Movie Review: Maleficent

MaleficentAn absentee wealthy father, three spinster sisters hawking wish fulfillment and blather, a conflicted surrogate aunt with mixed feelings about a visiting teenager and a 16-year-old with a strong attraction to a needle somehow manage to create a fairly inert melodrama in Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent (C), a revisionist Sleeping Beauty told through the perspective of Angelina Jolie’s fabulous costumes. As the object of audience ambivalence, Jolie does strike a mighty mean pose and has some deliciously nasty lines from time to time. She was most surprising when her sensitive side shines through opposite Elle Fanning as about-to-be-a-cutter Aurora. The effects and characters of the enchanted forest are truly laughable: some look like second unit rejects from the Captain EO creature shop; and even though the running time is brisk, the lopsided narrative withholds most of the intrigue for most of the film’s duration. For reclaiming a villain from history, it’s no Wicked. But in saving Jolie’s virtually hit-free career from continued box office poison, she may have just earned her wings.

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2014

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