Disney, at the moment, have a habit of rehashing stories from their old films to bring them back to the big screen. Some have been brilliant – Saving Mr Banks, for example – while others have left plenty to be desired – Oz, for example. So when it was announced that there was to be a live action version of Sleeping Beauty, I was dubious to say the least. It wasn’t long until the trailers came out, and I got reasonably excited.
In this live action remaining, Angelina Jolie stars as the dark faerie Maleficent. When Maleficent is betrayed by her human love Stefan, she swears vengeance and places a curse on his infant daughter. As the child grows, Maleficent soon learns that Aurora might be the one person who can restore peace to the kingdom.
This version of Sleeping Beauty is clever, fantastic to look at and hugely enjoyable. Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent is a beautiful bad-ass woman who is sure to be a favourite for costume parties from now until eternity. This is more of a redemption story than anything else and almost completely rewrites the Sleeping Beauty tale that everybody knows. This change in the story keeps the tale fresh and exciting while still retaining a lot of the fairy tale elements.
Having the faerie trio who look after Aurora turn out to be incompetent fools was a great change for someone who thought the saccharin coated faeiries from the animaiton were just too sweet. One of the iconic creatures from the animation, the raven, was given new life in this film in the form of Diaval. Once a simple raven, he becomes the closest advisor to Maleficent when she transforms him into a human. The costume did a fantastic job with Diaval, adding in some wonderful birdy touches including raven feathers in his hair and a bird claw mark in the middle of his chest. It is elements such as this that make the film so wonderful to look at.
The faerie creatures have brilliant creature design. From the tiny water faeries, to the mushroom elf/faeries to the giant tree people, the details are exquisite. Even seeing the film in 2D, it is full immersive, with the battles jumping from the screen.
Unlike many of the recent reimagining of older films, this one it worth a watch. The story is intelligent and engaging and the graphics are simply stunning. As for Angelina Jolie, she is fantastic. I’m not her biggest fan, but she really is brilliant in this role. It’s safe to say that this Halloween I will be breaking out the horns and stepping out as Maleficent.
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