Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maleficent

Director: Robert Stromberg
With: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Brenton Thwaites

Not to sound cynical but Maleficent sucks. No, it is not magnificent.

But it's still exciting because it stars Angelina Jolie. Jolie who I thought was 'too cool' for Disney. So I'm really glad that she took the role and is actually one of its executive producers. I gushed about the idea of her playing Maleficent ever since I've heard the news and saw some of the behind-the-scenes pics, so even if the movie floundered, it was still a treat to see her play a classic villain that fits her like a glove. Her face and her voice is just too perfect as Maleficent.

Her performance is far from being her best as her mega-embossed cheekbones are way more consistent than her acting but she thrives in scenes where she's channeling the cold-hearted persona of Maleficent that despite every cruel line she delivers, she provides amusement to the entire audience. She's truly the star of the film as her screen presence is as regal as the devious Maleficent.

It's the screenplay that pulls this film down tremendously. One thing that caught my attention when I watched the movie Adaptation was screenplays with voiceover narratives are result of lazy writing and while I didn't take that too seriously as the movie itself had voiceovers, it still resounded to me. So while watching Maleficent, it reminded me of this as this film is probably the perfect example of bad pacing, bad storytelling.

The first half of the film was interesting but it felt rushed. Too rushed that almost half of the film  felt like a never-ending summary. The second half is worse, because it just became predictable, corny and not compelling at all. Going into the movie, it is already expected that this movie will retell the story not only of Maleficent, but Sleeping Beauty in a different perspective. It was presumable that there's more to Maleficent's evil exterior and reputation. They succeed in explaining the roots of the villain but failed to produce something fresh or astounding to the story.

To be honest, I guess this film wouldn't disappoint as much as it did if it didn't follow the recent success of Frozen. The twist of the latter made this film easy to foretell and that's why it suffered.

I also question some of the casting choices especially for King Stefan but then I realized that I should not bother too much about it because the film was made for Jolie and probably for her 'beasty' daughter Vivienne Pitt who was such a delight to see acting on screen almost stealing Angie's thunder.

At the end of the day, I prefer the darker and original story of Sleeping Beauty than this versionbut that's okay because this won't be Angelina Jolie's last project this year. I am willing to forget Maleficent even though it's hard to do so because of how iconic it has become but I'm so ready for Unbroken.