Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Movie Review: Maleficent
It was a fun experience, not only for the film itself but because my niece hasn't been to a movie since she was little enough to sleep through it (since she was an infant, in other words). It was fun to experience what is essentially her first film in a movie theater with her. When we went in, for some reason the lights were all the way down, even though the movie didn't start for another ten minutes. She was afraid because it was so dark. Then I put her up on one of the seats. (You know, the fold-up theater-style seats?) Now, my niece is very tall for her age, and skinny as a whip. She only weighs about 34 pounds. I put her in the seat and it folded up on her. She started screaming and asked to go home. LOL. Poor thing. Ah the trama of childhood. Anyway, we got her a booster seat which helped keep the seat from folding, and gave her some popcorn and she felt better. She sat through the movie fairly well, though the surround sound was too loud for her and she got afraid a few times. Every time she did, she would grab my hand with her little fingers and my heart melted a little bit.
Okay, onto the movie review. I am going to talk about the film a bit, but I'll keep things largely spoiler-free.
|To anyone out there who wishes they had cheekbones|
likeAngelina Jolie's in this film, please note: they are
prosthetics. (Picture Source)
Okay, let's talk about what they did with Maleficent's character. Again, this won't be spoilers. I promise. Just more broad analysis. I really liked what they did with her character. They made her very human. I especially liked the first part of the film where we see her back story. They took her from a flat villain to a very dynamic human being, capable of both good and evil, who chose to go with the evil for a time. I thought the character development here was excellent. However...
In the cartoon, you'll remember, it was Maleficent who sort of brain-washed Aurora and guided her toward the spindle in order to fulfill Maleficent's evil prophecy. In this, I don't know. It was almost like Aurora went into a weird trance and sort of did it herself. I just thought it was kind of lame.
Besides, not having a clear-cut, tangible villain to pit against your protagonist is a rookie mistake. It's kind of story-writing 101, so I'm surprised to see the film taking this approach. (Yes, you could argue that it's worked for some writers/stories in a big way, but they're the exception, not the rule. And if you look closely, they're generally not as much of an exception as you might think. Discussion for another time.)
Then there was the kiss that awoke Aurora. Let's just say that it wasn't true love's kiss from the prince that did it. Now, granted, perhaps I shouldn't have expected that. This is, after all, a modern retelling and we can expect the film makers to put their own spin on things. Lately, especially from Disney, there's been a trend where they say "true love" doesn't have to be romantic love. In Once Upon a Time, true love's kiss passed from mother to son. In Frozen, the "act of true love" was that of a sister for a sister. Now, don't get me wrong. I really love this idea: that "true" love that can change the world takes more forms than just the romantic sort. I think it's a very true thing and I love what Disney has done with it. But, they did something similar in Maleficent and it just felt...a bit tired to me. Despite liking the general idea, I think it's starting to be overdone. So, I wasn't crazy about that aspect either.
And most of all, it was fun to see a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, which might just be my favorite Disney tale. (My main problem with the original, that Prince Phillip has an immensely flat personality, was not addressed in this version either, but, it is what it is. I'd still like to see a version where that is remedied, though.)
Has anyone else seen Maleficent? What did you think of it?