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Movie Review: Maleficent: Disney saves the summer



Just when it appeared that the summer movies season of 2014 was going to be lost to a string of disappointing and over-hyped movies, Maleficent debuted in renewed movie lovers faith in summer films.One of the current trends that are running rampant in modern film making is to remake or re-imagine a pre-existing movie or story. Remakes or “re-imaginings” have become nearly as common as the debut of a new film. Consequently, it’s a rarity that filmmakers are able to capture the level of enjoyment that one tends get from the original version of the film. However there are a few exceptions that break the mold and make the new incarnation as good as or better than the original.
Maleficent is a wondrous, enchanting extravaganza that exquisitely re-imagines one of the most classic fairy tales. It’s a much needed jolt of enjoyment that has been missing from the summer movies of 2014. Maleficent is a film that truly shows what makes summer movies what they truly are. The film stars Angelina Jolie (The Tourist), Sharto Copley (The Europa Report), Elle Fanning (Super 8), Sam Reily (Byzantium), Leslie Manville (Romeo and Juliet 2013), Juno Temple (The Three Musketeers), and Imelda Staunton (The Awakening).
This is the big screen live action retelling of the story of Sleeping Beauty. It’s a multifaceted epic that finds the perfect balance of story, action, and comedy to give you the best film of the summer so far. This film places the emphasis on the former antagonist of the film, Maleficent, and retells the story from her perspective giving some much needed back story to the tale that everyone knows. The shift in focus of the main character makes this a far more interesting story. That change also gives the story a far more appealing scope to a wider audience. Maleficent reduces sleeping beauty, Aurora, to a supporting character as this story is about the relationship of the Maleficent to the world and what drove her to curse the young beauty. The movie focuses on the themes of unconditional love and truly shows how unwavering it can be. In addition to that theme, Maleficent focuses on friendship, love, and revenge.
Angelina Jolie delivers one of her best performances. She stars as the lead character Maleficent and is nothing short of magnificent. Jolie plays the role as if it were her second nature. This is easily one of the best performances of the year. There have been some great actors who have delivered great performances within this new genre of film. Johnny Depp (Alice In Wonderland) and Charlize Theron (Snow White and The Huntsman) both gave great depictions of the fairy tale personas they took on but Jolie’s Maleficent outdoes them by miles. Jolie masters the look and the mannerisms of the cartoon character. She plays it so well that it seems as if the cartoon was made from her performance and not vice versa. The other members of the cast all make good contributions to the story that make this one of the years must see films. From Sharto Copley as Stefan to Sam Reily as Diaval to the 3 fairies (who are great in comic relief), it’s a great cast that makes this new version of the classic story a live action epic.
Maleficent isn’t the first re-imagining of a fairy tale but it is clearly the best. It easily outdoes Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Killer, and Alice In Wonderland. It’s everything that one needs for a summer blockbuster. It’s a transcendent film that will quickly endear itself to you. The story, acting, and cinematography converge to make this retelling of the classic story of Sleepy Beauty better than ever. This heart-warming testament is a great convergence of multiple aspects of storytelling that “creatively” makes the timeless tale modern, hip, and more entertaining than ever. If you have not seen it by now then you need to, A MUST SEE!