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Friday, May 30, 2014

Maleficent – 3D Movie Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
Maleficent” explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty” and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever. The film stars Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville.

Film (4 out of 5 stars)
You only think you know the story of Sleeping Beauty. But what if everything you thought you knew was wrong? In Maleficent, Disney takes a new look at an old classic by telling the story from the point of view of Maleficent – the evil witch who curses the lovely Princess Aurora. 
In a kingdom where humans are ambitious and ruled with an iron fist, lies a section of the forest called the Moors where magical creatures reside in harmony. A young fairy named Maleficent greets the day flying through the woods and bringing happiness to all around her. When she hears that a human boy has entered their lands, she goes to see him and convinces him to return the jewel he’s stolen. The two become friends and as time goes by, Maleficent and the boy, Stefan, fall in love. 
But it was not to be. As the years went on, Stefan and Maleficent grew apart and stopped seeing each other, until one day, many years later, they are reunited in the woods. They spend what Maleficent thinks is an innocent evening together reminiscing and rekindling their friendship, but she awakes the next morning to find Stefan gone and shortly after, hears that Stefan has married the princess and become King.

When a child is born, King Stefan holds a great christening for the young Princess Aurora and an uninvited Maleficent arrives and curses the princess. King Stefan sends Aurora to live with three fairies in the woods, away from anything that could harm her. As Princess Aurora grows up, Maleficent has kept watch and made sure she’s grown up happy and healthy so that she makes it to her 16th birthday when the curse will begin. 
One day, Aurora and Maleficent meet and, thinking she’s her “fairy Godmother,” Aurora begins spending time with Maleficent. On her 16th birthday, Aurora returns to her father’s castle where she is promptly locked in her room until her birthday ends. Aurora finds a way out and makes her way to the deepest part of the castle where she pricks her finger on the needle of a spinning wheel, falls into a deep sleep and awaits true love’s kiss. King Stefan, angry that the curse has come to pass, orders his soldiers to prepare for the arrival of Maleficent. When she arrives, the soldiers trap her until King Stefan arrives to fight her – a fight that involves a fire-breathing dragon!

Maleficent has always been my favorite Disney villain and I’ve been looking forward to the film since I first heard about it, more than a year ago. Angelina Jolie is a perfect Maleficent. She commands the screen with her presence and really brings the character to life. Elle Fanning’s innocence as Aurora contrasts Jolie’s Maleficent perfectly. Their interaction was interesting to watch and seeing the story from another perspective really brought the characters and the story to life.
The 3D presentation was really well done. The characters and backgrounds really came to life on the screen and at times, it seemed like the action was right in front of us. I really enjoyed the brightness of the film, even during darker scenes. The colors were sharp and when it was dark, there was just enough light to ensure nothing was missed on screen. 

The hour and a half went by quickly, and told the whole story of Sleeping Beauty from a whole other side. It reminded me of the Gregory Maguire books and his take on some of the old classic stories. Maleficent makes you sympathetic to the character, has you rooting for the villain, and even teaches you a valuable life lesson – not everything is at it seems and never judge a book by its cover. I admit, I was skeptical at first, afraid that the story would not do the character justice, but Disney has done a great job in finally giving my favorite villain a true back story and bringing her to life.

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