Oddly enough, this is the second Disney film that I've reviewed in a week that completely surprised me. Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie as the notorious evil godmother in the classic fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, takes on a completely new twist. The film takes us back to when Maleficent, a fairy, and Stefan, a human (before he was king), first met as adolescents. The two become close friends bridging the gap between the human world and that of the Moors - an enchanted land filled with magical creatures. Stefan even bestows what he calls a true love kiss on Maleficent.
However, when Stefan chooses greed and power over Maleficent, he quickly realizes he will have to face the wrath of this broken-hearted fairy. As we all know, she takes her revenge out on his newborn daughter, Princess Aurora, by placing a curse on her that will eventually have the girl fall into a deep sleep, only to be awakened by a true love kiss (how ironic, right?)
Unlike the classic Disney animated version, the three fairies assigned to raise and protect Princess Aurora are lacking in their childcare capabilities. It is actually Maleficent who keeps a watchful eye on the little girl while she is growing up. The audience soon realizes that Maleficent has grown fond of Aurora and regrets casting her curse on the child.
"I was so lost in hatred and revenge...."
This is a charming take on a classic fairy tale that proves things are not always as they seem. It shows the consequences of greed, anger, and revenge. The film provides a perfect example of how we are all shaped by the events of our pasts. And, in the end, we are taught that no one is 100% good or evil.
The film is beautifully shot with stunning cinematography and scenography. I am sorry I missed this one on the big screen. Jolie was wonderful in this role, and, despite being wicked at times, made Maleficent easy to empathize with. I loved Sam Riley as Maleficent's sidekick, Diaval. This film is rated PG for fantasy action and violence and some frightening images. My ten-year-old wasn't going to watch with me, but got sucked in from the very beginning. Overall, I loved the scenery, the viewpoint of the story, and the powerful themes of this tale. When it was over, I turned to my son and said, "I want to watch it again!"