I would have not gone to see this film if it were not for my sister. On Mother's Day I told her that I would take her to go to see any film of her choosing when they came out. For better or worse, this was the movie I got to see.
Before I go into the film in depth, I would like to put a couple thoughts out on the merits of criticism. While criticism and critical analysis can be a beautiful thing in terms of unveiling creative ways to make things better and what did work, some people like to be overly critical and only point out the flaws in a film. While I can understand distaste and even hatred for films, there is almost always a positive(s) that can be drawn from it. That is the approach I would like to take.
Furthermore, there is also a discussion to be had about our view of movies nowadays. Have we become desensitized to the beauty and awe of film with countless viewing CGI and popcorn extravaganza? Do we really appreciate film now more with our knowledge of the nature and predictability of films and their flaws, or does this get us to appreciate it less? Whatever the answer is, I believe there is an important discussion to be had.
How does this tie into Maleficent? Well, the film isn't all that great. I'm sorry, the cat's out of the bag.
That's doesn't mean it was the worst film in history because of some flaws, and I couldn't appreciate it. I went into this film trying my best to enjoy it, as I do with all films.
To begin with a positive note, this is a visually stunning film. It is utterly beautiful the way that they convey the nature and the way Maleficent can fly. The cinematography of her flying around fairyland (or whatever it is called) is a sight to behold. There are many other moments that are picturesque, but I will not go into them as to not spoil the experience for you first hand. For these moments alone, I am glad I saw it in IMAX.
Angelina Jolie is also excellent in the film. I won't overextend my hand and say that her performance is Oscar worthy. What I will say is that she is one of the best in the business and her moments of pure evil in the film are a joy to watch.
With this in mind, this is a frightfully predictable movie. This would be fine, if this film isn't trying to put a twist on a classic story, but it is. Storytelling is truly the greatest fault in Maleficent. The film plods along with lazy editing between sequences of different characters, and half hearted attempts at making the story into an epic character journey with a twist. The entirety of the film, feels like one big check list. It is as if the director was on set saying, “Ok, we need this sequence for later because it will be a revealed later on. We need this relationship, so we can have this motivation. We need this part of the story and characters, because it is from this lore... etc.”. To make sure the film had a beginning, middle, and an end seemed to be his entire agenda. He left out the part about having substance and depth of emotion.
Then there is the over the top acting. How bad is it? Have you ever watched a film by the name of Batman and Robin? Yeah, at points it stoops to that level. Though, to be fair it is counter-balanced by average, good, and great acting from others. In what order you might ask? The king is horrible, the fairies are bad (though they are occasionally funny because of this), Aurora/Sleeping Beuaty is average, the Crow is good, and Maleficent is great. Feel free to disagree on the order, just remember it is all Obi-Wan's fault!!! He's holding me back!!! It's not fair!!!
Now it brings me back to the point of enjoying films for what they are. I'm not my 9 year old brother who came out saying the film was awesome (so maybe this film works great for the younger audience). I am also not my older brother who would probably see no merit in the film and think it was completely stupid. Somewhere in between these two opinions is where I rest. Maleficent is sort of fun. If you can get past the lazy story telling, predictability, and over the top acting from some of the actors, then you've got a fine film on your hands.
My Personal Preference: 3/5
How well it was made: 2.5/5