Maleficent is the story of Princess Aurora’s (Sleeping Beauty) nemesis. In their latest spin off of yet another fairy tale, Disney captures the depths of the Evil Queen’s psychology and what drove her into the realms of darkness. Helming the project as Maleficent is none other than the Hollywood’s best- Angelina Jolie. The movie marks the debut of director Robert Stromberg and stars Elle Fanning as the young princess.
The movie starts with young Maleficent, an ‘Elfian Faeri’, meeting a young human boy, Stephan. What starts as a friendship between a lonely young aristocrat and a peasant boy ends up being a torrid affair. But as humanity would have it, greed and lust for power not only drives the two apart, but Stephan ends up stealing Maleficent’s wings to impress the king, who then leaves behind his kingdom and his daughter in his safe keeping.
Maleficent is not just heart broken, she is hell bent on making her lover pay. She curses his newborn daughter, Princess Aurora, on the day of her christening, to an eternal sleep, after pricking a finger on a spindle on her sixth birthday. As the fairy tale goes, the three good fairies take Maleficent deep into the forest and raise her as their own.
Maleficent knows about the baby’s whereabouts from the very beginning and watches over her, as she grows up in the forest. Aurora comes across Maleficent and her pet crow multiple times in the forest and begins to think of her as her Fairy Godmother. Full of remorse, Maleficent tries to revoke the curse, but to no success. What follows is Maleficent’s struggle to save the child she once cursed and now has started to love, the final battle with the hero-turned-evil King Stephan and redemption.
Taking a cue from the multiple spin offs being made, Hollywood has managed to finally churn out an alternate fairy tale that doesn’t completely disappoint you. Angelina Jolie is stunning in the film. To add to her freakishly beautiful screen presence, her poignant portrayal of Maleficent manages to make this Evil Queen not only likable, but also a treat to watch. Her makeup, costumes and even those leathery curved horns fit perfectly.
The plot of the film has finally done justice to this evil queen, who had been misunderstood for decades. It depicts the famous tale of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the villainous Maleficent and looks at the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse young Princess Aurora.
The only place the movie falters at is the dismal casting of King Stephan, and a certain extent, Aurora. Elle Fanning’s entire ‘damsel in distress’ act is anything but endearing. And so is the King’s (Sharlto Copley) paranoia, which frankly, becomes down right annoying.
To conclude, if you’re an Angelina Jolie or a fantasy genre fan, this film is a welcome change from the previous debacles like Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. And of course, Angelina Jolie will make you fall in love with her all over again.