"Fractured Fairy Tales" used to be a comical segment on "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show." Nowadays, they're serious moviemaking, TV, and book business opportunities that have inspired films like "Snow White and the Woodsman," "Mirror, Mirror," "Jack the Giant Slayer," "Enchanted," and primetime hits "Grimm" and "Once Upon a Time." Let's not forget to mention bestselling graphic novel series "Fables" and all its spin-offs and companion pieces. Disney's "Maleficent" is the latest entry in this new line of re-tooled legends.
Once a beautiful fairy living in the magical outskirts of a great kingdom, Maleficent's (Angelina Jolie) life is forever changed when she's betrayed by the human she loves in his quest to become the ruler of the great land. In a fit of rage and jealousy, she curses the King's (Sharlto Copley) newborn baby, Aurora (Elle Fanning), to fall into a deep sleep on her sixteenth birthday with only the touch of true love's kiss to break the spell. She grows to regret the curse as she witnesses the girl growing up. Is there a way she can take back the spell or will the girl find true love in time to save her?
Imagine everything you know about "Sleeping Beauty" being turned on its head. Some children (of all ages) might feel like they've been living a lie by the time the credits roll on "Maleficent." One thing I can tell you for sure is you're guaranteed a good time along the way. The story gets a little weighed down with drama in some parts, but overall there's enough action and special effects to nudge you back to consciousness right when you're eyelids start to get heavy.
Angelina Jolie proves she was the right choice to bring the tragic character of Maleficent to life. She revels in the delicious havoc she wrecks on screen, while also emoting the remorse she feels as she oversees Aurora grow into a young woman. She fully embodies the part in her physical look and emotional demeanor on screen.
All sorts of CGI creatures and creations fill "Maleficent." Most of them look completely believable and blend well with all the practical sets and actors. There are points where the limitations stand out more so than others, but nothing too distracting.
"Maleficent" is rated PG for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images. Things might be a bit too dark for the younger girls who love Disney's animated "Sleeping Beauty." Tree monsters and hedges of giant thorn bushes smashing soldiers might scar them for life.
"Maleficent" is more positive proof that fairy tales still have a place in our society and hearts. It also proves that there's a lot of great entertainment to be experienced if you're not afraid to take a little creative license with the classics we've grown up admiring. After all, the only thing that's important is that everyone lives happily ever after… right?