|Jolie brings it in a disappointing film.|
Directed by Robert Stromberg
Produced by Joe Roth
Written by Linda Woolverton
Starring Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville
Disney's latest blockbuster puts a spin on the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty, placing Maleficent (Jolie) in the lead role. Originally portrayed as the villain, Maleficent grows up as a peaceful and happy fairy living in the woods, but she is betrayed by Stefan (Copley), a human she has known most of her life. Stefan's ambition to become king turns Maleficent against him, and she curses his newborn daughter Princess Aurora. After years in hiding, Aurora (Fanning) mistakes Maleficent for her fairy godmother, and the two become inseparable. But the looming curse Maleficent cast cannot be undone, and it threatens to put Aurora in a deep sleep for eternity. Maleficent must battle fate and the king's army if she is to find a way to save Aurora and be reunited with her.
Robert Stromberg's directorial debut shows his background as an Oscar-winning production designer and a visual effects artist. The attractive visuals in the film harken back to Snow White and the Huntsman to the point that it almost feels like a halfhearted rip-off. As far as the visual makeup of the film goes, originality is not at the forefront, but the story is interesting enough to compensate. Jolie is perfectly cast. She plays the strong, conflicted, scorned Maleficent with ease. Fanning, meanwhile, brings Aurora's bubbly and trusting nature to life. Copley has a great character, though he does not do much with him. However, good supporting performances from Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville are at hand. There is magic all around in this film, yet it does not feel that magical. Much like the aforementioned Huntsman, the film takes some risks, but it cannot get past the original story from which it has borrowed. While it looks marvelous, it just seems like I have seen this before.
Oscar Potential: Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Visual Effects