Director: Robert Stromberg
Writers: Linda Woolverton; Charles Perrault; Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm; Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Ted Sears, Ralph Wright, Milt Banta (based from the motion picture "Sleeping Beauty")
Starring: Angelina Jolie; Elle Fanning; Sharlto Copley; Sam Riley; Brenton Thwaites; Imelda Staunton; Junto Temple; Lesley Manville
Synopsis: All the right elements are in place, particular Angelina Jolie. But something is missing. The cinematography is spectacular. The effects are impressive. The battle scenes are dramatic. But the script somehow fails to make all of this coalesce.
In this “untold story from the villain’s perspective” of Sleeping Beauty, Angelina Jolie is superb as the titular Maleficent, the fairy guardian made bitter by the human king when her wings are stolen.
It’s challenging to try to articulate just went wrong. All the right elements are in place, particular Jolie who makes the titular character such a fascinating character study. But something is missing. The cinematography is spectacular. The effects are impressive. The battle scenes are dramatic. But the script somehow fails to make all of this coalesce.
The other cast members seem perfect for their roles – save for Sharlto Copley, who works as the villainous king by the film's end but simply cannot pull off looking like a dashing young knight earlier in the movie. Elle Fanning has a dewy innocence for the Princess Aurora. Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Leslie Manville are perfect as the hapless fairy godmothers. Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip is, well, charming. As Maleficent’s sidekick Diaval, Sam Riley is expressive and nuanced.
But all are overshadowed by Angelina Jolie, who is truly magnificent. And the writing, which succeeds in giving Maleficent’s character purpose and depth, fails to do the same for the other characters.
At the 2005 awards, Angelina Jolie made Cosmo history by being the first person to be nominated simultaneously for both heroic and villainous categories for the same film (Mr. & Mrs. Smith). I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing happens with Maleficent.
Rating: 3 stars