A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land's fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal - an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces a battle with the invading king's successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom - and perhaps to Maleficent's true happiness as well.
1 win & 2 nominations.
More well-intentioned than accomplished.
Why tell the Sleeping Beauty story anew? With this half-hearted film, Mr. Stromberg, the visual effects wizard behind such big-budget blockbusters as "Oz the Great and Powerful," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Avatar," can’t provide an answer.
The aggressively unpleasant visuals certainly detract from the overall film, but Maleficent makes for a fascinating entry in an ongoing wave of projects that give “bad” women of literature a chance to present their side of the story.
With more actual grrrl power, Maleficent would be a bold redo. Instead, it's a beautiful snooze, a story that hints at the darkness underneath our fairy tales and tarnishes the idea of true love without quite daring to say what's really on its mind: that even the best of us might not live happily ever after.
Uncertain of tone, and bearing visible scarring from what one imagines were multiple rewrites, the film fails to probe the psychology of its subject or set up a satisfying alternate history, but it sure is nice to look at for 97 minutes.
Whatever its flaws, Maleficent is a family-friendly Disney adventure that offers a relaunched and thoroughly delightful Angelina Jolie.
For all its limitations, Maleficent manages to be improbably entertaining to watch, due solely to its title character. As befits a star of her regal standing and superb self-awareness, Angelina Jolie has managed to bend even the Brothers Grimm to her indomitable will.
Though it never plays like a polemic, the film has so much it wants to say the emotional power that might have made it a classic is undercut.
Jolie’s commitment to the part is admirable: She gives this Maleficent a real emotional urgency. But the rest of the movie lets her down.
Jolie's performance so overshadows the rest of the cast (and the rest of the movie) that you sometimes feel as if the other characters are, like us, just standing around watching her. This is not, however, the fault of the other actors. It's the fault of screenwriter Linda Woolverton, who doesn't give them much to do that's challenging or interesting.