in the 80’s how much darker & scarier it could’ve been.
Jolie perfect for the role but the script hampers her performance which feels restrained.
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Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Maleficent’. It’s interesting to compare how great Disney was back then when it started around the 1930s and such and how it had its moments in the 1990s and the 2000s. Now it seems Disney is more profit-hungry and less interested in proper storytelling and character development in certain films.
I can imagine it being more darker and scarier if ‘Maleficent’ was made in the 1980s. I just wish they went out full-on villain with Maleficent’s character rather than make her out the ‘hero’ she ended up being. Angelina Jolie’s great as Maleficent but indeed, like you and I have said, the script works weakly for me.
If you want another rant from me, check out my review on ‘Artemis Fowl’. Trust me, it’s bad! Really, really, bad. 😀
Many thanks for your comments.