Monday, 27 October 2014

Blu-ray Review - Maleficent

Director: Robert Stromberg
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Retail: $36.99
Running Time: 97 minutes
Rating: PG
Buy Link: Amazon


Over the last few years studios have taken an interest in Grimm's Fairy Tales once again with the release of two different Snow White Films, a rated-R Hansel and Gretel adventure and ABC's Once Upon a Time that has put a modern day spin on about every fairy tale that has ever existed. Arriving on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD is the live-action re-imagining of Disney's 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty, titled Maleficent. Directed by Robert Stromberg, the film grossed over $700 million over the summer despite receiving a mixed-reaction from critics. The Blu-ray special features are deleted scenes, Aurora: Becoming a Beauty, From Fairy Tale to Feature Film, Building an Epic Battle, Classic Couture and Maleficent Revealed.

Angelina Jolie stars in the title role of Maleficent, a magical orphan faerie living in the magical realm called the Moors, which is located just outside of the kingdom. During her childhood, she befriended a human orphan, Stefan, but as they got older, he quit visiting her. Unknown to her, he is actually one of the King's soldiers. The King attempts to invade the Moors, but Maleficent uses her magic to defend it. Her actions causes a ripple effect that leads Stefan (played by Sharlto Copley) to betray her, so he will one day inherit the Kingdom.

Years pass by and Stefan marries the King's daughter Leila (played by Hannah New), who has inherited the crown, therefore Stefan is the Kingdom's new King. To celebrate the birth of their daughter Princess Aurora, the King has invited everyone from the land for her christening. Maleficent makes an unexpected visit and curses the princess, whom will grow up to be beautiful, but when she turns sixteen-years-old, she will prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep. Only a "true love's kiss" can break the curse.

The King appoints three pixies, Knotgrass (played by Imelda Staunton), Thistlewit (played by Juno Temple)  and Flittle (played by Lesley Manville) to raise his daughter somewhere away from the kingdom until she becomes of age and the curse is broken.

Maleficent has eyes everywhere, so she easily earns of where the pixies have taken the princess. Despite trying to hate the princess, she ends up saving her over and over again during the princess's childhood as the pixies guardians aren't exactly good at their jobs.

Time goes by and Princess Aurora (played by Elle Fanning) is getting closer to turning sixteen and Maleficent must make a decision to keep the curse on her or find another way to keep peace between the kingdom and the Moors.

I wasn't too impressed when I saw the original trailer and advertisements for the film earlier this year as it looked like another overuse of CGI, like in Alice in Wonderland and Oz the Great and Powerful. After watching the original 1959 Sleeping Beauty for the first time this year, I became interested in reviewing the Maleficent. I got to say that casting Angelina Jolie in the title role was pure genius as she looks exactly like the animated character, plus she gives a great performance in the movie. The CGI effects for the most part are used really well and after a while I forgot the pixies were even computerized. Sharlto Copley and Elle Fanning both do a decent job in their roles, though I do wish Elle Fanning had more to do in the film. Unlike the 1959 animated classic, Maleficent is the main character while Princess Aurora is just a minor-character that helps Maleficent change her evil ways. Overall, Maleficent is a little darker than I thought it would be, which is a good thing as the original fairy tales were written dark to begin with. Though the film isn't exactly perfect, I still thought it was entertaining.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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