Post by Mark T. Locker.
Disney has been on quite the roll lately. It doesn’t hurt that they have gobbled up a number of hugely popular dynasties recently, from Star Wars to Pixar to Marvel. This time, however, Disney is not riding on the coattails of any of these, but rather on a retelling of one of their classic retellings of a classic fairy tale. I am talking, of course, about Maleficent, the dark and dramatic Sleeping Beauty spinoff, told from the perspective of Maleficent, who was so cruelly portrayed in the 1959 cartoon version. In the new telling of the story, we learn that Maleficent was a lovely and kind queen of the moors, cruelly betrayed by the greed of men. The king, her former childhood friend, is the real villain here.
Angelina plays the title role, and does a great job, although there are an awful lot of close-ups of her eyes watching through shadows. Perhaps this is some sort of tribute to the original; I don’t know because I haven’t seen it. Beyond that, though, it is a lovely movie. It has a lot of darkness; you would too if you’d been treated as Maleficent had. But Sleeping Beauty brings a brightness and joy to everything and everyone she encounters.
Don’t look for any hackneyed old plot points in this movie! Disney seems to be all about turning all the tired old clichés on their heads; especially the ones they’ve been guilty of perpetuating in the past. Now available on DVD, it’s a great movie to watch with the kids on a chilly autumn evening.