Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mini movie review: Maleficent

Like my mixed feelings about Angelina Jolie, I have mixed feelings about Maleficent.  Jolie is a gifted actress and uses her fame to try to make the world a better place, but I'm still a little icked out by how she and Brad Pitt got together, screwing over Jennifer Aniston in the process.  (To the extent that I think about those people at all, which really isn't that much).  With Maleficient, Disney's live action re-envisioning of the Sleeping Beauty tale, it turns the truly terrifying villain of Sleeping Beauty and turns her into an anti-hero, forced into her villainy by betrayal and brute physical assault, with the removal of Maleficent's faerie wings a clear metaphor for rape.  But the point of the story is not Maleficent's evil but how she was truly good under it all and how Aurora, through her goodness and pureness and a touch of the sapphic, brings a happy, alternate ending to the faerie tale.  The movie just doesn't commit fully to anything, though.  That the handsome prince isn't important is a nice touch, sure, and I loved the dragon - but the real villain is so one dimensional, the rules of magic in this world are conflicting (Maleficent can levitate and toss around soldiers but she can't do it to herself?), and everything is just all that damn CGI.  The best part is Jolie, who commits to the role and who, even under the horns and the prosthetic cheekbones, provides the true heart of this lightweight movie: when she awakens to find her wing-ectomy, the scream she gives is truly terrible and heartrending, and not your typical Disney fare.

Don't eff with Maleficent

Yes, that's the original Disney Sleeping Beauty dragon,
not the new CGI one.  Still excellent.

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