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[Movie] Maleficent

Going to start this one off with a disclaimer, which is this:

I am not an original dyed-in-the-wool Maleficent fangirl. I do not have a massive ladyboner for this Disney villain the way quite a few of my friends do. So I’m taking this movie as itself. It’s been well over a decade (man, probably closer to two) since I last watched Sleeping Beauty, so all I really can say about the original animated lady of menace is that she sure had some style. 

TL;DR: I have absolutely nothing to say about how this movie relates to the character as seen in Sleeping Beauty. So please don’t yell at me.

All right.

I really, really liked this movie. Even more than I expected to, and I was already looking forward to it.

Angelina Jolie? Fucking amazing. I am already so in love with that woman I could write odes to her (non-enhanced) cheekbones, so this did not surprise me. She made a stylish Maleficent, from menacing to downright intimidating even when she was being “good.” And man, those contacts she had. Holy crap, her eyes.

Other than Maleficent, Diaval (Sam Riley), and Stephen (Sharlto Copley), there wasn’t a lot to most of the characters. I found the three pixies particularly grating. There were some odd pacing issues, and the movie seems to kind of get lost and meander during the second act until it remembers where it’s going and launches into the third.

The movie was pretty enough, but could never quite decide if it wanted to look realistic or be overtly cartoonish. I think either style can work just fine (even cartoonish does all right mixed with live action if the movie just jumps in with both feet) but never being willing to commit to one or the other or draw lines between the two realities of the film didn’t serve it well visually. I found myself wishing there was less cgi. A lot less cgi. Particularly when they were in the fairy lands, pretty much everything was computer generated and some of it just…didn’t quite make it out of the uncanny valley, I think. (And missed a golden opportunity for some gorgeous puppets and practical effects.) Or maybe it just looked a little too fake. I found the miniaturized pixies disturbing. They just did not look right in some fundamental way that really bothered me. Score was all right but nothing to write home about.

So, not the best offering I could have hoped for. Honestly, Snow White and the Huntsman did a much better job visually, I think.

What really made me like Maleficent was the story itself, and I found several aspects of it very interesting:

Going to cut this now for major spoilers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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