From the desk of The Movie Snob.
Maleficent (B+). I just caught this one at the dollar theater, and I was glad I did. It’s a new take on tale of Sleeping Beauty, basically retelling the story from the perspective of the wicked witch, Maleficent. Of course, she’s pretty much pure evil in the classic animated version of Sleeping Beauty, so they have to nip and tuck the story to make Maleficent a more relatable character. She has a painful backstory, see, that explains that her seeming wickedness comes from a place of hurt, not pure evil. Anyway, it worked for me, more so than the similarly themed Oz the Great and Powerful. Angelina Jolie (Salt) plays the title character and chews the scenery in an entertaining fashion. As Princess Aurora, the adorable Elle Fanning (Super 8) isn’t given much to do but smile and be adorable, but she does it well. Definitely worth a look.
The Borg Queen checks in on a current release.
The first thing my 15-year-old daughter said when this movie ended was, “I loved that movie!” And I felt the same way. This movie is a retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty from the vantage point of Maleficent, the fairy (though in the classic she is a witch) that casts the spell that sends Princess Aurora into a deep sleep. The story keeps many of the basic elements of the original, but the story overall is quite different. At 97 minutes, the story wastes no time and moves at a good pace. The special effects were outstanding and Angelia Jolie’s portrayal of Maleficent is excellent. It may have been a bit predictable, but even though you know how a rollercoaster comes to an end doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy the ride getting there–at least, not in this case. The film is rated PG. Although I think the film overall is good for children of most ages, very young children may be scared by some of the creatures. There is also one highly dramatic scene that I have since learned is supposed to be a metaphor for rape and plays a large role in the events thereafter. Though that concept was lost on me when I saw the film, reflecting back on the film now I am struck by how remarkably well Angelina Jolie and the writer captured the emotions of that scene and the events that followed. Definitely worth your hard-earned money to see this one in the theaters.