Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Maleficent

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Maleficent, the famous vindictive fairy from the Sleeping Beauty story is brought to the big screen – with a difference.
This time, we see her side of the story..

 

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Cast

Angelina Jolie – Maleficent

Elle Fanning – Aurora

Sam Riley – Diaval

Sharlto Copley – Stefan

Lesley Manville – Flittle

Imelda Staunton – Knotgrass

Juno Temple – Thistletwit

Brenton Thwaites – Prince Phillip

Kenneth Cranham – King Henry

 

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Angelina as Maleficent

Just fantastic.
Angelina actually had me laughing out loud during one or two scenes, mainly due to her brilliant comic timing – which was delivered with a deliciously evil British accent.
In my honest opinion, the woman could not have done any better in bringing her character to life; she remained the strongest and best performer throughout the entire movie, and I’m not just basing this on the fact she was the main character – any one of her co-star’s could have stolen the spotlight (Aurora for example) or at least lived up to the same standard of talent as her.
But no one did.

Angelina Jolie was a talent tornado, tearing through the set, rendering the other cast members flattened debris. That is the only way I can describe her in Maleficent.
Her voice technique was fantastic; each letter and every word pronounced with perfect diction, in a wonderfully wicked voice which was so posh it would put Joanna Lumley to shame.
Angelina was the perfect example of the ‘less is more’ theory – she hardly had to do anything, just stand there with that sarcastic look in her eye and mumble a singular word with the comic timing she seemed to master. And it wasn’t just me; quite a few audience members revelled in her darkly comic performance – children seemed to squeal in delight at the things she did on screen, as adults in the auditorium laughed out loud (one elder gentleman a few rows behind me actually seemed to be howling with laughter).

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Watching Angelina perform next to Kenneth Cranham is almost cringeworthy – on his behalf; because as Cranham bows down and puts on the ‘scaredy cat’ mask, he is no match for Angelina at all. It is almost embarassing, watching the man performing as best he can whilst being massively outweighed by the actress, talent-wise.
Poor sod.

I cannot fault her performance, it was outstanding. She was a vamp, a bitch, whose cheekbones carried her face, and performance carried the entire movie.
Angelina was magnificent as Maleficent.

 

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Special Effects & Graphics

This movie pulsated with colour and animation.
From forest creatures to humongous dragons, the movie used some brilliant CGI – the producers did well here.
Even the detail of the bright green mist which spat from Maleficent’s hands was on the button; colours and animation blended together and didn’t disappoint. During one scene, Maleficent whisks Aurora into the air and floats her along a path – the whole thing radiated the feeling of someone floating underwater, but in the middle of a forest instead. Some lovely slow motion action was used duing this scene as the girl’s body rippled, it was quite captivating.

CGI is used to create some bizarre little creatures including water fairies, macho trees which seem to uproot themselves and become fighting machines, scaled water beasts and unusual goblin-type fellows. As these creatures leap about the screen, the colours used are gorgeous; deep purples, pinks, greens and reds – the graphics are done very well (and would be a total treat for Christmas tree light enthusiasts).
Just Maleficent standing still on screen was effective enough; her blinding white face dotted with glowing green eyes, sitting below jet-black glimmering horns.. it was all wonderfully colourful.

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Overall, the special effects were fantastic. They weren’t groundbreaking, but they did manage to provide beautiful clarity; characters and effects that flowed with crisp fluidity, which brought the movie to life.

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Short Story Saviour

A winning element for Maleficent was its length.
This wasn’t an overly long movie – in fact, it moved at a good pace and wrapped itself up as swiftly as it kicked off.
There were no drawn-out monologues performed by downtrodden characters, no boring speeches made by the King or Maleficent herself, no battle scenes which stretched on forever like other movies (A-HEM. Every Lord Of The Rings) – the characters are introduced – the story unfolds – and then you’re done. This movie flows without pause, making it very watchable indeed. Its whole ‘short story’ concept is one of the things I enjoyed most about it, because I didn’t get bored – no switching of butt cheeks or sighing from me – I was kept entertained for all 96 minutes.
Brief but brilliant.

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Mirror, Mirror

What I enjoyed most about the finale between Maleficent and the King and people, was how it was told in reverse of how stories are normally told.
As if a double-sided mirror was held up in the middle of the castle, the fight unfolded from the opposite side; from the view of Maleficent.

Normally in any movie where a feud is about to take place, the build-up is focused entirely on the ‘good’ side, with the good people preparing for the ‘incoming’. However in this case, the good side took a back seat, as we got a glimpse of the preparation from the ‘bad’ side. We saw how Maleficent deals with the events in her own way, leading up to her attack on the castle. Less ‘get your swords ready boys’ and more ‘right.. so how am I going to get into this place – ah yes, via the side entrance’.
We even got detail of how she enters the building, knocks a guard out cold, and tries desperately to locate Aurora. Again, the element of a story being told from the other side was great, different.

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Unlikely Comedy

What Angelina Jolie managed to do was something which is difficult for some actors – she managed to get the audience reacting vocally. Children and adults alike were giggling at her facial expressions, roaring with laughter at her one-liner’s. And I have to admit, I LOL’d myself at some of the things she did.

Before I went to see the movie, I assumed Maleficent would be a dark, stoney-faced character who was pure nastiness throughout; on the contrary she was wonderfully dry with a saracastic sense of humour. I found myself warming to the character as the story unfolded – for various reasons, but more so when the relationship beten her and Aurora takes an unexpected turn..

Angelina delivered her lines with superb comic timing and humour.
The most important scene in the movie where she visits baby Aurora during her christening was brilliant; she swoops in, straight-faced and mean – before breaking into a deliciously wide grin and exclaiming, “WELL WELL” – the posh British accent was amplified massively here. And scenes with dialogue between Maleficent and her servant Diaval included lines such as, “I hate you” and, “oh, come on – that’s funny” – which in any other context would probably go unnoticed, but delivered in Angelina’s fantastically funny way, had the audience howling.

The actress put the hilarity in hellraiser, and inadvertantly delivered a bitch the audience lapped up due to her facial expressions and one-liner’s.

 

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What Went Wrong

The opening scenes between small Aurora and small Diaval: the dialogue the children delivered was just awful, cringeworthy – as if watching a tacky school play. Yes, I know they’re kids – but their performances actually made me cringe.

Immature pissing about – mainly performed by the three fairies – was irrelevant – actions such as throwing flour at each other was just stupid and briefly dissolved the movie’s quality.

At one point, Maleficent loses her wings. My first thought was, “if she’s magical and capable of conjuring any sort of magical aid, why can’t she just grow a new pair?”

Everyone in the story seems to speak in a general English accent – until Maleficent turns a creature into a human to be her slave. When he makes his entrance, he speaks in a deep southern Irish accent! Random.

I personally wondered WHY Aurora had to wait sixteen years to ‘prick her finger’ and fall asleep – when Maleficent could have just put her to sleep anyway, and saved time (like she does during the scene where she floats her through the forest).

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Overall, Maleficent was bloody brilliant.
I wasn’t sure what to expect before going to see it, but assumed it would be another OTT Disney piece of tat – and I was proved wrong, as it was the total opposite.
I can categorically state that Angelina Jolie was superbly cast as the lead role, and single-handedly carried the entire movie with her effective performance.
The audience were loving it, and so was I.
This is a Disney movie of a different kind, and I would urge any fan of Angelina or this genre to give it a go.

 

 

8/10

 

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This entry was posted on May 30, 2014 by .
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