2014 / Director. Robert Stromberg.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Studios have been exploiting the term "reimaging" for a few years under the guise of "originality". They seem to think that by taking beloved legacies and tweaking the stories into something alternative they are being creative... yeah, I don't buy it. It smacks of unoriginality to me and only highlights the fact that they are either strapped for new ideas or are too petrified to explore new ones. Mixed with greed, I suspect that it's the later (maybe both). And so MALEFICENT is the new reimagining of Disney's classic SLEEPING BEAUTY and switches the attention to the villainous character of Maleficent and offers a back story to her character and a reason for her evil tendencies. In doing so the story has been twisted and classic plot directions are thrown away for a weird story that casually skims over the all important "sleeping beauty" aspect of the Brothers Grimm's story and even does away with prince charming's significance to her curse. Oddly, despite the premise of being an origin/prequel story, MALEFICENT overlaps the actual SLEEPING BEAUTY story... it's almost an alternative universe. My first impression was that it relied too heavily on CGI. Much like the similarly aesthetic origin movie OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, they have created the entire world of these characters with computers and it is blatantly obvious. It looks so false for all of the wrong reasons. I want these worlds to leap off the screen because the actors are interacting with it all... not an impersonal and evident void that lies between the actors and their faux environment. You can see where they've being lit from and how far away they are from the green screen. I hate that stuff. But don't get me wrong because the world they've created is a wonderful and magical one... it's just that the traditionalist in me would much rather have seen MALEFICENT made as beautiful cel animated film, reminiscent of the original. But I digress... Angelina Jolie relishes the role and she's wonderful. Her character design is both beautiful and ghastly in equal measure and her actual gaunt physique lends it an added dose of horror. I don't like what they've done with her character. I dont like the liberties they've taken with the story and I don't like the overuse of CGI. Therefore it would be safe to assume that I didn't like it, right?? That's the weird thing... I DID enjoy it. Still trying to work out why!