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'Maleficent' redefines the roles of hero and villain

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Many years before curses, newborns, and deathless sleep, Maleficent was just a girl. Growing up amongst the faire folk, Maleficent reveled in her life in the lands of the Fae, in spite of the threat of their human neighbors. When a boy named Stefan is found stealing from the Fae, despite their differences, he and Maleficent become much more than friends. When Stefan's ambitions grow beyond his feelings for Maleficent, his lust for power leads to a conflict which could be fatal for Stefan and Maleficent.

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Peppered with a host of obligatory homages to Disney's classic tale of a cursed princess and the dark fairy responsible for the curse, "Maleficent" is an inspired take on a story which was very one sided and far too curt. Starring an increasingly ethereal Angelina Jolie, Maleficent briefly evolves into the malevolent creature portrayed in the animated tale of "Sleeping Beauty." On more than one occasion Jolie recites dialogue and recreates performances from the classic animated feature. At times, it is truly eerie and fantastic. Sharlto Copley costars as the treacherous boy turned king, Stefan. True to form, Copley portrays a less than sympathetic king, slightly insane and dangerously cunning. At the story's peak, Elle Fanning takes center stage as the princess Aurora. Not unlike her elder sibling, Elle's onscreen presence is nearly as powerful as that of the leading lady. Served well by rolling hills and seamless visual effects, "Maleficent" tells a fanciful tale that captivates and unfolds in interesting and entertaining ways. While still holding onto its stereotypical archetype of the orphaned hero or princess, Disney has managed to craft what is likely to become another jewel in the feature length crown.


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