Movie review: Maleficent

By Shawal Ras

Do you love to see fantasy adventure movie? The premiere screening of Maleficent is currently in town. In the hectic weeks of finals and one way to release tension, I watched this Walt Disney’s latest film at Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur. Warning, spoilers ahead!

The film explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic, Sleeping Beauty, and the elements of betrayal that ultimately turned her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the Moors over which she presides, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s  (Stefan’s) newly born infant, Aurora. As the child grows up, Aurora (Elle Fanning) is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realises that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

The good: Truth be told, I’m enchanted by the film, all thanks to its storyline, which is far off better (and darker) than the 1959’s animation film. Jolie’s portrayal of Maleficent pretty much the most exciting thing about it: her vengeful voice and her haughty demeanour entices me the moment evil becomes of her. In addition to her uncanny resemblance to the animated queen, Jolie creates a queen who may not be easy to love, but she is hard to hate.  Jolie is so good, I guess this is why she’s still making money after being in the industry for more than 20 years.

The bad: Unfortunately, even though Maleficent is fun for it’s appealing visuals and Jolie’s superb acting, those are not enough to make the whole film most interesting. Everyone else, even Aurora and Stefan, fades in her presence. As the minutes tick by, you might start feeling a bit like Sleeping Beauty herself: drowsy.

The verdict: For all its limitations, Maleficent manages to be improbably entertaining to watch, due solely to its title character. After one hour and thirty minutes in the cinema, I’d love to watch this film again. So, if you’re tired of staring and studying books all day long, go ahead and watch this film.

P/S: That haunting Lana Del Rey’s song in the trailer scares me a bit.

Ratings: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

Shawal Ras

A lecturer by day and a music blogger by night. Formerly: Managing editor at IIUMToday, and lifestyle writer for Esquire Malaysia and The Score Magazine.

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