Review (SPOILERS): “Maleficent” or How Disney Unintentionally Made a Hilariously Bad B-Movie

Maleficent has been highly anticipated by Disney fans since it was first announced and after the first clips of Angelina Jolie in the title role were released the hype started to grow increasingly. Throw in a re-imagined version of “Once Upon A Dream” sung by pop artist Lana del Rey in a haunting style along with an intense marketing campaign and Disney can’t fail, right? Well, the good news is Disney is going to make a ton of money off of teenage girls and Once Upon A Time fans, but for those who expect decent acting and dialogue out of a blockbuster, buckle up for a disappointing 97 minutes.

(WARNING: Spoilers throughout.)

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The Good

The Score

  • James Newton Howard has collaborated with Disney on a few other occasions (Dinosaur, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Treasure Planet), but Maleficent is definitely the strongest score he’s composed for the company. That being said, it doesn’t compete with his work on King Kong or The Dark Knight collaboration with Hans Zimmer. It does have a certain charm though that is reminiscent of some 90s soundtracks like Hocus Pocus.

CG Landscapes

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  • Robert Stromberg set out to make a wondrous world in his directorial debut in the same vein that won him Academy Awards for Best Art Direction in James Cameron’s Avatar and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.  The landscape shots, particularly ones featuring the Moors (the mythical land of the fairies and such where Maleficent resides) are breathtaking. If anything, the Moors resemble the world of Pandora from Avatar too closely, but at least Disney has an excuse to overhaul the Avatar expansion at Animal Kingdom into a Maleficent-themed land if James Cameron starts throwing fits over the finished product.

Angelina Jolie as Maleficent

  • Angelina Jolie mentioned on multiple occasions, including the 2013 D23 Expo, her fascination with Sleeping Beauty and the character Maleficent and how it is the perfect role for her to play. Jolie shines in the starring role, despite the abysmal script she had to work with and the terrible direction they took with the character. The stand-out moment for Jolie in the film ends up being the “curse” scene which borrows dialogue straight from 1959’s Sleeping Beauty.

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The Bad

The Script

  • Linda Woolverton was in charge of crafting the script and it is clear that she has finally lost what talent she once possessed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. For those of you not familiar with Linda, she is the writer behind Beauty and the Beast, co-writer on The Lion King and helped with story material on Aladdin and Mulan. In the Broadway realm, she adapted her Beauty and the Beast script into the book for the Broadway musical and co-wrote Aida. What talent Woolverton has in writing for animation and Broadway is completely lost in live-action. If you don’t believe me, pay attention to the dialogue in two of her other scripts – Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Yes, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was a box-office smash, but that doesn’t mean it is good.

 

  • The script and dialogue for Maleficent is no better than Alice in Wonderland and some of the most cringe-worthy lines I’ve heard uttered in a film come from this movie. Why did Aurora have to say she wanted to live in the Moors with Maleficent and eat “berries and black nuts”? Why couldn’t Linda have chosen any other food? Was Woolverton watching Jurassic Park and channeling Robert Muldoon when she had King Stefan yelling “SHOOT HER” to his men in attempts to take down Maleficent? My guess is Linda decided to just get lazy on this screenplay, but she deserves it – she is the only female writer to have her name solely attached to the writing credits for a film that made over a billion dollars.

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The Changes

  • I get it – Maleficent is a reinvention of the character we know from Sleeping Beauty and not a retelling. However, what ended up happening is that Maleficent was turned into a weak, flawed character that got upset about being betrayed by someone she thought truly loved her at one point in her life and decided to put a curse onto his first and only daughter. In the midst of her creeping and watching over Aurora for her first 16 years, which is actually an okay addition to the story, she ends up developing an attachment to her, especially once Aurora starts to think that Maleficent is her fairy godmother. Maleficent was THE villain of Disney villains and in this reinvention she is no longer a villain. FYI – Disney fans adore villains in some cases as much as the heroes and this is the perfect example. Maleficent could’ve been beyond evil at every point in the film and audiences would still eat it up.

 

  • Also, Linda Woolverton must’ve been watching Frozen when she decided to change true love’s kiss coming from Prince Phillip and instead Maleficent gets the honor. I understand the decision, because people ate it up when Frozen came out, but Maleficent is made that much worse because of it.

 

  • In terms of unnecessary changes, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather are now Knotgrass, Thistlewit and Flittle. If that’s not unnecessary enough, Maleficent’s raven Diablo is transformed into a human/dog/worm/dragon/whatever else Maleficent feels like turning him into named Diaval.

The Acting

  • We already covered Angelina Jolie in her role, so take that as a sign of how the rest of the cast did at their jobs. Some of the most embarrassing acting takes place in this movie, specifically by Sharlto Copley as King Stefan. Elle Fanning isn’t horrible, but she spends a third of her screen time being annoying, another third floating around behind Maleficent and another third asleep. Sam Riley, everyone’s favorite birdman Diaval, proves that he could compete with Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins in a creepy, staring, smiling competition. Also, he is a glowing example for why nose prostethics should not exist. Imelda Staunton takes on a role as Knotgrass that will cause most people to hate her, which isn’t far off from her performance as Dolores Umbridge, but that hatred stems from her character being evil. This hatred is all about how terrible the character and acting is.

CG Characters

  • Who created these creatures and why do you still have a job?

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Craig’s Review 1.5

Maleficent takes the quintessential Disney villain character and turns her into a weak protagonist in a film full of atrocious acting and decrepit dialogue.”


Shaun’s Review 2

“Despite having one of the most fascinating characters to work with, Disney flattens Maleficent into a dull, uninteresting protagonist with a trite backstory and uninspired plot twists. Rather than embrace the attraction many fans have to the enigmatic villain, Disney inexplicably decided its audience wasn’t capable of supporting such a dark and complicated character. Sincere apologies to Marc Davis.”


Maleficent is now in theaters including IMAX 3D and Disney Digital 3D.



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Category: TV / Movies

  • jayntampa

    I have to respectfully disagree, as would my whole family and the friends that went with us. It was wholly enjoyable, if light, fare. The fact that the audience broke into applause at the end tends to indicate it was received rather well in the full theater I attended. It was just fun.

    • AlTheKiller

      I heard about people applauding after screenings of Transformers 2, various Twilight movies, etc…So…

      • Mauricio Guaura

        People never clap in my local theater (usually, one or two people clap, but the rest of the theater is almost entirely silent). This time, however, I heard a huge applause after the movie ended…
        Not sure why, though, clapping at the end of ANY movie is fucking stupid.

        • mom

          I don’t appreciate your bad language, watch it please

          • Mauricio Guaura

            Sorry mom…

    • Dana

      This is not about whether you enjoyed it. It was about how well the movie was made. I see people going around in crappy, flimsy “fashion” “mart” clothes all the time, listening to crap music and eating crap food… they’re clearly enjoying themselves, but it doesn’t mean they couldn’t do better.

      It’s OK though. I’m a Walking Dead fan and from what I hear, the critics have a field day with that show. I enjoy it anyway and couldn’t tell you why. We’ve all got at least one junk addiction in our lives, I think.

    • Gail

      There was applause at the end of the show I went to as well. I really enjoyed it, I like the direction they took with Maleficent and I like the way she portrayed the character. It was humourous and interesting and beautiful to watch and I enjoyed it!

  • Arhy1516

    This movie sold out at every hour that it was schedule, the audience applauded during the part Maleficent broke the spell AND at the end. My daughter and I loved it.

  • wickedwen

    Completely disagree! Amazing movie and I can’t wait to see it again!!!

  • Randy Jamerson

    Disagree with this review. I loved it! However, Sleeping Beauty is the eye of the beholder and I can see where some will not like the retelling, but I did not find much about it I didn’t like.

  • catalina

    OMG this review from a guy what do you know how many times have you watch Sleeping Beauty, Snow White ,etc, of course you wouldn’t connect to this story and be facinatied by it….please all the mothers took their daughters to see this movie and girls night out with their friends , this is a great movie it was sold out I actually bought tickets but we had no where to sit so I had to refund and buy for a later time and got the perfect seat. Loved it. Go review X MEN

    • Craig Williams

      This review is from two guys who grew up watching and studying Disney films repeatedly and although I can’t fully speak for Shaun, my mother would probably be more than happy to vouch for how many times I spent watching Disney classics as a kid and surely enough I still practice this as an adult. Frankly, using my “Sleeping Beauty” knowledge as an argument is a bad choice, considering anyone who knows even the littlest about “Sleeping Beauty” knows that Maleficent is a villain and if you walk out of “Maleficent” thinking she was portrayed as a villain then you were too caught up in the everything else happening.

      I didn’t connect with the story because it was a weak script with poor acting and the same cheap effects that mesmerized Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” audiences looking for an escape, yet left passionate film aficionados overly disappointed. While some critics are happy with the change in story, most are only finding positive things to say about Angelina Jolie’s performance and the visuals – both of which we acknowledged. That being said, if you still think that this bad review came from the fact that I am a guy, please take the time to check out our review for “Frozen” where I gave it 4.5 stars or the “Saving Mr. Banks” review or even “The Little Mermaid” Blu-ray review.

      • Scott

        No need to defend your review Craig. To discount your review because you’re a man is like saying that catalina is illiterate because she can’t form a complete sentence or spell “fascinated” without spell check. If movies were great based on “all the mothers took their daughters to see this movie and girls night out with their friends” then Twilight would surpass Citizen Kane as the greatest movie ever.

      • Yellowstonetim

        “yet left passionate film aficionados overly disappointed” Some passionate film aficionados and critics absolutely loved Alice and Maleficent. It isn’t that “passionate film aficionados” hate it and the uneducated stupid masses loved it. It isn’t that simple and that doesn’t come across well. About half of the critics liked Alice and about half like Maleficent. So the aficionados disagree. Most see flaws, but I have read some respected critics that love it and LIKE the various aspects of the film. But you don’t need to defend your review. It is your right to call it as you see it and gender or anything else doesn’t matter, its still your right. What is the old saying. “I may go to my grave disagreeing with you, but I would die defending your right to say it” or something like that. I do disagree on this movie. Oh, and Citizen Kane is overrated. :P

    • AlTheKiller

      You. Are. An. Idiot.

      • Brandy Taylor Loftis

        Wow.

        • Dana

          He’s right. Sexist, poorly-spelled, inane drivel.

    • Dana

      Oh, grow up. I like what I’ve seen of the X-MEN movies. The plumbing between your legs does NOT affect what types of movies you will like.

    • Jennifer Wynne Morris Davis

      I cannot believe you actually wrote this! For years we complained about the sexism of men, and worked to change things (and I’m old enough to remember, thank you). Then, here you come and reverse 50 years of progress with one incredibly inane comment, the equivalent of saying, “You dumb guys just don’t know anything about it because you’re BOYS! You can only review movies about BOY things like trucks and trains and action heroes. Leave the princess stories to us mommies and girls. This is OUR territory and you stay out!”

      I could not be more horrified. I may have to change my user name (JenniBuginPink) as I’m now concerned about the pinkness of it. I just used to like pink. JenniBuginBlack with a Pitchfork has a nice ring. Please, realize that gender is not so narrowly constrained for the sake of your daughter. Men are perfectly capable of appreciating, understanding, enjoying, and reviewing ALL facets of the female and male characters in any given fairy tale. They don’t need my defense. Sadly, I now feel that perhaps someone ought to educate and defend women, and I’m just not up to it anymore.

  • mickeymommy7

    To be fair, people going to see it today have been DYING to see it and are already biased for the most part given these comments already.

  • Greg

    Reviewers are almost always more critical than the average movie goer. Maleficent is currently at 49% from critics and 75% from movie goers on Rotten tomatoes, to me it makes more sense to look at averages rather than a single review because tastes are so unique. I don’t begrudge the reviewer for not liking something, we all have different tastes.

    • AlTheKiller

      That can be explained by pointing out the fact that a majority of the general population has poor taste, isn’t usually of high intelligence, and typically isn’t very analytical of art/entertainment. Most people take a movie at face value, and get enamored with visuals instead of focusing on the content. For example, as I pointed out in another comment, the Twilight and Transformers movies were well received by fans of those franchises for the most part, made a ton of money, and had much higher fan-based ratings than critic-based ones. However, anyone with a fully functioning brain can easily see that those movies are bad in most aspects, writing, acting, story, dialogue, directing, etc. People can enjoy whatever they want to, but don’t confuse it for being good artistically.

      • Craig Williams

        I’m glad you posted this because I have been waiting to make this response. I’m not against eye candy in movies at all. I’m embarassed/proud to say I own the Transformers films along with basically every other Michael Bay film. Yes, I know that the acting is not stellar and there is usually no strong plot developments because it would have to fight for time with the explosions and action. I can fully admit these movies, Transformers in particular, are bad. However, I love them and you’re line, “People can enjoy whatever they want to, but don’t confuse it for being good artistically” is what movie critics out there want everyone to know. Thank you for finding the words that I have been looking for.

      • Dana

        I think the population has poor taste because they’ve been brainwashed in various ways out of having good taste. Taste is mostly learned.

        I also think it’s less about intelligence than it is about education. In school, we’re not generally taught to pick apart plots and look at character development unless we are taking honors or AP courses. And there are ways you could teach those skills without putting the students in way over their heads. But you can’t really teach that stuff to a multiple-choice test, I guess.

  • EV398E

    Yep, same here. Nothing but rave reviews from friends who have gone to see this. The review under discussion reminds me of the critic who panned the original Star Wars. Remember her? Yep. No one else does either.

  • Yellowstonetim

    Wow. It seems like people either like making Maleficent a “good guy” or they don’t. If they don’t they hate everything about the movie. I’ve read plenty of reviews that love the acting, the creatures, the CGI, the script, and lots of people love Jolie’s take on Maleficent. To each his own. But, again, wow. Is it really that bad?! I many I know loved it – not that it was perfect and you can’t find a number of flaws – but overall it was a great movie. I am not female, but I do love Once Upon a Time. :)

  • AliceMouse

    While DH was more critical of this movie than I was (but hey, I love Burton’s Alice in Wonderland), there were four things that I didn’t like. 1. I hated every single thing about the three fairies. They are one of my favorite things about SB and they were ridiculously incompetent in this movie. Their acting was terrible, their CG reminded me of Oz the Great and Powerful (which I have yet to manage to stay awake long enough to make it to the end), and the writing of these characters was just so wholly disappointing. Oh and the name change?? WTF? 2. Leather pants Maleficent? Ridiculous. 3. Once Upon a Dream wasn’t integrated into or allowed to advance the plot in any way. This version is so hauntingly beautiful and the fact that it was a footnote (because it just didn’t fit anywhere in the movie) was disappointing. 4. Here’s the biggie–I hate that Maleficent didn’t die. Even if she’s no longer the “villain”, she’s still a tragic character. I would have preferred for Stefan to succeed in killing Maleficent only to have that act be his final undoing. The hatred and greed that led to him finally killing his true love would cause his daughter to turn against him and wage an epic battle that would ultimately remove him from power and reunite the fairies and the humans. Overall, I did like the movie, particularly Angelina Jolie’s performance. I just didn’t love it and that’s disappointing because I really wanted to love it :(

    • Craig Williams

      We forgot to mention the leather pants, but Shaun turned to me at one point when she donned that ensemble and loudly asked where she managed to get that outfit. Haha.

      • AliceMouse

        She spun them on the spinning wheel. LOL

  • Chloe

    I agree with you guys wholeheartedly. I wanted to love it so badly, especially with all of the hype throughout the parks.

  • DebTeega61

    I disagree as well. I love Maleficent as a villan but loved this story as well. Gives a whole new twist to her personality.

    • LLJ62

      I agree with you Deb. While I was hoping for a bit more, I still loved the movie.
      Especially the part when Aurora is a small child and tells Maleficent, “up”.
      Her daughter is adorable and how Angelina ever got through that scene, I will never know.

  • Nicole L. Mancini

    Maleficent was a mixed bag for me. It was fantastic hearing her back story and why she was so angry at the kingdom. On the flip though, she was only her real villain self for like [B]20 min of the movie[/B]. That bothered me…a lot.

    The fairies also had me cringing. Why were they renamed? There was no purpose for that. They are Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather in all ways imaginable even coming down to their red, green, and blue outfits. I found that to be highly distracting throughout the film (not to mention their larger than life heads a la Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland when they were in fairy form).

    The other creatures from the moor were bizarre on all levels. Some were mean, some were nice, some were crude, some were pleasant. Weird, weird, weird.

    As a Sleeping Beauty fan, I appreciated the fact that Maleficent’s curse scene used most of the original dialog from the animated feature. Honestly, I don’t think there could have been any way to change it and still do the scene justice. Angelina killed it. Bravo to her.

    I was, however, surprised by the change to the “True Love’s Kiss” scene but am starting to like it. Throughout the film, I honestly thought that Diablo, wait they renamed him too, uhh..Diaval…was going to be the one who ended up with Aurora. The way he protected her, looked at her, stuck up for her, etc. made it seem so. Having Maleficent kiss the princess was totally out of left field but I can appreciate it as being a flaw in a character that is purely evil (or supposed to be anyway). If the true villain was portrayed more in the film, this could have been a very powerful scene.

    [B]With this being said, the film’s last five minutes or so were so cheesy I felt like I left the theater after eating rotten Swiss cheese. [/B]It was absolutely abysmal and reminded me of what took place with Oz: The Great & Powerful, which also could have been an amazing tale. I would have been able to give more credit to this film if the ending wasn’t so bad.

    Still, I think it’s worth seeing in the theater if you are a Maleficent/Sleeping Beauty fan. Just be prepared for these changes which can definitely be annoying, and even, aggravating.

    • Dr. g

      I think you are all comparing Wicked to Wizard of Oz. Just accept it as a different interpretation and point of view. I think it was great, although I do agree with renaming the fairies. All the other characters were fairy tale consistent, although there was no Alphaba is Oz.

      • Nicole L. Mancini

        I’ve read Wicked and have seen Wizard of Oz a countless number of times. I was very excited for Oz: The Great & Powerful too, but it really was bad. I have yet to sit through it without falling asleep – literally. It had great potential, as did Maleficent, but fell short for me.

  • Thomas

    just like their podcasts they have nothing but negative remarks for everything. Still going to go see it.

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      I have a negative remark for this comment.

    • http://www.wdwinfo.com Pete Werner

      We don’t have ‘negative remarks for everything’ – we share our opinions honestly. Apparently, that’s too much for you.

      • abismommy

        Love every single podcast and each of you. Keep on please!!!

    • Melli

      I gotta say though… If their podcasts always have something negative to say, you have a lot of time to waste to listen to them to begin with in order to make such comment… Just saying!

      • Thomas

        I do have a lot of time to waste. I need background music/something while at work, its a good time filler.

  • Jenn

    I am going to respect one’s opinion about a movie but just like any remake or off-shoot, they’re rarely as good as the original. They almost always fall short & disappoint. I’ve heard many mixed reviews & we’ll still see it but we’re not going into it expecting it to be as amazing as we want it to be. Seeing this movie, will simply be just for entertainment & sharing a Disney moment as a family.

  • Jonjo

    That CG Landscape is not all what it seems. The Forest Kingdom is actually Ashridge Estate – 5,000 acres of woodland in the Chilterns Hills, Hertfordshire.

  • Jenni

    I have just returned from seeing the film with my mother and we both thoroughly enjoyed it, as we did the original film.

    Did I think the fairies head were a little too big? Yes. Did I understand why their names were changed? No. Do I care? Not really.

    I am a fan of many things in the geek/nerd culture and there will always be a big outcry when things that are changed are not to the fans liking. I have been one of those shouting in the past. However, I, and my mother, thoroughly enjoyed Maleficent and quite frankly I disagree with your review, the negatives anyway. It is your opinion of course and I have mine. You disliked it and I didn’t.
    We are both fans I take it of the original Sleeping Beauty but I seem to accept the changes they have made to create a new film inspired by it’s source material. I don’t think you have.
    Was the script strong? Maybe not, but I would not have called it terrible and as I have said I still enjoyed the film and it didn’t irk me at all, I would be saying quite strongly if it had. The costumes, cgi characters and general look of the entire film was stunning. The costume designer for Maleficent herself was brilliant.
    I smiled to myself at the ‘true loves kiss’ change at the end and did think of Frozen but I would imagine they written at similar times so I wouldn’t one inspired the other. As we know the film has been in the works for quite some time. The ending also worked well for the film. Let’s not forget it is a re-telling, not just a live action of Sleeping Beauty.

  • Richard K.

    This is my one trill comment for the film so forgive me: Know what really put Aurora to sleep? Having to watch Maleficent. The movie was a mess.

    • Craig Williams

      I like what you did there, sir.

  • susan

    i am going to see it tonight, but i think i’m starting with a fundamentally different view on exactly how interesting evil is. in the animated film, maleficent isn’t present for too long in the movie, but when you have to sustain over 2 hours of film as the leading lady, “super duper evil” gets boring after a while. this is something that even Shakespeare knew in his day (which is why characters like Richard III and Iago have a few memorable speeches in which the actor can garner some sympathy). very very dark *isn’t* really complicated. it’s a caricature.

    i might agree that a tainted love story as maleficent’s background is a little trite. for elsa in frozen, it was essentially emotional abuse and psychological terror combined with isolation…but i digress. however trite the background story might be (love, unrequited love, etc), ever heard of the ‘banality of evil?’ so much bad in the world is the result of something that seems silly or trite to an onlooker.

    i have no issue with maleficent being turned into a protagonist that focuses less on “cool evil” and more so on how she got there. and if that’s because of unrequited love, fine. there are many femme fatals who have the same excuse. i don’t see why this change from “evil character” to a dull (ie, less evil) protagonist has to mean that the movie is “[hillariously]” bad.

    i look forward to seeing it tonight.

  • Jamie Simms

    Define “Review”; A critical appraisal of a book, play, film etc. published in a newspaper, magazine or website.

    I’m sorry people, I’ve fed up with seeing comments about their jobs and it’s got me riled up. Shaun and Craig do amazing jobs, just because they don’t like or agree with something you like, DON’T GIVE THEM CRAP, Simple.

    Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel wouldn’t praise everything about a movie and that’s what makes a good reviewer. There has to be flaws otherwise you have to understand that there would be no point in doing a review and say; Everything is wonderful. Just accept it and move along…

    This article is a good review; the in depth analysis of each particular element is great. I’m yet to see the film, so I’ll share my views of it when I watched it.

    But please, stop with the hating!

  • reason36

    Hey, thanks for putting a major spoiler right in the title of the digest article!
    Next time maybe leave ALL opinions to be read in the body of the review article please!

    I did not read the actual article yet as I am seeing it tonight, but bummer dude.

    • Craig Williams

      I’ve read it six times now and I can’t find said spoiler. Did we spoil it by saying it was bad, because that’s not a spoiler…a spoiler is something that gives away the plot or a critical aspect of that film that would ruin the entire movie. If saying I don’t like the movie spoils it for you then I can’t help you any further. I’m sorry.

  • Belle5

    I had no preconceived notions about this movie (glad I hadn’t read this review first)! I loved it! I thought it was really well done! Our audience applauded at the conclusion, as well!

  • Elizabeth

    You know, there are countless Disney movies that end in spells being broken by a dude kissing the princess and no one says a word about it, but GOD FORBID there are TWO Disney movies where women save each other in the end, right?

    • Dana

      Except when you’re only changing the entire plot of the stinking story, and your so-called “different ending” is exactly like the ending of another recent movie.

      YAWN.

      You know what would be original at this point? Especially from Disney? A prince is at death’s door and can only be saved by a kiss from the scullery maid.

    • Nicole L. Mancini

      I think this is really being taken out of context. No where did I see Craig, Shaun, or anyone denounce the film because Maleficent kissed Aurora’s head – much in the way that a mother would to her child. Instead, it seems that many Disney fans take issue with how it changes the original story. I took your comment to imply that those critiquing this scene are anti-gay which couldn’t be farthest from the truth when one actually watches the film.

  • Anon

    Craig hates everything.

    • Craig Williams

      Sure I do. Let me go break the news to my girlfriend, parents, sister, grandparents, friends, other relatives, beluga whales, manatees, spider monkeys, and Guy Fieri that I hate everything about them.

  • NappingBeauty

    I really, really, REALLY didn’t like this movie. I feel like it’s confused. It doesn’t know what it’s trying to do. Is it a prequel? Is it a remake? A re-telling? It tries to do all these things and fails miserably at them. Jolie is AMAZING when the script lets her actually BE Maleficent. The background history stuff was cool at first, despite the weird roofie scene (I was like, really, in a Disney movie?), and I thought, this would be cool if the whole movie was a setup to why shes so evil in the first place. But nope, it’s more like, “Sorry I was a bitch that one time, cause I’m being portrayed as a petty ex girlfriend but i’m cool now cause apparently all i ever needed was a child of my own!” They didn’t take the time the explain how the magic works. Like, what are the rules? She can turn crow-man into whatever the script calls for, but she cant give herself wings back? 2 lines of dialog could have fixed that. Why is she the “protector of the realm” at age 16? It makes my head hurt. I’ll let a lot go in a fantasy movie, but it has to set itself up as a real world, not just make up rules as you go. My BIGGEST complaint is the dragon scene. Let’s make a famous Disney villain into a hero!! Fine. Let’s change Sleeping Beauty around completely! Fine. (which, time out, she’s literally “sleeping” for like 10 minutes! Napping Beauty) I’m all for it, but Let’s make someone else the dragon!!! Nope. No. NO!!! WHY would you not let Maleficent be a dragon?!! WHY? It’s the most ICONIC thing from your source material besides Sleeping Beauty herself!! Nope, crow-man gets to be a dragon for 5 seconds, who is then rendered useless while I wait for my magic wings to reattach themselves. If you had a good time watching this, awesome. I’m glad you did. I dont regret my $5. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I just really hated it. I walked out not sure about it, but now I can say I hate it. I hate it not so much for what it is, but for wasting what it could have been. I’m now fearing for Cinderella. Disney isnt really good with live action anymore. :(

    • Dana

      Wait. Wait. Jolie plays someone who is made good by having a child? Oh, that’s rich.

  • Dana

    Big difference between “I enjoyed that movie” and “it was a great movie.”

    I enjoyed Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and would even recommend it to others with a sense of humor similar to mine if I weren’t fairly certain they’ve all seen it, but I would never claim it was great.

    • Craig Williams

      Alllllllrighty then. But on a serious note – you are turning into one of my new personal heroes today with all of your comments, Dana. It’s nice to see that some other people do understand the difference.

  • Amanda Terese Burgess

    I personally disagree, I loved it, I’m not a huge fan of Angelina Jolie but thought she was magnificent in this role. I loved the re telling of one of my favourite fairy stories and found it totally plausible. I did think what on earth was Stefan thinking sending his daughter off with 3 idiotic fairies but then that gave a reason for Maleficent to watch over Aurora. I loved the fact Maleficent broke the curse and I actually shed a few real tears. I have always been one to question why people act the way they do and I feel I now have had one of my questions answered. For me Maleficent is no longer a Villain and she finally has a happy ending.

    • Craig Williams

      I’m glad you loved the movie, but your last sentence is exactly what was wrong with the movie. Maleficent should still be a villain and shouldn’t have a happy ending. She could still have the conflicting sides of right and wrong throughout the film, but at the end of it she needed to be a villain to continue Maleficent’s role as one of the greatest, if not the best, Disney villain. If Walt Disney wanted to her be anything other than a villain then it would’ve happened the first time around. This movie was only made to be a cash cow after Disney saw how people threw their money away on Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Like I said, I’m glad you loved the movie, but giving a villain a happy ending? It didn’t need to happen and had she been the evil character people expected her to be, the film would be better – maybe not with the 5-12-year-old girls who are clamoring over the movie, but in general.

      • Amanda Terese Burgess

        Why should Maleficent have to be the villain? From one perspective ie the original movie, she appeared to be the villain. Appearances are not always correct. Any how I loved it and I mean really loved it. Disney are in the business to make money it would be naive to presume anything less. Good for them if they have made lots of money. More money to spend on Cinderella.

  • mchelle77

    I have to say that I just posted some similar comments on Facebook about the movie: Angelina Jolie was great; the “berries and black nuts” comment had me trying to keep my laughter in so I didn’t have to explain myself to my 9 year old daughter; why change the fairy godmothers’ names?! Elle Fanning’s acting was awkward .. it was almost like she had the mentality of a 6 or 7 year old, SO naive and … simple? Silly? NOT a fan. And I’m conflicted about the change in general – it’s almost like when you read a book and have this idea in your head of how it should go, and then you see the movie and like and hate it all at once. Sleeping Beauty was my all-time favorite Disney princess, I can remember playing the VHS over and over, so to have that all changed was hard to swallow. But I would go see it again.

  • pat

    So, first thought. Wasn’t the idea of someone’s “evilness” being explained in a story done before? Wizard of Oz begets Wicked? Sound familiar? A little disappointed that Disney couldn’t just run with plain ole ‘good’ versus ‘evil’. Or at least come up with a completely original idea. Also agree with previous comments about the fairies, why change the names and personalities? They, like, “loves first kiss ” were such great parts of the original movie.
    Secondly, why attack Craig and Shaun just because you don’t happen to agree with them. They are stating their opinions, not telling you that you can’t form your own.
    I, am not an Angelina Jolie fan, so sue me. Loved Saving Mr. Banks, loved Frozen, Maleficent? Eh!

  • Lori Bilodeau

    Wow! Some of the comments to this blog are absolutely visceral! Way to stir the hornet’s nest! (just kidding, sort of)

    But truly, the fact that they threw aside Evil Maleficent in favor of “poor, misunderstood fairy” Maleficent is patronizing. The whole movie is insulting to my intelligence. But is anyone shocked after Frozen? Wicked? The “misunderstood evil queen (witch)” story has worked before. Leave it to Hollywood (and alas, Disney) to beat the dead horse.

    Next, I expect to see how humans fished Ursula’s family to extinction, explaining her attempts to sink ships. Or Hook. Obviously it was Peter who struck first! Poor Hook lost his hand, and now he fights for his life. In short, there is no evil anymore, just misunderstood, misguided characters. And we pay to sit through the drivel. So expect it to continue.

    • Craig Williams

      If you keep coming up with ideas like those you are going to be writing scripts for Disney before the end of the decade. Therefore, I would congratulate you, but potentially become your mortal enemy apparently. But I really enjoy your line “insulting to my intelligence.” You are spot on.

      • Lori Bilodeau

        Don’t get me wrong – I lament the end of the “Evil Disney Villain” and the rise of the Misunderstood Protagonist. The world loves a good villain…so why ruin a perfectly evil Maleficent? In fact, the movie being live action and not a cartoon, if anything I expected someone more diabolical, more edgy. They had a huge opportunity, and I feel it slipped through their fingers because, I don’t know, they were going for artsy? Let down by Hollywood again!

        • Craig Williams

          I completely agree with every single thing you have said. Welcome to the minority. We might get crap for what we think, but if we stand behind what we believe then maybe one day Hollywood will change for the better.

          • Christopher De Jesus

            Excuse me but it seems to me that you aren’t in the minority, so many people believe it was a horrible movie (Or at least portray it that way). I almost feel like I’m the one in the minority for actually liking how they made the movie. However, yes the script could of been MUCH MUCH MUCH better. Still, when it comes to the plot, I really liked it because there is no flat out “evil.” The only “evil” is vengeance and hate which this explains to the audience very well in multiple cases.

            First let us find out what a villain. (You already know this but just bear with me.) A villain is someone who is doing something the viewer could agree is inherently evil. Then what is evil? Evil is very subjective since she probably saw it perfectly fit to curse the daughter of King Stephen. Wait a second though. She just cursed a baby, THOUGH THE BABY DID NOTHING WRONG. Therefore, she has to be evil. Therefore since she is an important character, has to be a villain. But going back, she did that because of King Stephen, who took away ONE of her greatest abilities, flight/wings (wings because she also used them as effective weapons). So now you have a very subjective choice. Who should be blamed for the curse. Is it Stephen’s fault, for he was the one who did a very evil wrong to Maleficient. Or, is it Maleficient’s fault, for she was the one who put the curse on the baby, rather than the actual man who did the evil.

            So that is why Maleficient can still be considered strongly as THE villain. She was the one who caused the main conflict in the story, the curse. Some may also consider the King is the main conflict, but that is Maleficient’s conflict. So I believe I can argue that there are two conflicts in this story. A conflict from Maleficient’s point of view, and a main conflict that the whole story has been based off of, the Curse.

  • Cmwade77

    Honestly I think this revue is way off. I think that Disney did a great job. Are there things they could have done better? Of course, but overall was very well done.

  • disneynerd

    Y’all appear to be in the minority. We loved it!

  • Disney Beth

    We went the other night and thought it was great! We saw the 3D version. We brought my daughters friends who were all 10 and they loved it. I think it was a great movie that stayed interesting at on your seat most of the time.

  • R.

    This was spot on… Maleficent was the worst movie I have seen all year…. Terrible terrible terrible in so many ways… If you go in thinking it is a comedy, then it gets enjoyable about a quarter of the way through…. Everything is done wrong, from the changing of the characters, to a terrible plot, to the kiss, to JUST everything.

  • MsDiz Nettles

    I find that the best way to watch a movie, read a book, visit an attraction, etc., is to do it with a clean slate approach. That is to say that I try to judge it wholly on it’s own without comparing it to anything I already know. By experiencing something new with, say, a child’s first impression type approach, I can more easily judge what it is that appeals to me or not (unbiased). For me it is extremely difficult to do, but often necessary. By comparing something new to other things that I already know will drive me insane because the critical comparisons seem to never end (too many variables to consider). To me it seems that each person forms their own opinion about anything based on his or her own criteria but may indeed choose to follow another persons lead of opinion. But just because someone doesn’t decide to follow another’s lead doesn’t necessarily mean that they should react to that person in a hostile way. Critics have a hard job folks, let’s not act as if they are trying to take away our rights, please.

  • susan

    so many here have a simplistic view of “evil,” as if it is a transcendent quality beyond human control rather than a symptom of broken heart, bruised pride, entitlement, and so forth. mustache twirling-sniveling evil *cannot* sustain the role as a protagonist. it’s boring. Maleficent’s evilness was only entertaining in the original because she was only on screen for a total of less than ten minutes.

    and I’m face-palming right now because we’re acting as if there was no evil in the movie. What about the king’s evil? What about instead of thinking that the bad guy looks like a villain with horns and red lips, we accept that evil can come from someone also thought of as noble and good (like a king or a political leader)?

    that said, I’m disappointed that her background story is called “trite.” the king took something so dear to her (her mobilization, her power, her identity). i was furious and heartbroken (Jolie did an amazing job with the scene–her cries are unforgettable). i think it’s reason enough to be angry and soon after, try to take something dear from him as well.

    Yes, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion (need that be said?). but these young men doing the review missed the mature themes of the story. very adult themes that compel us to acknowledge that there’s no “evil person vs. good person” in the world. that’s the kind of mentality that leads to everyday bigotry and, on a larger scale, war. We’re all capable of it: a slighted Maleficent, who lost who she was, who was *mutilated* and then sought retribution at any cost; and also, the ambitious man, who wanted to be great at any cost–who loved women (his daughter and maybe his wife) and who abused them as well.

    If you’re not catching on to this, I dunno what to tell you. take a critical reading class 101?

    • Craig Williams

      I probably should’ve found time for Critical Reading in between Film Studies and Literary Criticism, but that would’ve interrupted my afternoon break and let’s face it…Critical Reading felt a little too “high school” considering I already needed those skills to make it into college and also Grad school for that matter…

      Don’t hit your face too hard when you’re palming yourself there. We never said there wasn’t evil. We just didn’t mention the fact that King Stefan is now portrayed as the villain as it wasn’t necessary to our argument. Our argument, which we shouldn’t have to state again is that the character Maleficent is a villain, but not in this film. She is celebrated by Disney fans for being a villain. In this “reinvention” the creative team behind the film could have and did do something extremely creative with Maleficent’s back story, but from the moment she turned evil, through the birth of Aurora and the climax of the film she should’ve remained a villain. Now the name Maleficent is tainted in Disney culture in this strange mix of ‘is she or isn’t she’ in regards to her villain status. It’s one thing for a character to change throughout the course of a story (example – Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean being a villain in the first and then joining the cause against the new villains), but this was a different side of a story, not a continuation.

      Now, quit using Google to search “How to defend myself in an argument about literature” and please learn that these young men are actually adults who are very smart and also have a great sense of humor . How can I trust your discussion on “mature themes” if you can’t even use punctuation, capitalization and the basics of grammar and literature?

      My suggestion is think long and hard about your argument, stop smacking yourself in the head because it could lead to blunt force trauma and never try to sound smarter than you really are.

      If you’re not catching on to this, I don’t know what to tell you.

      • susan

        wow.

        before you consider me “not as smart as I think I am,” fess up that you know nothing about me, who i am, what/where i’ve published. i choose to ignore basic grammar because this is an informal board but, it looks like you’re taking this pretty seriously. So seriously, in fact, that you’ve made personal attacks against anyone who had a different reading of the movie. granted, i made one dig at the end (not particularly toward you, but i guess it struck a nerve). but what you wrote is just…well, wow.

        you’re still missing the crux of what I’m saying, which tells me that you don’t want to actually engage with it. let me get this straight: you prefer the bad guy (or woman, and that’s not an unimportant detail) fashioned in an era of blatant American sexism to be the same decades later because that’s bad people are bad people, simple as that. there’s no such thing as regret or reparation or reconciliation. only evil. i’m sorry, but that’s a really small and immature way of thinking about evil. not even quite sure how you’re defining evil or thinking through it (for my part, i rely on Arendtl). and, that you refer to her new character as “weak” because she is what? capable of love? of remorse? of admitting her flaws and her capacity to be evil? that, too, is immature.

        now, we can talk about how the movie could have done a better job complicating evil–perhaps the execution was off. but you are, from the very start of your title, throwing pop corn and laughing at any deviation from evil as you understood it at 8 years old (or whenever you watched the first Maleficent). so, yeah, i’m gonna stick with “immature” for you, and your reply (which didn’t at all actually respond to anything i wrote) is i suppose to be expected. it’s full of “clever” cut downs and bullying tactics that matches your belief that a flat affect and apathetic demeanor is “entertaining.”

        if you can’t acknowledge that there are smart reasons to like what the movie is trying to do (regardless of aesthetic) then you’re pretty closed minded. and if you’re so closed minded, why even interact with those responding to your review? if you think you’re right, just keep liking the posts of people who agree with you and bugger off. you’re a busy working man, all grown up and slamming “bad b-movies.” find something else to do.

        what i wrote was fair and offered something of a different point of view that questions what we mean by “evil” in the first place. if you didn’t catch on to this…well, lol…film studies.

        • Craig Williams

          Sorry? You couldn’t handle someone making assumptions about you even though you made assumptions about us? I can tell you are smart as you know how to form sentences and state an argument, but please, as much as you think this is an informal board, it is read by a lot of people, sometimes even children, and when you type in all lowercase and use improper punctuation you are setting a bad example for those who don’t know any better. If you really care about the English language and all that is involved then do the right thing.

          I must make this clear. I am happy to hear that people enjoyed the movie. I enjoy bad movies all the time and get frustrated when someone doesn’t see it in the same light I do. That is life. I am only trying to engage in discussions with those who are not providing logical arguments.

          That being said, I do not prefer the bad guy (or girl) to be that classic bad just for the sake of being bad. As I’ve said before, I studied these topics and know that a complex character is an interesting character. In this film Maleficent was never the villain. She started off as a good character, had some bad luck along the way with the future King Stefan, put one little curse on a little girl and then started to feel bad for it and made up for it. Putting one curse on Aurora does not say evil at all to me. To me that was on the same level as when you see a movie where a child tells their parent that they hate them and then take it back by the end of the film. However, King Stefan slipped further and further into an evil state throughout the film and was the true villain.

          Disney now has one character, Maleficent, who is a villain and also a hero at the same time. Had Maleficent been marketed as “Watch your favorite Disney Villain turn into a hero” then none of us would be having this certain discussion. Instead they pushed it as Maleficent was a reinvention of the villain, but implying that she was still going to be the classic villain that Disney fans love. However, as I have already said, she was never a villain in the film. One bad act doesn’t make you a villain and when I called her weak it is because I personally saw her as an extremely strong character/fairy/whatever we want to call it once she lost her wings and wonder how she could’ve been so vulnerable before considering how she was able to persevere after. I don’t think she was given enough credit as a character before and was written to be too much of the victim.

          Now, I answered part of your argument the first time and this time around I answered even more and once again point out that you are still referring to myself and the other author as immature when you cried in your first argument about personal attacks. This is called a double standard meaning, in simple terms, you are more than happy to dish it out, but you have issues taking criticism as well.

          My problems with the film is that the CGI was weak for being 2014, the script was laughable at too many points, the true love’s kiss coming from different places doesn’t need to become the new normal from Disney and the actors and actresses in the film could not even compete on the same level as Jolie. The sad part is, I think Sharlto Copley should’ve been the best actor on the film considering he is a gem in District 9, but the script wasn’t up to par. We can talk about the complications of evil if you want, but in my opinion that is reading too far into this film just for the fact of trying to analyze it in the same way that you would be wasting your time trying to analyze Dumb and Dumber.

          To wrap this up, I can acknowledge why people would like this film. You’re right when you say the aesthetic issue is my problem and I agree, but in terms of the story I totally get why people love this movie. My problem is this story was used in a reinvention of Maleficent. Maleficent didn’t need to be altered in this way and had Disney just renamed every single character, came up with a new name for this fairy who lost her wings and called it a loose adaptation of Sleeping Beauty my only issues would be the aesthetics, dialogue and acting – not the story.

          Now, what I wrote was fair and even more detailed than what you presented. I know you want to keep questioning evil, but over a review of Maleficent isn’t the place. I think it would fit much more nicely in a class possibly even devoted to the imagery of good and evil in the Bible compared to ancient literature and modern literature, but that’s just me. Heck, I will even come up with a list of movies that are recent or current that we could better discuss the definitions and complexities of evil. I just don’t personally see Maleficent as a strong contender in that game, because their is a one-sided evil king. I am really trying to hold back and think I’m doing a great job in this game of insulting each other about which classes you took and which classes I took, so how about we just discuss the details of the film if they need to even be discussed anymore at this point and we leave the other stuff out of it.

          • susan

            craig, i sent a letter to dis boards and want to go ahead and say publicly that i regret entering in a match of insults. in truth, my feelings were hurt because you have (and, sigh, you continue) to insinuate that i’m not smart just because i’m not capitalizing. i refuse to. just because. now i’m having fun not doing it…(does it bug you? does it?) but seriously, be nice. “no capitalization” does not necessarily mean “stupid.” in fact, inarticulate does not necessarily mean stupid.

            what i should have done was clarify that when i bring up “mature” themes of the movie that weren’t mention, i should have clarified that it doesn’t mean you are immature or that what you wrote wasn’t valid (i’m tired of defending the movie, because i only thought it “ok”). maybe i should have used the phrases “other themes” or “themes i think are important” instead of “mature themes.” i should *not* have tried shoot daggers. my pride was hurt because you didn’t find me smart and insinuated that i was googling random things and hitting myself in the head. but i should have not escalated anything. after all, i don’t even know you and should give you the benefit of the doubt. maybe you don’t write people off for not using capitalization. and maybe, just maybe, you google too. :)

            my sincere apologies. honestly, i like film studies. and i didn’t take critical reading either.

          • Craig Williams

            I apologize too. It got very heated there very quickly, so I want to say that I am in the same place as you. And yes, the capitalization does bug me, and as an instigator for a living I applaud you for doing it right back to me now. I really do apologize for some of the mean things I said, but I hope in the future we can actually have the type of discussion we were both intending to have. :)

            P.S. Who doesn’t us last second Google searches for reaffirmation? ;)

          • DisSteveFan

            I liked the movie but LOVED Craig’s and Susan’s debate :)

        • orlando098

          Maleficent wasn’t evil in the original because of “blatant American sexism” but because that’s how she was in the original fairy tale. And I agree with the reviewer that it ruins the story to take a powerful evil villain and not only give her a backstory to explain why she became that way, but also then totally rewrite the story. As for sexism, I think it’s sexist that a kindly father character – the king – is now some evil abusive male who is the real villain of the story.

  • BunnyFaber

    It was a 90 minute advertisement for Angelina Jolie’s mothering skills. If they wanted to make the ending interesting, the King could have redeemed himself in the end, by saving his only child. Dialogue was laughable, plot was forced and watered down. I guess the only thing left is to go buy the merchandise.

  • Amanda Mims

    I strongly disagree with this review. It was a solid live action fairy tale. The backstory for Maleficent works as “the real story” that is often left out of history books by the “victor”. Maleficent adds depth to a previously two Dimensional character. Evil for Evil-sake doesn’t work in movies or fairytales anymore. People wanna know why, how, and the villains fate. People like redemption, especially Disney.

    There were a lot of questions left unanswered in Sleeping Beauty- Who is this “evil fairy?” Why doesn’t this “fairy” have wings? Why does she want to curse the baby? How did a “fairy” get evil like this when Disney is filled with only “good fairies”. All these and more were answered in Maleficent. As for the acting, I can agree that some of the supporting characters could have done better, but Jolie IS Maleficent incarnate. I’m not sure if even Eleanor Audley could have done better. (In case you don’t know that is the original voice of Maleficent, AND Madam Leota from Haunted Mansion)

    And to answer your last question about the creatures… PLEASE GOOGLE Brian Froud. He is one of the most celebrated fantasy artists. He’s known for Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, Peter Pan (2003) and many book illustrations. He presents fairy folk as they looked BEFORE Disney came and shoved “fairies” into beautiful bodies in tight outfits. Brian Froud represents what “fair folk” used to look like in original English fairy tales. The designer of these creatures needs to be given a medal for breaking the mold and returning to the funky fairytale creatures that used to come in all shapes and sizes.

    • Craig Williams

      I agree that there was depth added to Maleficent, but I don’t think that she should’ve been redeemed. She is a Disney villain and I have a feeling if Walt was around he would’ve kept it that way.

      I’m am very aware of Brian Froud as I am a huge Jim Henson fan and have even been lucky enough to visit Jim Henson Studios and see classic characters like the Skeksis up close. However, Froud, Henson and those who keep the Creature Shop alive to this day have one thing that separates them from the artists who worked on the creatures in this film…they create/created creatures with their own hands and gave them a life that CGI has never been able to truly give characters.

      The creatures in this film, although some are very creative, are for the most part cheap looking CGI characters. I know art is subjective and the characters did have details to them, but next to a human they lost all believability. Part of what Henson and the Creature Shop strived to do was make their creatures seem realistic and camera ready no matter what situation they appeared in whether it was next to other creatures or humans.

      I know this comes off as more of a call to stay away from CGI and move back towards more realistic creatures and movies and general, but that was a huge issue for me when watching Maleficent. Hopefully Disney will be changing their views on overusing CGI with J.J. Abrams already showing that he will be using puppetry in the new Star Wars films, because they are starting to become very guilty for relying too much on CGI.

  • Keebs

    Wow I have to say I disagree with this editorial. Jolie was fantastic, the story line was very good, you need to take it for what it was a remake/twist on a old story. What did you expect a whole new story on Sleeping Beauty? I very much enjoyed the film. I do agree there were some lines that I thought should have been edited but Jolie out did herself. I loved the character development. I think people went into this film thinking Oscar. It was a great film. And yes she becomes a “good guy” but she still was fowl and vicious and still loved by all. I like the twists the movie too.

  • Godofthunder

    I would have no problem with them changing Maleficent around if they did it in a way that wasn’t terrible. I guess the writer watched Revenge of the Sith while penning this one to figure out how to take a once grand villain and make them pretty awful. Even as good as Jolie was at playing her, it just wasn’t enough to save the terrible script. And the black nuts dialog was pure genius!

  • Meh

    Completely disagree with every word. Seen it twice and loved it, well worth the wait.

  • Jana w

    I both totally agree with this opinion and partially disagree with it on different levels (recognizing, of course that its a review and totally subjective, meant to make you think critically and differently about a film)

    I wanted to like the film, and did-as a stand alone film. The story felt real though a bit rushed, and I felt Jolie did a excellent job. Things did get a little shaky at times, but I think it would have held up.

    however…I think that the film is having issues where it butts heads with the old disney fairly tale sleeping beauty.We have all seen the “snow white” story told again, via some thing like Mirror Mirror, or even snow white and the huntsman, and it got critically massacred… A) because it was not good and B) because it was compared at least subconsciously to the disney classic.
    When Disney announced Malificant, I think we all expected something more from the film. This was the company that had MADE the original cartoon, surely they are not going to undermine their own cartoon and make a mess of it…
    and then they kind of did.
    the bottom line is, if some other studio had released this, I feel like I would not have judged it so harshly. I probably would have said “agh, i kind of feel bad for the poor studio but i’ll still watch it on netflix some day when i’m bored. But this is Disney, and these stories are their bread and butter. I expected better.

  • Jessica Welch

    First, let me say I don’t want to see Malificent, but my husband will likely drag me to see it this weekend. From the previews I didn’t like the score, I didn’t like the way the CGI looked and I didn’t want to feel sorry for Malificent. She’s a villain. Let’s leave it at that. This review kinda confirmed my worst suspicions.
    Second, I am appalled by some of these comments. People, a review is an opinion given by another person. This review happens to be a very well thought out opinion. It is not a right or wrong answer. This is not the end all be all of opinions regarding Malificent. To react in such a manner is childish and unnecessary. Sharing your opinion is good. Sharing a well thought out opinion is better. But neither is “right” or “wrong.” Attacking and treating these men the way some people have because they do not agree is immature and frankly has no place on this blog post.
    I will happily share my opinion (I suppose it’s possible that I’ll like it) once I’ve seen the movie. And I will not be upset if my opinion is different from Craig & Shaun’s.

  • Vladimir Parada

    although poorly executed., characters, story and plot in this movie are classically awesome, probably with a different director, slight better dialogues and less use of CGI would’ve made this movie an all time favorite of mine.

  • Oliver G

    Laughed out loud reading this review and agree with many of the points. I thought King Stefan was another negative in the movie for me. Changing him out would have been solid. I also thought Sam Riley was too much like Orlando Bloom.

  • Sally G.

    Just wanted to let our two wonderful Disboard guys know that my 10 year old granddaughter came home sad Saturday night after seeing Maleficent. The fact that she went without me is still overwhelming but I will move on! She had no idea that I was reading your blog and watching the “spoiler alerts” while she was at the theater. She came home with a not so happy face and summed it up this way to me, ” You didn’t miss anything, Nonna!” ( out of the mouths of babes!)
    After watching Pete ” rant” on Tuesday, I felt the need to share. I, too, am embarrassed and annoyed by some of the comments directed at Craig and Shaun. I know they can take care of themselves but lately I have to wonder about some of our fellow disboarders and their negative approach to others opinions.
    As my DH always says ” opinions are like A—-holes, everybody has one!”
    Sorry, unbefitting my stature, but I love it anyway!

  • Hensley

    Thought the movie was good. But that being said I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it was shooting for the “Once Upon a Time” Crowd. Your take on Stefan was spot on. The thing that got me was where were these fairies?! There purpose was to protect Aurora but shes off playing with the “bad guy” half the time. Also are they deaf when they slept through the whole trying to undo the curse scene?!? Those are the things the left me saying HMMM…
    Great review very informative.

  • Mother Russia

    I sat through the movie with my best friends and I must confess I through fully enjoyed it. Not for it’s simply badly written script, horrible forced acting (even from Angelina) and simply awkward poster poses, dear God, no! I laughed through most of the movie. Even when Maleficent’s wings were cut off. I was supposed to feel sorry for her. But I had a fit of uncontrollable laughter through the whole movie at the sole enormity of the horrendousness of this film. I must give it to the CGI team.. they did their job pretty well. At some points this reminded me of the Lord of the Rings (a little… the latter has GOT a storyline). But the scriptwriting is just awfull, the directing is no better and the acting…. well… let’s just leave it at that, shall we.

    I honestly love the story of a misunderstood villain. It is true that there is not true evil in this world and that every action, no matter how horrible, has a reason behind it. But to see such an AWESOME villain ruined by this talent less flick….pains me beyond measure. I know a few directors and script writers who could make this same (even though already cliche) story SO MUCH MORE… watchable?! Or at least if the movie didn’t take itself seriously and purposely had the funny script and terrible acting and awkward scenes then it would be hilarious. But apparently they want Maleficent to be taken seriously.

    I honestly think that sometimes a villain doesn’t need to be hurt by the world to be evil. They just do it because… well… they are POWERFUL and they CAN. And also because it is entertaining. Would you rather see a good guy walk old ladies across the road and help lost orphans find their home while being told he is THE ONE and must destroy the RING OF POWER to SAVE THE WORLD. OR watch a simple overview of an eccentric individual’s view on this world and how everything simply looks different to him/her. An apathetic and just annoyed Maleficent (as Angelina surprisingly portrayed at some points… must give her that!) with the humanity’s filth and greed is just simply a masterpiece. No need for the complicated reasons for her apathy and sociopathy. Just let her be evil for the sake of evil.

    Maybe it’s just a Hannibal fan in me talking but I would love to see more villains like him. Simply enjoying what he is doing… like art. Maleficent’s character would be so much better.

  • stefan

    I enjoyed the film I just didn’t like that they ruined the evil maleficient . Being that my name is stefan I took offense that they made king stefan look so wicked. I think this movie is a continuation of the new Disney dialogue where the standard love isn’t the issue anymore. I think your review was on point with some aspects. You guys need to toughen up a bit when people make bad remarks. Keep up the faith good luck.

  • JolietDVC

    Mixed emotions at best. I am now left wondering who Maleficent is. Is she the strong, diabolical matriarch, or the “you left me weak in the knees and literally clipped my wings” shattered shell of a woman portrayed in the live action movie? The question I have is can Maleficent still be thought of as “the villan” of all Disney animated features or as a hero? My daughters are confused, because at the end of the live action film Aurora says this is actually what happened…so is the animated feature to be dismissed in Sleeping Beauty canon? And my most pressing question of all is…. can Maleficent a still be in the “Villains” store in Hollywood Studios park?

    • alexcunning

      There is no such thing as Sleeping Beauty canon. It’s a tale that has changed form and been retold and re-imagined since the 1300′s, and was probably passed along as an oral folktale for long before that.

  • john joseph

    Just saw it last night. Would not take either my of two girls to see it. Horrible acting and blatantly sexist.

  • Jonathan Chapman

    So super disappointing. One of those films where you should have seen the problems coming from a mile away, but we were all blinded by fandom. That makes it hurt that much more.

  • Mae

    I enjoyed it, but I do agree about the script and some of the acting. I didn’t think Maleficent was weak for being distraught about him taking her wings. I mean, if someone I trusted chopped off one of my limbs for monetary gain I would be pretty pissed… I did work out her kiss would wake Aurora pretty early on though. I guess it’s harder to surprise audiences nowadays.

  • RedM94

    Just a thought, would any of us be having this conversation had Disney not produced Sleeping Beauty in 1959? I enjoyed the movie and want to see it again.

    The great part about “Disney,” is that there is something for everyone to enjoy.

    Thank you for you candid review.

  • Matt

    Good review. It’s sometimes hard to see beyond the hype and form an honest critique of something when we are emotionally attached, but you managed to do that where many others here fail.
    “Maleficent” is what happens when somebody turns what they think is a clever plot twist into an entire movie, but they have no real story to tell. Yes, they have a plot, but the writer(s) didn’t have anything they really wanted to convey with this movie. Instead they were just stuck on the “neatness” of their plot twist and the “coolness” of the world they created. Unfortunately, while you can sometimes find box office success that way, it usually doesn’t result in a true quality film that connects emotionally with the audience and therefore fades rather quickly from the public’s consciousness.

  • Riz

    Linda Woolverton is the maleficent, she managed to destroy the beautiful work of the hard working CG professionals and James Newton powerful score.

  • SleepyLabRat

    I liked the movie. But I do wish they had changed the title character’s name. She should not have become Maleficent until after she was scorned. Look that word up in a dictionary if you need to. Someone at Disney should have.

    • alexcunning

      This. No one names their kid Maleficent. And her character was far from deserving of the name until after her wings were taken. She was basically the opposite of maleficent before, loving, sweet, nurturing, and because of this I started my viewing experience thinking, “Well that makes absolutely no sense.” Never a good way to begin a film. If the humans had given her the name after she cursed Aurora it would have made so much more sense and would have added to the character development. Instead it was just a wtf moment right at the start of the film that left me questioning the main plot choices for the rest of the 97 minutes.

  • Nimue

    I really think that a lot of people commenting on this post don’t quite understand the vision, or purpose, behind the film they are critiquing. Everyone takes in a story in their own way. Some focus on the action, some on the production, others on the characters, the theme, or the story. But it seemed clear to me that this film was not about Angelina Jolie playing Maleficent and giving people a good show. And it was definitely not about making a mirror image of the original, so complaints about Maleficent or the story not being the same as they were before are all void criticisms that really don’t belong in a true review of the film. You can’t complain about her not being as villainous as you thought she was and say that’s a fault in the writing or the producing, because that wasn’t the goal of the movie. The goal of Maleficent was not to recreate an old villain and show you the exact same portrait of the character as you saw before. She was reinvented, given multiple facets, and was meant to be seen this time as a person, not just “the evil witch-dragon with creepy cheeks.” Complaining that she isn’t as evil as before is like complaining that chocolate ice cream doesn’t taste like vanilla. Of course it doesn’t–that wasn’t the purpose.

    I also see people complaining about Aurora’s character, and Phillip’s. I would have to agree that their characterization was minimal to nonexistent. But I don’t think that was a fluke in the writing or the directing or whatever, and I don’t think it was because Angelina Jolie was stealing anyone’s spotlight just because she’s Angelina Jolie. Aurora and Phillip’s characters were intentionally dumbed down because Disney is having a go at themselves and their past use of very stereotypical characters and story arcs. They intentionally made the characters simple and annoying because THAT’S WHAT THEY ARE. Disney is sending people a message and so many are not catching it. The message is that Disney’s old, ridiculous and unrealistic characters are just that; old, ridiculous, and unrealistic, and Disney is finally recognizing that fact out in the open. Those types of characters–the extremely typical and annoyingly recycled prince and princess–have no depth, and that’s exactly what is being portrayed by Phillip and Aurora in Maleficent.

    What some people don’t seem to get is that this movie, along with frozen, is all about sending a new message, raising the bar for storytelling and revolutionizing how (mainly) women are portrayed in children’s media. Maleficent expresses a ton of pro-feminism tropes and themes. The cutting off of Maleficent’s wings, the king’s use of a chain as a weapon against her–all very clear messages for anyone who is sensitive or “intelligent” enough to be picking them up and understanding that’s really what the movie is all about.

    Maleficent and Frozen are connected that way. They are meant to be compared because Disney is telling its audience that this is it; this is where they are going with their new films, this is how they’re going to tell it from now on. Parts of Maleficent sound like Frozen because they’re meant to be sending the same message. One scriptwriter is not just borrowing lines from the other–it’s the company as a whole sending their films in a new direction. The Disney of our childhood days is changing, and it is clearly not going to be the same Disney that our children watch, or our children’s children (thank god.)

    Now, whether or not a person supports those sorts of ideals is their own business and not the point, but MY point is that that’s what the movie is about; every single aspect of the film is so obviously tied to its theme it’s almost painful to come to a review like this and see just how many people haven’t caught on to it yet.

    • Alias Darker

      exactly , people HATE that reinvention, its badly reinvented

  • kk

    King Stefan was atrocious in this film. the acting was terrible. The actors voice made the character annoying and feminine. Bad casting. A different actor would have changed the whole movie for me. Disney could have developed the story line a little better and made the audience feel/get to know the characters better. In one shot you could definitely tell that the crow character had a fake nose extension piece on with thte way that they shot that scene in the lighting they used. Bad directing? I also thought it was dumb and unnecessary that they changed the names and personalities of the fairies. and the order in which they give Aurora their gifts. In general I liked it, but I felt like it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Angelina was amazing though.

  • tom

    if you stayed to the end of the film,you were told that the version of sleeping beauty that
    we grew up on was wrong and that this was the correct version

  • OhMyOrangeJuice

    Lol, glad I’m not the only one making connections with Frozen here. I remember at one point, I half expected Mal to start belting out Let It Go. That would’ve been fun.

  • Lexie

    well i liked it

  • Alissa

    While I agree that the writers did cause Maleficent’s villain status to greatly decline, I did find it interesting that they, at least, admitted to her evil phase . It is easy to compare the plot of this movie to that of “Wicked,” but Elphaba was described to the audience as being entirely misunderstood as the Wicked Witch of the West with none of her actions being done out of malice.
    At least they didn’t portray Maleficent’s curse as a terrible accident…

  • Ryan

    Spot on review. Nice work. I would have loved to see Maleficent as a true villain, but this movie fell very short of that. The soundtrack, as you mentioned, was very good.

  • Alias Darker

    after reading all the negative reviews, I think im gonna skip this movie , i refuse to give my money to lazy , cynical money hungry only producers and filmmakers who would rather use their money to trick the viewers with misleading trailers rather than using it to hire better actors (and by better i mean with talent, emotion range , experience ) . Yet another movie who concentrate only on special effect and esthetics to succeed . and the worse thing is, viewers keep giving their money to these people . so they keep producing this crap . I dont care about the storyline I wish they didnt give Maleficent this pathetic story to justify her evil . Evil is NOT justifiable . I know how to appreciate a good movie villain but in the same time i know they are villains, i know i want to see them fail in the end .