MALEFICENT review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Elle gives us her take on the latest Disney offering, Maleficent.

I have to be honest from the start, I do not like Angelina Jolie. Never have done. For reasons that are completely irrational and likely unjustified, and do not need to be gone into here. I offer this up to add weight to my next statement.

Angelina Jolie is truly magnificent as Maleficent. It is as if she was born to play the part, she totally owns it and the screen is never right without her. I am not overstating by saying she gives the performance of a lifetime, ranging from venomous scorn to utter sadness to deadpan comic timing, all delivered perfectly. I may have to start rethinking my earlier opinion because I left the cinema thankful that Angelina Jolie had been in the film, otherwise there is little to justify a trip to see Disney's latest live action adaptation.

Maleficent tells the back story of one of Disney’s most iconic villains, who we were first introduced to back in the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. When we first meet Maleficent as a young pure-hearted woman she is protecting her 'fairy kingdom' from humans. She falls in love, but suffers a brutal betrayal. This is the catalyst to begin her journey towards the evil sorceress we are used to. Maleficent places a curse on the King's newborn daughter, Aurora, but as the child grows, she realises Aurora holds the key to peace, and maybe even the key to true happiness for Maleficent herself.

So what's wrong with Maleficent? Well it doesn't seem to know what it is, drifting frantically between light-hearted family comedy to a tale of dark revenge, often uncomfortably so. The humour is strong, but is often injected at completely the wrong point jarring you out of some of the better scenes. It's a Disney film, but think more Black Cauldron than Bambi (which is probably not a great example because of Bambi's mother, but hopefully you understand my drift?). The 12a rating is appropriate as chances are some little ones would struggle with the darker elements.

Elle Fanning's Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) isn't utilised particularly well, which is a criticism that could be leveled against most of the supporting actors/characters, the exception being Sharlto Copley’s King Stefan. It's not all bad news. Aside from Jolie's amazing turn and some very funny moments, Maleficent is an absolute treat for the eyes, especially in the forest, but then I'd expect Disney to capture the fairytale look perfectly.

Maleficent is at best a bumpy 90 minute ride, and ultimately it's very predictable which makes the journey not overly satisfying. From the trailers we were presented with, I had hoped for more.

I'd give Maleficent 6 out of 10, but if Angelina Jolie hadn't have been in the leading role that score would most definitely be lower.

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