‘Maleficent’ starring Angelina Jolie has received mixed reviews from critics so far although it’s doing exceptionally well at the box office. Overall it was not perceived by the film world as a “good movie” and only got a 51% on rottentomatoes.com. That number pretty much sums up the quality of the film in my opinion. Meaning that parts of the movie I thought were done very well, such as the special effects and Angelina Jolie’s performance. However, the other parts of the film were absolutely horrible and I now have a complete understanding as to why critics and fans are reacting negatively towards ‘Maleficent’.
My first thought leaving the theater was “This could have been great!” but ultimately the film did not execute what it was intending to do correctly. I thought the basic story line was actually really good. The relationship between Aurora aka “Sleeping Beauty” and Maleficent had me emotionally connected to the film, which was surprising because I was already taken out of it due to the bad narrating before I saw this relationship develop. Right from the beginning the visual effects were spectacular and remained so throughout the whole film. This was showcased perfectly in the action scenes which had me extremely excited, especially when the dialogue and plot dragged on too long and got boring. I would assume that to begin with they had a really good outline and somewhere along, whether it was the script or the direction, they got lost and ended up with a below average movie.
Right from the start of the film I found myself starting to get irritated with the narration. I felt like it was lazily put together and it was the wrong tool to use in order to tell the story. I think the narration would’ve been fine if it was actually good but as an adult viewer I wasn’t fooled by the cheap choice of words and didn’t think it flowed smoothly at all. There were also several plot holes and meaningless scenes throughout the movie. They tried to make the “King” some horrible villain and although his connection to Maleficent was well executed, his motives and overall strategies were awful. His character was probably the worst part of the movie in my opinion.
Now although I am bashing ‘Maleficent’ pretty hard I would just like to say that it is an overall entertaining experience in the movie theater. Also, you’ve got to keep in mind that I am not the target audience and I am looking at it from an adult male’s perspective. This movie was made for families and more specifically children. It obviously had enough of an appeal to draw that audience to the theater, bringing in over 160 million dollars thus far at the domestic box office. I think kids will love it so if you have them, it might be worth making a trip to the theater. I give ‘Maleficent’ a 6.5/10.
Now seeing ‘Maleficent’ got me thinking about the idea of old “fairy tales” being converted into feature films. There have been a few up to date but none of them really stand out or are recognized as a great movie.
Recently there has been Alice in Wonderland in 2010, which wasn’t up to par as much as people wanted it to be but made a significant profit at the box office. In 2012 there were two adaptions of Snow White, one titled Mirror Mirror the other being Snow White and the Huntsman. Neither one was received positively although Snow White did well at the box office. My point being that these movies can make money and they have a big appeal to audiences nationwide. These movies can speak to children of this generation, introducing them to our childhood favorites which also gets us adult movie fans interested in seeing the movies as well. They just have to work harder at creating a good film. Maybe these movies have just been made as a “cash grab” so far but someones going to realize sooner or later that you can make a quality “fairy tale” adaption and make it great.
A good example of this is comic book movies. About ten years ago most comic book movies were kind of silly and didn’t usually become globally recognized as quality films, mostly just fun and entertaining. With the exception of a few, like the first couple X-Men films and Raimi’s Spider-Man 1 & 2, there weren’t very many good ones. However, as time went on, studios began to realize that you can make a “great” movie out of comic book material by making it a little more grounded and reality based. They started getting great actors, directors, writers etc and that is what the team’s behind “fairy tale” movies need to do.
There are going to be some of these movies coming very soon and I’m hoping that it is the beginning of a movement, similar to what superhero movies got going right now. In 2015 we will see a live action Cinderella film, which will star Lily James as Cinderella and Kate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine. Sometime in the near future there will be a couple of Beauty and the Beast adaptions and one of them will be a remake of the classic animated Disney film, while the other one will be a darker version based on the original source material. The second one is being developed by Warner Bros. and is said to have Guillermo Del Toro producing.
Overall I am excited to see most of these movies and will hope that they do justice to the original stories that we all know and love. What do you guys think? Was Maleficent good? Do you think they can make really great fairy tale adaptions? Express your thoughts in the comment section.
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