I do movie reviews for one reason and one reason only: I love movies. When I’m offered the chance to preview a movie I’m dying to see anyway, it’s just icing on the cake. Such was the case with Maleficent.
When I first heard Angelina Jolie was playing Maleficent in a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale, I immediately thought it was a role she was born to play. It’s not that I think she’s evil per se. It’s just that I can see her relishing in the evilness of the role (as would I, frankly).
But I didn’t expect to feel so much empathy toward her character but I absolutely did. I knew that’s what I was in for but I was pleasantly surprised at how naturally it came. This was her movie and she owned it.
Now for everything else you might want to know before deciding if this is a movie for you.
What it’s about
Disney has created a retelling of the Sleepy Beauty fairy tale with the perspective shifted to Maleficent. If you’re a fan of the original Disney movie, Sleeping Beauty, you know that Maleficent feels slighted that she wasn’t invited to the christening of Princess Aurora and lays a curse on her as a baby. The movie Maleficent explains why she felt slighted, why she placed the curse, and what actually happened in the ensuing 16 years.
What I thought in 10 words or less
Beautiful, magical, enchanting, thrilling, visually stunning, and completely enveloping
Who this movie is for
If you’re a fairy tale purist, this movie isn’t for you. This is a retelling of the story and while key elements are kept the same, the perspective of the story shifts things greatly.
If you love fantasy movies (think kinder, gentler Lord of the Rings), this movie is for you.
If you love movies with great visual appeal (think Avatar), this movie is for you.
If you love anything Disney, of course this movie is for you.
If you’re not a huge fan of Angelina Jolie, it’s okay. You’ll like her in this.
But what about my kids?
I had one guest spot open to the advanced screening and when I heard the movie was rated PG, I was hoping my 7 year old son could handle it. Here’s what he had to say:
I loved it. I thought it may be a little scary for some kids but I really liked it. I would say it’s a really really good movie. I really liked the scenes in it and the words. I think it was a good rating for a PG movie.
From a mom perspective, I actually think this might appeal more to boys and girls that are less than princess-y. There are lots of fight scenes and violence but nothing graphic or cringeworthy. If your kid gets scared easily, there are a few monsters and dragons that might be frightening but for my 7 year old, it was perfect. And at 1 hour and 37 minutes, he said the length of the movie seemed just right.
Yes. Yes, there are a few more things I’d like to add.
Look closely at the cute little girl in this scene. It’s Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, Angelina’s own daughter.
Sam Riley, an English actor, brilliantly played the raven turned lackey. Definitely one of my favorite characters.
And finally, if you stay for the closing credits, you’ll hear Lana Del Rey singing a very melancholy version of “Once Upon A Dream,” the famous waltz from the original film.
In case you hadn’t gathered, I give this film two thumbs up. WAY up and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.