Bru’s Reviews – Maleficent is Magnificent June 9, 2014 – Posted in: Blog, Bru's Reviews, Featured Columns
All original written content is (c) 2014 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
THIS WEEK: The live-action “prequel/remake” to/of Disney’s animated SLEEPING BEAUTY, starring Tomb Raider herself, Angelina Jolie, as the titular (HA! That word makes me giggle) female baddie.
Basically a Malificent biopic with Princess Aurora’s tale mixed in.
Written by Linda Woolverton (based on a bunch of other stories by a bunch of others); Directed by Robert Stromberg.
- You’re probably getting as tired of reading about CG effects as I am writing about them, but they really were spectacular. I didn’t see it in 3D but wish i did. When most everything in the environment/world is made up, it’s easier to make it believable, and everything came across perfectly to my peepers. (Except maybe the wolf—it was “mediocre” when compared to everything else; and see CONS for the fairies.) Monsters, castles, scenery, Wall of Thorns, even normal birds (check out the transformations of character Diaval) are expertly executed.
- Special makeup design by the master, Rick Baker. ‘Nuff said.
- Casting is spot-on. Jolie owns the role. Not only is she still creepy-hot (though no flesh or cleavage, sadly) but her acting chops are at full capacity. You believe her totally. Casting the actress’s real daughter as the toddler Aurora was brilliant, as the brief scene is a ton of fun. And even the baby Aurora is cute enough to melt this he-man’s heart.
- Sharlito Copely (DISTRICT 9) as the Paranoid Stefan did a believable job of a guy who goes nuts, as usual, but I’m noticing a weird pattern. I’ve seen the guy in three major roles now (including playing the baddie in ELYSIUM), and in every single one he’s a dude that goes completely off-the-rails psycho. Does Hollywood not know he can play normal for a whole film? Is it some kind of bizarre South African prejudice?
- Wings! Who knew giant wings could be so cool?
- Two great twists near the end, especially with a certain “pivotal story point”. Didn’t see ’em coming until late. I like that.
- Jolie would make an awesome female Dracula too…in a few shots, you’d swear she had fangs!
- So much for the gripe that Hollywood can’t make a successful movie with a female lead! (And did any of those whiners see GRAVITY? THELMA AND LOUISE? TOMB RAIDER?)
- [FROM MIKE: Nice to see one of the “Nine Old Men”, the amazing Marc Davis, get a screen credit for his role in the original Maleficent’s iconic design.]
- THIS is how you make a movie about a villain and make them sympathetic. Totally believable. I mean, in the original SLEEPING BEAUTY, Maleficent wigs out and curses an innocent infant just ’cause she didn’t get an invite to th’ party? You’d have to be a total bitch to do that. This explains why, and even if you don’t agree with her overreaction, the important thing is you *understand* it. And like the Disney princess film it is, there’s a happy ending.
- Only plot issues are those that come with using characters who wield magic. No spoilers, but if you can turn a little A into a giant B, and B is getting captured, why can’t you just turn B back into a little A so it can easily escape? There’s a couple things like that at the climax, but it’s minor nit-pick stuff.
- If the Wall of Thorns keeps everyone outside from getting in, why do those inside have no problem riding out on a horse at full speed?
- The narration can be a bit corny, especially for today’s jaded crowds; but like I said, this is supposed to be in the classic “Uncle Walt” mold with modern effects.
- The three fairies verge on creepy more than cute. The whole “normal size CG-effect head on a tiny CG-effect body” thing just don’t look right ta me. The blond one is kinda cute, but I’d only do her in her human form. Of course, they didn’t use fat broads like they did in SLEEPING BEAUTY, so score one more for perpetuating that unrealistic female body image!
- If the king burned all the spinning wheels, why are there a ton in storage? And how the hell do you make clothing an’ stuff without them? We should’ve seen nekkid maidens all over th’ place. (Unless they outsourced to China…)
- There’s gonna be a ton of cosplayers imitating this character, more than a few of which probably shouldn’t. [MIKE: I bet some would do a great job, especially those on HEROES OF COSPLAY. Yowza.]
- If you prefer the movies with dour, downbeat, hopeless, open-ended, “realistic” endings, this ain’t for you. It’s DISNEY, remember? Serious “film critic” types need not harsh the buzz of little kids. Shut the hell up an’ go see an art film with subtitles to justify your useless existence. I’m havin’ fun with monsters and scary chicks!
If you have rugrats or are just into these types of movies, you might as well go all in. Enjoy the huge screen experience and own it later. The makeup, production design, costumes, sets and so on are all eye-popping and the “making-ofs” for all would be cool for you and yer little ones. If yer DVD/Bluray collection is nothin’ but action/monster/horror and porn flicks like mine, you can just SEE IT. But I’ll be the outtakes with Jolie’s little kid calling Maleficent “mommy” are pretty funny!
P.S.: How about an original art commission of a Disney princess, Disney Star Wars character or Disney Marvel superhero? Mike Pascale draws me pretty good too. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, Walt Disney, Bob Eiger or Bradjolina. Bru-Hed found out that “maleficent’ is a real word that means, “working or productive of harm or evil”. He thought it meant, “Bony-faced witch with giant head horns and full C-cups.” He loved the red lips the best.