Movie Review: "Maleficent"
- by Steve Garcia, 5 June 2014
The baddest of the bad, the epitome of evil, the master of malice! Maleficent got her own movie, and I gotcha covered, Muties! A spoiler free review because I love ya!
When it comes to classic Disney villains, Maleficent is the queen. This is a woman that was essentially evil personified who, as a child, was frightening just to look at. Disney couldn’t have picked a better actress to wear the horns and wield the scepter, as I am in total belief that this was a role that Angelina Jolie was born to play. With all that in mind, I was genuinely excited to see this movie for one reason and one reason only: to see her play a downright evil (insert expletive here). But that wasn’t what we got from this movie, folks—she was just a victim of a bad day. And that’s where this movie fell short for me.
As cliché as origin stories may be, what makes them consistently worth telling is how they take a semi-relatable character and transform them in a way that makes the audience go “I can see why they do what they do.” Being that this is a spoiler-free review, I’m not going to tell you the details on what made Maleficent go bad, but I will say that it certainly wasn’t much to convince me that the person Jolie started out as became the iconic Disney villain we know and hate. She just wasn’t bad enough! Remember how in The Lion King when Scar was singing “Be Prepared” and there were obvious allusions to the Nazis? Remember how Cruella de Vil’s whole motivation was to kill 101 puppies so she could wear them as a coat? When did Disney villains get so soft?!
...But I digress.
On the positive side, Maleficent was visually stunning. Everything from her sorcery and hideout to the final battle scene was striking. But while everything might have looked pretty, however, there wasn’t any substance to latch onto— not only in the case of her aforementioned origin story, but in the case of the supporting characters as well. Maleficent was the only one you cared about because everyone around her was either too bland, too annoying, too dumb, or a combination of the three. At the end of the day, I understand that this is a children’s movie, but this is also a Disney movie. What made Frozen and Tangled so great was that even if there was a lack of a memorable villain, every other character was strong and likable from the get go. Here, all you’ll remember is that Angelina Jolie was in it and that simply won’t cut it in the long run, as well as she was.
All in all, I wouldn’t say that this was a particularly good movie, but it certainly wasn’t bad either. It just exists. Once again, Jolie was remarkable as well as the visuals, but the lack of strong supporting characters and a substantial motivation that turns Maleficent into the iconic Disney villain that we love to hate only makes the movie half-good. I’d definitely recommend it for the kids, but for everyone else, this is a Netflix wait-and-watch at best, folks.
And that’s all I have to say about that! Have you seen Maleficent? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below, and I’ll see you at my next review! Be good to one another and have fun at the movies!