Quantcast
subscriber help

artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Maleficent movie review: fatal enchantment… you know, for kids!

Maleficent red light

Please leave your desire for a well-rounded story in the lockers provided, and keep your arms and legs inside the ride while it is in motion.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have seen the source material (and I am indifferent about it)

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Beware, children, when attempting to rehabilitate a cartoon villain. Or when updating a fairy tale or beloved classic fantasy story. For you tread on treacherous ground, and a successful completion of your quest is far from certain.

As a warning to you all, behold Maleficent, the “true story” behind Disney’s 1959 Sleeping Beauty, and the lesson not learned from Disney’s previous similar outings, Oz the Great and Powerful and Alice in Wonderland. Unless the lesson is: Throw enough theme-park spectacle at audiences and you don’t need to bother with any of that “character” or “story” nonsense, and defo spin it in 3D so you can tack a premium on the ticket price. Though, like Alice and Oz, Maleficent — the first film from *ahem* visual effects artist turned director Robert Stromberg — seems primarily concerned with being its own popup coffeetable book of baroque production design than anything approaching satisfying fantasy drama, it has more in lamented common with the non-Disney Snow White and the Huntsman, in that it feels like the highlight reel from a three-movie epic.

Check out all the “good parts”! Without any of that tedious motivation and character development getting in the way. That epic battle that comes about 15 minutes into the film? I presume that was intended to be the dramatic and exciting climax of the first film in a Maleficent trilogy, once we understood the beef between humans and fairies. Instead, there’s a random human king about whom we know nothing leading his Lord of the Rings-esque army in an attack against the fairy realm, and being repulsed by, I kid you not, Ents. Why? Something about ancient hatreds. Humans are just terrible creatures, greedy and envious, and their king is extra mean. The fairies are kind and gentle and trust one another and don’t even need anyone to rule them, they live in such easy, wondrous harmony.

That lazy simplicity — of which that is only a tiny hint — is supposed to be excusable, I guess, because this is “for kids.” But I suspect even all but the littlest kids will notice such muddled worldbuilding and the confused motives, on both the human and fairy side, that follow. If the fairies don’t need a leader, why don’t they seem to care when Maleficent sets herself up as their queen? (Angelina Jolie [Kung Fu Panda 2, The Tourist] is fab as the vampy witch fairy. It’s a shame the movie lets her down.) Why is human Stefan (Sharlto Copley: Elysium, Europa Report) so horrifically awful to his fairy friend Maleficent after being so nice to her? (Surely there must be more to it than Human = Bad, no?) Why do three “nice” fairies (Lesley Manville [An Adventure in Space and Time, A Christmas Carol], Imelda Staunton [The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!, Arthur Christmas], and Juno Temple [The Dark Knight Rises, The Three Musketeers]) turn their backs on their homeland in order to raise little human baby Aurora (later played as a teen by Elle Fanning: We Bought a Zoo, Super 8) apparently as a favor to the cruel Stefan? How come, if Maleficent casts a nasty revenge spell on the baby — the eternal-sleep thing — but later casts another spell to revoke it when she learns the error of her vindictive ways, it doesn’t stay revoked?

None of Maleficent makes any sense, not even on its own small terms. Please leave your desire for a well-rounded story in the lockers provided, and keep your arms and legs inside the ride while it is in motion.

Scratch the rushed, addled surface, though, and it all gets weirder and more disturbing, and reeks of an homage to 1950s attitudes that we should not be nostalgic about. (The script is by Linda Woolverton, who also wrote the hideous Alice in Wonderland.) Stefan becomes the human king when he betrays Maleficent in an act of dreadful disfigurement that this PG film doesn’t seem able to bring itself to cope with on the level it deserves (I figure my imaginary three-movie version gets at how horrific it is, and how it traumatizes Maleficent). The previous king (Kenneth Cranham: The Legend of Hercules, Closed Circuit) has a daughter (Hannah New), but she doesn’t get to be queen in her own right, but only by being married off to Stefan. At least, I think that’s where King Stefan’s wife — and Aurora’s mother — springs from, and I’m not sure which would be worse for the poor girl: to be transferred along with the crown like a piece of property, or (her only other option) to be cut off from her royal heritage. Either way: ugh.

Contrast dutiful daughter and wife, though, with spurned lover… which is what Maleficent was to Stefan, who had claimed to be her true love before he variously abandoned her and tortured her. Instead of boiling a bunny, Maleficent turns her rage on Stefan’s daughter when she should have cursed him, the bastard. Disney’s most popular villain — and I imagine, its new Princess of Darkness — doesn’t warrant much of a feminist sort of vindication, it would seem. (Off the top of my head, I can think of half a dozen more satisfying plots that could explain a sleeping spell that Maleficent unfairly took the blame for without her actually having to turn her anger at a man against another woman, and an innocent baby at that.) And like everything else here that requires genuine emotion for us to accept, Maleficent’s ultimate redemption feels forced and phony even as it upends a traditional Disney trope that desperately needs upending… partly because it demands that Aurora get a bit of rehabilitation, too, away, from the cartoonish beautiful perfection of a 1950s Disney princess and toward authentic humanity. That probably happens in my imaginary nine-hour, three-film Maleficent epic, but it doesn’t happen here.

And don’t get me started on the finale, which is some speciesist anti-fairy bigotry that should make anyone who cares about magical folk really really angry– Oooo! Look! A dragon!


See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Maleficent for its representation of girls and women.


Like what you’re reading? Sign up for the daily digest email and get links to all the day’s new reviews and other posts.

shop to support Flick Filosopher

Independent film criticism needs your support to survive. I receive a small commission when you purchase almost anything at iTunes (globally) and at Amazon (US, Canada, UK):

    
Maleficent (2014)
US/Can release: May 30 2014
UK/Ire release: May 28 2014

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated WBC (witches be crazy)
MPAA: rated PG for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images
BBFC: rated PG (mild violence, threat, scary scenes)

viewed in 3D
viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • Can’t say this is surprising… the trailers were light on actual plot as well.

  • Diaval

    Don’t say such things. The movie was great.

  • LaSargenta

    OH, NO!! I was looking forward to this. I had hopes.

  • RogerBW

    Well, obviously, a woman can’t attack a man directly.

    Even if she does have world-shaking magic.

    Because, er, because, look over there, more CGI ents!

  • Rone

    Malecifent couldn’t revoke the curse because she said that no power on this earth could revoke it.

  • How was the movie great?

  • But she goes through a whole rigamarole to revoke the curse, and there’s no indication that this failed to do so.

  • David

    I was somewhat interested in seeing this only because I heard Lana Del Ray’s magnificent cover of “Once Upon a Dream.” I’m guessing the song is more enchanting than the movie.

  • Danielm80

    I want to see Angelina’s performance. Otherwise, I’d probably wait for the DVD and watch it on fast forward with the volume off.

  • Bluejay

    Don’t say such things.

    Whatever, Humperdinck. :-)

  • althea

    I wasn’t looking forward to it, mostly because of my vendetta against the Disneyfication of all culture and history, but I didn’t think it would be this bad. That said, now I’m so curious to see what they did that I will be sure to get the DVD from the library sometime in the future. It’s lovely to be able to abandon movies in midstream from my couch.

    althea

  • RogerBW

    Proof, if it were needed, that there’s no longer any consistent style to “A Disney Movie”: sometimes it’s Frozen, sometimes it’s this.

  • Froborr

    Damn. I thought this could go one of two ways, and it sounds like it picked the bad one. Really disappointing, as Maleficent is definitely one of Disney’s best villains, and was already wasted on one pretty crappy movie. (Even choosing to view the 50s Sleeping Beauty as a film about three heroic fairies trying to save a hapless bunch of humans only elevates it to mediocrity, not actual quality.) Now I guess it’s two.

  • Magnus Gonzalez

    Gee, a Disney movie without much plot? Is this the author’s first foray into Sleeping Beauty? Is she for real?
    A summer fun movie devoid of intricacy? Seems like a great reason to give it a meh review..oh wait.
    Cannot stand pretentios p.o.s. like this author. I’m betting a MSNBC viewer who eats kale and uses city bike.

  • LaSargenta
  • Beowulf

    I had to take a pill and lay down (lie down?) after reading this review. What a convoluted plot. And this is for kids…?

  • AA

    Bummer. It looked like it could have been awesome, and I do always love me a good AJolie-popcorn flick.

  • LaSargenta

    I think I’ll still wait for DVD from the library.

  • LaSargenta

    Well, this looked potentially aesthetically lush and maybe interesting…alt-re-telling of Sleeping Beauty. Pixie was reserving judgment but was also interested. Now…DVD. From the library. Like you.

  • Patricia

    I loved it. Just don’t take it too seriously! And my 7 year old granddaughter loved it too.

  • Patricia

    My 7 year old granddaughter thought it was great and it is a child’s film after all! Some people are soooo pompous!

  • Thomas Scott Estes

    I choose to view the 50s Sleeping Beauty as a story about the dashed hopes of a revenge obsessed sorceress.

  • Why do you read film reviews if you don’t think we should take movies seriously?

  • You’ve posted the same defense twice now. Why don’t you tell us what you found “great” about the film?

  • Danielm80

    When people make this sort of comment, they seem to be saying one of two things:

    (1.) I watch movies to forget about my day, and I don’t care whether they’re any good. I can’t understand why anyone else would take them seriously, either, not even the filmmakers.

    (2.) I don’t take children’s movies seriously, because I don’t take children’s opinions seriously.

    ETA: But I’ll probably be accused of being pompous for saying that.

  • So why do people like that bother to read film criticism?

    That’s a rhetorical question. :->

  • Jim Mann

    When my daughter was 7, she thought the best sundaes were hot fudge, made with bubblegum ice cream. That doesn’t mean that such sundaes were great, or that anyone whose taste buds were more developed than those of a 7-year old would want to come anywhere near one.

  • Bluejay

    There are children’s films that are fantastic, and children’s films that are crap. MaryAnn has praised many fantastic children’s films. She didn’t think this was one of them, and she explains why.

    How about you explain why YOU think it’s great, without accusing others of being pompous just because they disagree?

  • Lynn

    At this point I’m guessing it’s because it’s providing “Patricia’s” income

  • Lynn

    Snow White and the Huntsman was not Shakespeare, but it did give the Queen motivations that existed independent of her husband at least.

    From the commercials, I was really hoping that they were going to have the curse essentially be the result of failed diplomacy with a culture the king didn’t know enough about. That at least would have been in the same vein as the lost/omitted invitation from the original.

  • 3) It shut the kid up for 90 minutes!

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Aww, I haz a sad.

  • Greyhound

    I dread the day that we get “Gaston,” dead-serious faux-epic live action “subversion” of Beauty and the Beast about how the Prince was a meanie poo-poo-head to Gaston before the curse because reasons, so Gaston is totally justified in wanting to murder the Beast, complete with horrific CGI versions of Lumiére and Mrs. Potts and lame 3D.

  • Thats a shame. I was hooked by the visuals in the trailer.

  • Danielm80

    If Nathan Fillion stars in it and Joss Whedon writes it, I’ll be there opening weekend.

  • althea

    How is this a children’s film? Hardly looks lighthearted.

  • Franklin Kendrick

    It really was a shame how this film turned out. I wouldn’t bring my youngest sisters to see it because it was too horrific (the mutilation of Maleficent by her “true love”) and the direction of the actors was so half-baked. Elle Fanning, usually one of the most engaging actresses of her generation, was reduced to a smiling, laughing cliche out of Disney’s stock of cliches. She even laughed when death was right in front of her! True, she was gifted the stupid spell of never feeling blue, but that was too much. Jolie was wonderful, but she didn’t have much to do other than sulk around some fabricated wooded sets populated by strange creatures that appear to have been dumped out of a sketchbook. There were no comic relief characters like you would see in Enchanted, Tangled, or even Frozen. Whenever I thought the film would give me a chance to see the characters actually feeling anything, or goodness forbid – contemplate for more than twenty seconds – the film would cut away to some CGI nonsense. I found the internal struggle of Maleficent appealing, but there just wasn’t enough time to flesh it out with all the other breakneck plot developments. For a shorter blockbuster, it felt very dragged out.

  • I think the three fairies who raise Aurora are supposed to be the comic relief. They aren’t funny, but they do seem to fill that niche.

  • Gatson?! Not even he deserves a re-imagined origin story. He has no hidden depths, no motivation.

    If I wanna see a Disney villain get a new re-telling, let’s go with Shere Khan!

  • srichey321

    I’ve read other reviews that it is supposed to be pretty good. Oh well, I will just rent the darn thing in about 3 months.

  • Bluejay

    He has no hidden depths, no motivation.

    I think giving depth and motivation to a cardboard villain is a GREAT reason to have a reimagined origin story. The whole point of a good retelling is to give the audience something they didn’t get from the original.

    Shere Khan is good too. :-)

  • SDG

    Great review, MaryAnn. But if you watch the pyrotechnics here, it’s pretty clearly meant to depict a failed attempt to revoke the curse. The curse-y green magic keeps stubbornly going back into Aurora, despite Maleficent’s unsuccessful attempts to draw it out. You can also hear it on the soundtrack, which echoes back to her words about how “no power on earth” can revoke the curse.

  • There’s nothing at all clear about any of that. Maleficent shows no reaction at all that would indicate that she’s, say, frustrated by a failed attempt to revoke the curse. *That’s* what was needed: a reaction on her part.

  • SDG

    Her reaction is ambiguous, admittedly. But if you watch the scene again, I think you’ll see the visuals and the soundtrack indicate what they were going for.

  • Tom McNeil

    There are some movies I watch that I don’t take seriously because they are not intended to be taken seriously. Sometimes I am in a mood to watch something mindless and stupid, other times to watch something thought provoking.
    I read reviews because I want to hear what certain other people think of certain kinds of movies and I might change my mind about going to see one based on reviews. This movie is a perfect example. I REALLY wanted to see this, based on the trailer, largely because I thought it would be a perfect vehicle for Angelina Jolie. Now I am hesitating and I might wait and rent it later instead.

  • Oracle Mun

    How disappointing. A potentially exciting story wasted. I was really hoping there was more than eye candy at work here.

  • If it requires multiple viewings to get something so simple and necessary to the plot, it isn’t working the way it should.

  • SDG

    Maybe. OTOH, we all miss things from time to time. Anyway, like I said, great review.

  • LaSargenta

    BUT, at least we’ll get good camp out of this!
    http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=b7bf980b9dc901ad4d3c2d23d&id=9fbc21725d&e=4bd8528c9d
    Scroll down a bit.

  • Daniel

    Since everyone on the internet thinks their opinions are so important let me throw mine out too. If you see a trailer and think a movie looks good, go see it. People put too much stock in movie reviews. I have a family of six, ages 33, 32, 17, 15, 13, and 5. We just got back from the theater and ALL unanimously loved this film. Everyone in the theater actually applauded when it was over. This lady who wrote this review is absolutely entitled to her opinion but the fact that it would sway people to see or not see the film boggles my mind.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    “People put too much stock in movie reviews.”

    Would that that were remotely true. Adam Sandler would be relegated to a string of one- and two-season sitcoms, which alone would be a great boon to Western civilization.

    Also, tell me that the irony of coming to a small independant film critic’s site just to say that isn’t lost on you.

  • That was inevitable.

  • People put stock in opinions worth putting stock in. For instance, we have no idea who you are, what other sorts of films you like, where you live and where you grew up. We have just this one nearly anonymous comment to go on. We have no basis whatsoever for deciding if your opinion is worth heeding.

    On the other hand, film critics have long histories of reviews that readers can evaluate as a whole to determine whether a critic is knowledgeable, whether a critic is upfront about her or his biases (or even whether a reader is able to read between the lines to determine those biases), and so on. I use my real name here, and I frequently discuss my background, my politics, my personal life, etc.

    You are free to discount my opinion, of course, but it has a context that yours does not. Which is why my opinion does sway some people, and that’s a perfectly reasonable thing.

    If you see a trailer and you think a movie looks good, the only thing you can know for certain is that the marketing of that film is working. Hint: Marketing sometimes offers dishonest or misleading representations of the thing it is desperately trying to sell to you.

  • Arestis Aresti

    I am 25.. I felt bored during the middle just wondering whether i went to see a family comedy.. However, you cannot but marvel at the visual effects and the excellent cinematography. I believe that AJ was deep and profound in exuding her deep traumatic experience. The princess, I mean come on.. no comment. All this jiggling and chuckling was really annoying.at least for me.. However, I liked the ending.. really..it felt good inside… i cant explain it..This twist, I felt, was touching and appeasing in that it restored justice. Nevertheless, I can relate to those that were disappointed by not being able to enjoy maleficent in her all-time classic evilness. All in all I liked it. For sure I am no critic and I haven’t got the necessary knowledge in providing the relative framework for a review but I would like to find out whether more people around my age felt the way I do.. As always, respect for Mary Ann Johanson’s review is granted..

  • Rod Ribeiro

    By 33 you should have realized that our time on Earth is very limited. I don’t want to risk spending 2 of my precious hours watching a misogynist, misanthropic movie, much less I want my daughters (9 and 1) learning that stuff. As a feminist/atheist/humanist, I’m very swayed by MaryAnn’s reviews (more than Rotten Tomatoes or newspapers).

  • Kayla Diane

    For me, the message the creators were aiming to create in Maleficent was that love conquers all. I felt that in the end and am glad I did. If you are hoping to see a purely evil Maleficent, then I advise you not to watch the film. The cinemetography and special effects left me awestruck. I found Jolie’s performance to be inspiring and dazzling, particularly when she went through the process of learning to care for Aurora while still being bitter towards her. The portion where Maleficent apologized to Aurora for creating the curse made me cry. I felt that Elle’s performance was spot on for what the character called for, which was a wonderstruck princess raised by fairies – nothing more. I left the theater happy and entertained, as did my brother and three friends. You might enjoy it. How can you know if you don’t try? I like reading people’s opinion’s, which is why I read MaryAnn’s, but I hope you also might consider mine and check out the film open-minded.

  • Mary Ann over time has established a pattern in her reviews that tends to align with my own opinions. So when she says, this is not so great, there is a better than even chance I will not enjoy the movie. Why would I, knowing this, spend upwards of $10 a ticket to see this?

  • Was curious about what you’d have to say about this abortion from Disney. Casting Jolie was about the only thing that I approved of in this film. You’re spot on about the lack of comprehensible story, but it was the predictable misandry and sickeningly sweet girl power idealism in this remake that made me want to throw up in my mouth a little. And, strangely, there are a lot of obvious errors with casting this version of Maleficent into the role of a “complex” feminist vindicator/avenger.

  • Tonio Kruger

    “No one fights like Shere Khan, no one bites like Shere Khan, no one goes around eating whites like Shere Khan…”

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Absolutely agree. I think the critics were really off the mark here. My “take” on this, as a fable:

    Once upon a time, I saw a film in the congenial company of a stout-hearted 8 year old girl. The Critics, Wise-Folk all, had been less than enthusiastic, some downright dismissive. Could it really be as hollow, dank and dreary as they claimed?

    I saw a classic, timeless fable, blessedly free of tiresome, anachronistic wisecracks. As all good fairy tales do, this one touched upon themes well known to us all, the dangers of unchecked ambition and greed. The self-destructiveness of revenge. The nature of love –under what conditions does it grow, what can wither it? The ability of a broken heart to find love again, despite itself.

    I saw a charismatic, darkness-and-light star turn by Angelina Jolie, and fine performances by a supporting cast. I laughed at a trio of silly fairy creatures, and chuckled at a vain, shape-shifing crow (his “Beautiful Self, indeed!). Ok, prince charming was a cipher. But he was meant to be. Yes, Aurora the sleeping beauty was naïve and innocent, just as she was meant to be. At the end of the story, narrated by a wise old lady who had witnessed it all, the audience spontaneously applauded.

    After the movie, my 8 year old friend proudly posed in front of a cut-out portrait of “Maleficant.” After pumping her tiny biceps, she flapped her arms like “wings” and went carooming out of the theatre into the early evening sun.

    The End

  • Bluejay

    The Critics, Wise-Folk all

    Why the sarcasm? Are you also dismissive of critics when their opinion matches yours?

    I’m always puzzled by people who feel they need to sneer at critics who don’t share their opinions. Critics are people, and people don’t always agree. But even when I don’t share MaryAnn’s opinion on a particular film, I often find that her perspective is enlightening, because it’s never bad to see something from a different point of view, and to be exposed to interpretations I may not have previously considered.

  • Tonio Kruger

    As opposed to the past when sometimes they gave a good film like The Rescuers Down Under and sometimes a bad film like the original Rescuers. Or sometimes a classic like The Lion King. And sometimes a mediocrity like Hercules.

  • I think they wanted to do a Hero’s Journey, but forgot that the redemption comes with the hero dying at the end! C’mon, they owns Star Wars Franchise: Darth Vader redeems himself at the very end and then DIES! I think that scene where it shows Maleficent kissing her instead of the prince it’s supposed to be at the very end, along with her DEATH! That is a key scene to the whole arc!! It should’ve shown only the Prince kissing Aurora, and then: suspense, nothing happens…. and cuts through, showing Aurora already awake (hinting us that was the prince who did, because, well we know the fable!). And the ultimate battle between the King Stefan and Maleficent, should culminate with both being killed (maybe Stefan doing the final blow to Maleficent and then the Dragon kills him spectacularly!), and Maleficent at her death telling a crying Aurora that she now believes True Love do exist (and now showing us that scene where it shows it was Maleficent that kissed her!), and at her final moments, she then gains her lost wings and disappear. THAT is a epic redemption!! Well, at least for me…. (btw sorry for any mistakes!)

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Wow; I thought “Wise-Folk” was pretty gentle…and in keeping with the dialog in the film.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    (Premature comment trigger-finger). I also think “sneering” and “dismissive” is overstated here.
    I think my opinion is supported by the facts as I observe them. Also, as a poet and essayist, I know how challenging it is to create something, and I was surprised at the reviewer here’s snarky comments, such as “you don’t need to bother with… ‘character’ or ‘story'” and I didn’t care for the snide “ahem” visual effects background of the director.

  • Bluejay

    I think my opinion is supported by the facts as I observe them and I stand by it.

    Good for you! I’m sure I also don’t need to point out that the critics who disliked the film can also truthfully say the same. Ain’t subjectivity grand? :-)

    Also, as a poet and essayist, I know how challenging it is to create something, and I was surprised by Ms. Johanson’s snarky comments

    MaryAnn has written short stories and screenplays, and she knows how challenging it is to create something too. Art criticism doesn’t require stroking the artist’s fragile ego and saying “This is hard, and I can see you made a real effort.” It means expressing your judgment and opinion of the work itself, and snark is a perfectly acceptable means of expression.

    So directors are now hatching out of eggs and never had any other jobs?

    No. But if you’re a visual effects guy with no experience in storytelling, and MaryAnn sees your film as a visual effects extravaganza with very poor storytelling, then it’s fair game for her to point out your background.

    I mainly took the time to write based on my experience of the joy of the audience I saw this with… Grab an available tyke and check it out! :)

    Fair enough. But, a sincere question: How much of your enjoyment depended upon seeing the enjoyment of your young companion? Would you have appreciated the film as much if you’d gone on your own, without an “available tyke”? If you’d seen the film purely through your own eyes and adult sensibilities, rather than partly imagining it through hers, would you perhaps be noticing and reacting a little differently?

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    One final comment before moving on to other things. Find most ironic your view that sacrcasm/dismissiveness as a “perfectly acceptable means of expression” in the review, but the first thing attacked in a comment. I think this has become argument for the sake of argument.
    In addition, no one is expected to ‘stroke the artist’s fragile ego’ but cheap shots are unnecessary and should be called out.

  • Bluejay

    Find most ironic your view that sacrcasm/dismissiveness as a “perfectly acceptable means of expression” in the review, but the first thing attacked in a comment.

    Touche! :-)

    No response to my last paragraph, though? It really was a sincere question. Ah well.

  • I found the characters and story perfectly serviceable.

    And I didn’t. Why shouldn’t I be snarky? *Must* I preface *any* expression of opinion with “now, this is only my opinion, but…”? Can that be taken as a given? Or do I have to add “You may disagree, of course” to every statement of opinion?

    I also didn’t care for the dismissive burn related to the “ahem” visual effects background of the director.

    And I don’t care for a film that — in my opinion, and you may disagree — seemed to be most concerned with production design. And when said film comes from someone whose past work has been in production design, I think I’m entitled to see something suspicious in that.

    So directors are now hatching out of eggs and never had any other jobs?

    I don’t see what that has anything to do with my comment. Though we could go off on a tangent about how Hollywood frequently hands the keys to $100 million-plus blockbusters to men with *no experience at all* directing films while women who do have such experience are begging for work.

  • My comment you’re referring to was in no way a cheap shot.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Well:
    Critic Comment: “the first film from *ahem* visual effects artist turned director Robert Stromberg.”
    Urban Dictionary (partial) def. of “Cheap Shot” “[M]ay involve…things that aren’t even relevant to the issue at hand”
    There are great first films and there are awful first films, Don’t see relevance of director’s earlier work as visual effects artist here, therefore my conclusion is:
    Cheap Shot

  • Bluejay

    MaryAnn was saying that she found the film to be a visual spectacle without a satisfying story. Therefore, pointing out that the director is a visual effects artist without prior storytelling experience IS RELEVANT. Talking about how a director’s prior work experience may have affected the resulting film is the furthest thing from a cheap shot.

  • LaSargenta

    Seconding what Bluejay said. Another film where the prior experience not in film of the director had a big effect is A Single Man. MaryAnn’s review is here: http://www.flickfilosopher.com/2010/01/a-single-man-review.html

    Now I loved the book (Isherwood is a writer who I really enjoy) and have read it multiple times. I was looking forward to the movie. I enjoyed the movie when I watched it on DVD, but I agree wholeheartedly with her assessment about the look overloading the film and the story being absent. the story is a bit subtle, so it would have needed a good director.

  • You’re saying that my opinion that production design appears to trump all else in this film is not relevant?

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    But dismissing this well-made film as “spectacle” and an amusement park ride also dismisses the screenplay by Linda Wolverton, which I find simply inaccurate. Without story or character? Isn’t that a mortal sin for a narrative? :) Sorry, but I just can’t see this as a mechanical toy without character or story.
    Just a couple of items in contrast by reviewer James Berardnelli, that resonated with me. He describes Mellifiecent as “a deeply tragic and conflicted figure who seeks solace and finds redemption in the most unlikely ways.” How can that be a “characterless” script?
    Also, far from the director’s background behind a deficit, he finds it a direct contribution here, saying “Stromberg’s experience with special effects…makes him a great choice for a movie that demands the creation of a fantasy world.”
    For what it’s worth, I agree on the “A Single Man” view (too many closeups of cufflinks) and also that “Nice Guys” need to shut up! :)

  • also dismisses the screenplay by Linda Wolverton

    Yes. I dismiss her script. It’s shit. So was her script for *Alice in Wonderland.*

    I’m not sure why you take Berardinelli’s opinion as fact. Oh, wait. Yes I do. It’s because he agrees with you.

    He’s probably a better critic for you to base your moviegoing choices on.

  • Craig

    I saw this movie after reading this review and I ended up liking it quite a bit. I do think it could have been better than it was – it’s big flaw was that, as a movie whose big concept was to explain and make comprehensible the motivations of a “villain,” it had a villain whose actions were incomprehensible. It wouldn’t have taken more than a few minutes of screen time to flesh out the motivations of the King here a bit – and I kind of hoped for some sort of expression of remorse or forgiveness and didn’t really get it. But while I saw this as a flaw, it wasn’t fatal for me, because in the end it’s a fairy tale, and we never really understand what the Big Bad Wolf’s up to either, outside of, I guess, he’s hungry. So the movie doesn’t really do what it sets out to do, but what it does, it does pretty well. I felt Jolie’s performance was magical, and the core emotional story of how her character is able to move past her rage and despair and become whole again through the love she feels for her surrogate daughter is something I could relate to as a parent. Maybe I’m easy to manipulate, but I actually teared up in the theater for the kiss, and that’s not the kind of thing I do very often.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    I find your reviews insipid, and your powers of analysis blunt. You are also snotty. I wouldn’t pay two cents for your website, and won’t be back, it’s just been amusing to see how profoundly you have missed the point a large majority of the time. (The Kids Are Alright may have been your “finest hour” in that regard).
    I said Berardnelli’s review “resonated” with me. What do you mean by “fact” anyway, its criticism, for God’s sake!
    Over and out…..

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    EDIT: Move Title: “The Kids Are All Right”

  • RogerBW

    Someone disagrees with me, therefore THEY ARE WRONG.

    Yeah, that’s a great basis for debate right there.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    That’s not it at all. Every opinion is different; I just disagree with the analysis.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You failed to stick the flounce twice. Care for a third bite of the apple?

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Don’t even know what that means. I might ask, why do Marybeth acolytes keep making obnoxious comments and asking questions of people who haven’t initiated any new discussions? Why the hell does it matter, it’s all for shits and giggles anyway.

  • Bluejay

    But dismissing this well-made film as “spectacle” and an amusement park ride also dismisses the screenplay by Linda Wolverton, which I find simply inaccurate. Without story or character? Isn’t that a mortal sin for a narrative?

    For someone who claims to be a poet, you’re being surprisingly literal. “Having a flimsy story and unconvincing characters” can be expressed as “without story or character” and be understood by most readers. It’s a useful literary technique called “hyperbole.” You should look into it.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Come now, you’ve already (inexplicably) cited Urban Dictionary. Surely, you know what a “flounce” is. Well, let me break it down for you (see what I did there?):

    A flounce is when you announce to the thread how you’re done with the discussion (e.g. “One final comment before moving on to other things”) and, if you want to flounce in particularly dramatic fashion, that you’re never coming back (e.g. ” I wouldn’t pay two cents for your website, and won’t be back… Over and out…”)

    Now, the trick to flouncing without looking like a disingenuous drama-llama (I think I just found the name of my next band) is to actually leave when you say you are, and, if appropriate, never come back. And like I said, you’ve already blown the dismount twice.

    Also,

    …Marybeth…

    ooooooo, so close.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Patronizng sot. Good luck with the geezer rock band. I’ll leave when I’m good and ready. I actually was quite polite when I first came here, unlike the reception I received.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Patronizing sot. Good luck with the geezer rock band. I’ll leave when I’m good and ready. I actually was quite polite when I first came here, unlike the reception I received.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    BTW, did you even read my initial (quite proper and reasonable) response to Kayla Dane from a day ago before this whole thing became a piddling farce?
    People may agree or disagree with opinions on a film, but my response was was written with good intent after another person (a screenwriter NOT connected in any way to this film) sent me Ms. Dane’s comment and the initial review. I wrote it from the perspective of someone who loves to be moved by a work of art. I plain disagreed with the dismissal of the film as some sort of mechanical theme park ride. There are enough crappy screenplays out there without p*ssing all over a decent piece of work. As other critics have noted, no the movie may not be a classic (only time will bear that out) but in no way was that screenplay (as this critic so elegantly put it) “shit.” That’s just insulting.
    (MAM – OK, I’m a Drama-Lama, also, calling you a sot was excessive but the whole Urban Dictionary/term explanatory screed was a bit over the top… ;))

  • No, you started off with an attitude with your first comment in a place where you have no history. Barging in to someone else’s party and insulting the other guests is not cool. Your insults are not welcome. Cool it, calm down, and behave yourself, or you will be invited to leave whether you’re ready or not.

  • The opinions of other critics are not relevant here. Please stop referencing them.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    I see. Sarcasm, insults, and “attitude” are alright towards visitors but not the other way around. I get it now.

  • Bluejay

    There’s a line between snarkily expressing an opinion or challenging an argument, and directly insulting the host and commenters. If you don’t know where that line is, it means you’ve crossed it.

  • Plenty of newcomers here have no trouble fitting in and participating in the conversations. Here’s one hint: stick to talking about the movie. Or leave. No one is making you stay.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Re: “For someone who claims to be a poet” —
    Wow, I see that the regulars here really a.) stick to discussing the movie (per the critic’s suggestion to me) and b.) don’t cross the line from snark into personal slam (per Bluejay’s previous response).
    That’s quite a flexible line.

  • Bluejay

    And for someone who claims to be above arguing for the sake of arguing, you’re sure doing it a lot.

    You have better things to do, don’t you?

  • My site, my rules. Regulars get more leeway.

    Now, please, that’s quite enough of this nonsense. Let’s let this tangent die.

  • @craig

    “It wouldn’t have taken more than a few minutes of screen time to flesh out the motivations of the King here a bit – and I kind of hoped for some sort of expression of remorse or forgiveness and didn’t really get it.”

    That would probably be due to the fact that the motivations of Stephan made no sense in the first place. Let’s see…meet and fall in lust/love with a ridiculously beautiful Fairie Goddess of incredible power, light, and nobility from a fantastical realm of magic and wonder…or connive your way into moping about as a brown nosing courtier in a cut-throat world of medieval politics. Hmm…which would I choose? Would it really be all that hard? In the end, the motivations of King Stephan make no sense (and certainly aren’t explored) because he is purposefully set up as a one-dimensional misandrist prop to dispatch in this cautionary tale. No more, no less.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    All Hail The Empress of The Website! Long may she and her Cult of 2-3 Frequent Commentors Snark On……..

  • Bluejay

    Yep, nothing better to do. Thought so.

  • I’ve deleted her comment. Probably best to stop engaging with her.

  • Bluejay

    Oooo! Look! A dragon!

    SPOILER

    Okay, I still haven’t seen this, and probably won’t (my parents went, and hated it, and had pretty much the same opinion as you, MaryAnn), but I just read this piece at io9 and found out that… that…

    THAT SHE DOESN’T TURN INTO THE DRAGON. THAT THE DRAGON IS NOT HER.

    What the hell? The one thing that we all remember Maleficent for, and it’s a MAN who gets to do it in this film?

    I’m really not going to see this now.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Hello, I am the person who engaged in a pretty long comment thread a few days ago, and now have had a final comment on the thread “deleted.” It occurred to me that a big gap where that comment would be could create a lot of questions about “Who is this awful person and what did she say horribly awful enough to be deleted?!? ” So I am back (unless re-deleted, that is).

    I replied to a thoughtful comment four days ago by Kayla Diane on this film that I agreed with. I did happen to mention critics in general, related to the dichotomy between many of the reviews I had read and the visceral audience response I observed when I saw the film this past Sunday

    Beginning with the initial response to my comment, I was personally attacked, first, in comments by what seemed to be a group of “regulars” to the site and then the critic herself. My first, very gentle comment (I did get less gentle as things progressed but with one exception, for which I have apologized to the person, was always honest) was called “sneering” and “dismissive.” I was described as someone who from the start had “an attitude.” Rolling on downhill from there, I was a.) called “argumentative” by arguers; and b.) someone who made personal attacks, by people who had personally attacked me. My artistic identity was challenged (“calls herself a poet”) and my level of education was questioned (suggestion was made I look up definition of “hyperbole.”). I was shamed (I was a bad party guest, “other” guests got along OK on the site), and generally reprimanded for my inability to play well with others as if I was an errant kindergartener. When I persisted in responding to comments aimed at me, it was suggested I was argumentative because I, basically, “had nothing better to do.” As in, no life. In addition, there was some weird and random pettifoggery going on (on non-critical items such as getting someone’s name slightly wrong).

    Cool, one can expect such things when one engages in a comment stream. But what really bothered me was what I found to be a quite suppressive attitude of the web critic. When I brought up contrasting critical reviews (purely in relation to their impact on me) and the dichotomy between critical opinion on the film and audience generally, I was basically ordered not to talk about other critics here. Whaaa? I was also ordered to “stick to discussing the movie.” When I challenged the unequal chastening and “marching orders” I received in comparison to other, more regular commenters, I was told regulars got more “leeway.” I was then told by the critic that it was “my website, my rules,” which, I suppose, was meant to shut me up and make me finally go away for good.

    Being a sentient human being with a working sense of humor, I finally just began to chuckle to myself, and fired off one more response, which referred satirically to what I perceived as the quite “Regal” personality of the critic, and the devotion of her coterie of frequent commenters. I thought my comment was pretty funny. Was it horrible, devastating, a threat to public health and the morals of our youth? No! The only thing my comment might have damaged was someone’s inflated ego.

    Alas, my poor comment was condemned to the web forum version of execution. Deletion. Only an ominous blank space left where we had been. Me and my comment were disappeared into the Etheric Sphere to be heard from no more. The one last item, a comment by the film critic to one of the regulars who had snarked on me that it was “better not to engage” with me. Oooooh! I frisson of fear runs through the web!

    I had gone on about my business but something unsettling wouldn’t let me be. I was reading about the 25th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square . About the suppression, the blockage of websites, the “disappearing” and isolation of non-compliers.

    Well, I may have many other “better things to do” but it strikes me that in this little microcosm of a public forum, I feel an echo in the way human beings interact. The progression from expression of felt opinion, through attack, shaming, censoring of what I could/could not talk about, then after non-compliance, the “disappearance” and suggestion that others isolate me by “not engaging.”

    As the critic point out, indeed, this is her website and her rules. But it is also a public forum that invites comment, and it is clear that the visitors to the site use this forum to make choices about their behavior.

    I hold up in contrast the free and sometimes rambunctious comment streams of a literary journal such as The Millions http://www.themillions.com / I can’t imagine the author of a piece sweeping in to cut off topics as “off point” and alsosuspect that involuntary deletion and blocking would be considered a “nuclear option.

    My (paraphrased) “Blocked” comment and my original comment below:

    BLOCKED COMMENT: (paraphrased): All Hail the Empress of the Website! Long may she and her cult of 2-3 Frequent Commenters snark!

    ORIGINAL COMMENT ON FILM:

    Once upon a time, I saw a film in the congenial company of a stout-hearted 8 year old girl. The critics, wisefolk all, had been less than enthusiastic, some downright dismissive. Could it really be as hollow, dank and dreary as they claimed?

    I saw a classic, timeless fable, blessedly free of tiresome anachronistic wisecracks. As all good fairy tales do, this one touches upon themes well known to us all, the dangers of unchecked ambition and greed. The self-destructiveness of revenge. The nature of love –
    under what conditions does it grow, what can wither it? The ability of a
    broken heart to find love again, despite itself.

    I saw a charismatic, darkness-and-light star turn by Angelina Jolie and fine performances by a supporting cast. I laughed at a trio of silly fairy creatures, and chuckled at a vain, shape-shifting crow (his “Beautiful self, indeed). Ok, prince charming was a cipher. But he was meant to be. Yes, aurora the sleeping beauty was naïve and innocent, just as she was meant to be. At the end of the story, narrated by a wise old lady who had witnessed it all, the audience spontaneously applauded.

    After the movie, my 8 year old friend proudly posed in front of a cut-
    out portrait of “Maleficent.” After pumping her tiny biceps, she flapped
    her arms like “wings” and went carooming out of the theatre into the
    early afternoon.

    The End

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Dear Dr. Rocketscience,

    Several days ago, I made a few intemperate remarks and feel
    I owe you an apology. While I did find
    your comments to me rather patronizing and redolent of pettifoggery:

    a.) No
    excuse for calling you a “sot.” If
    anything, given the fact I was several pints in the bag and commenting at the
    time, the term may have been more appropriately applied to myself.

    b.) No
    excuse for dismissing someone’s musical aspirations as “geezer rock.” Ageism is just plain wrong and I meant none
    of it. I myself am a creaky old hag and
    still hauling myself onto open mic night stages. I believe we all should keep starting new
    bands until we are 138.

    Best regards to you in your continued Snarkoly.

    Pretty Waitress

  • Holy shit.

    Look, you are perfectly free to go start your own web site and say whatever the hell you want there, where I will have no ability to “suppress” or “disappear” you.

    In the 17 years I have been running this site, and the 9 or so since it’s been open for comments, this may be the most outrageous example yet of Commenter Persecution Complex I’ve ever seen.

  • RogerBW

    But this is where all the cool kids hang out.

  • Bluejay

    I had gone on about my business but something unsettling wouldn’t let me be.

    Yes… her own thin skin.

    Jesus, she’s comparing your deleting of her inappropriate comments with Tiananmen Square?!?

    I haven’t seen such an enormous ego and sense of grievance… since Hitler. :-)

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yeah, I’ve heard that. Back at the first teasers, when there was no dragon in sight, I said that I wouldn’t see it if there was no dragon. Later trailers showed a dragon, and I said, “OK, cool, now I’ll see it.” I just assumed the dragon would be Maleficent, because why the hell would you do it some other way?

    It’s like the writers know that Maleficent is a very popular classic Disney villain, but have no idea why she’s so popular. And it’s not hard: Maleficent is popular because she’s a Dark Fairy, she’s the Disney equivalent to Mab, she’s tall and powerful and foreboding, she gives zero fucks, she curses baby princesses to die for a social faux pas, she taunts and belittles handsome princes, and SHE TURNS INTO A FUCKING DRAGON! GREEN FIRE BREATHING DRAGON!!.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    In the new film “Maleficent,” the heroine is drugged, physically violated and emotionally betrayed by a person in which she placed her affection and trust in a scenario all too familiar to women in today’s campus culture. It’s interesting to note that the older male critics are giving this film terrible reviews…saying it lacks any “human” story or “emotional depth.” It’s clear that it’s the critics who have grown up in a generation that was taught to disconnect their empathy from women’s subjective experience. But, take heart. The under 18 movie audience (both male and female) gave the movie very high marks on Internet Movie Database. The world IS changing. And new mythologies like “Maleficent” are what’s needed to shift people’s hearts from cognitive dissonance to compassion on the subject of sexual assault….more
    Amy Luna Manderino

  • Rob

    Wow… for such a ‘lazy simplicity’ of a story it is obvious the story went completely over your head. The story in this film is so much more than human=bad. It’s unfortunate you couldn’t even get that. What kind of film critic are you that you can’t even understand a simple story?

  • Danielm80

    Would you like to explain what the story is really about, or are you just here to insult people?

  • Why don’t you grace us with an explanation of the stuff that went over my head?

  • Evan

    If you find her reviews insipid, then why the fuck are you here? Your negative comments scream “I should go somewhere else and read review that resonate with me”, and yet you keep coming back. Isn’t it time you did something more productive with your life than shout at the wind? Persecution complex doesn’t even begin to accurately describe you. Don’t bother responding, btw, b/c I won’t read or respond to whatever “why are you persecuting me” response you will offer.

  • Pretty Waitress

    HI Ho! It’s me, “Pretty Waitress Again”

    a.) Pretty literal… I’m talking about an “echo” of the way human beings interact in a “microcosm” of a public forum, not literally… Tiananmen Square! Check out writing of Flannery O’Connor for drawing analogies from our own little corners of the world outward.
    b.) Not generally that think skinned, but I do have opinions. Must admit I am somewhat chuffed at the Hitler remark. I bleach my mustache religiously, every Sunday night, thank you very much!
    It’s been a month, about a month, couldn’t resist popping back and seeing what was up.

  • Robert P

    Inventive story line with a clever twist – actually a series of them – a female protagonist who’s essentially a combat soldier in a fantasy scenario where females can be combat soldiers unencumbered by human realities. A protagonist we see go through a personal evolution.

    You pan this and give Godzilla with all its pointless silliness – talk about lazy simplicity – a green light despite bellyaching about why isn’t the lead a female and a soldier…..

    Really?

    You must be hard to find a gift for at the holidays – lol….

  • Bluejay

    *sigh* Same old problem, Robert P: you’re confusing the gender issue with the writing issue.

    1. Yes, having a female protagonist is a good thing. We need more movies with female protagonists. However, there can be GOOD movies with female protagonists and BAD movies with female protagonists, which means…

    2. No, having a female protagonist DOES NOT automatically mean a film is worthy of a green light. MaryAnn thinks this film and its characters are poorly written. You may disagree, of course, but she praises or pans films based on their overall effect on her, not on one single criteria to check off a list. (Which is why she DOES praise Godzilla, which she liked overall, despite its lack of strong women. That doesn’t mean she can’t wish that it had more strong women.)

    You keep popping up with the same argument, and I’m amazed you still don’t get this. It really doesn’t require a lot of sophisticated thinking to get this.

  • Robert P

    You keep popping up with the same argument

    You keep popping either not processing or simply ignoring what I’ve said.

  • Bluejay

    Nope. I’m directly addressing your comment.

  • Robert P

    Hey BJ – out of curiosity, why don’t you elaborate on how/why you believe Godzilla is a clearly superior film to Maleficent?

  • Bluejay

    I haven’t seen Maleficent. But I’m not arguing about the film’s content; I’m criticizing the logic in your argument, that MaryAnn should have praised this film just because it has an active female protagonist. You and MAJ can have a debate on the quality of the film’s writing.

  • Danielm80

    MaryAnn has posted lengthy, detailed comments explaining what she likes and dislikes about each film. They’re called reviews. Regarding Maleficent, she said:

    Check out all the “good parts”! Without any of that tedious motivation and character development getting in the way.

    and

    None of Maleficent makes any sense, not even on its own small terms. Please leave your desire for a well-rounded story in the lockers provided, and keep your arms and legs inside the ride while it is in motion.

    You may disagree with her opinion, but that doesn’t mean she’s obligated to change it.

    She can admire the characters as empowered women and still think they’re dull or, in this case, poorly written. For example:

    And like everything else here that requires genuine emotion for us to accept, Maleficent’s ultimate redemption feels forced and phony even as it upends a traditional Disney trope that desperately needs upending…

    One more thought: Female characters can be difficult to admire, or like, and still be fascinating, original, memorable, and complex. Many of Diablo Cody’s characters fit into that category (whether or not you happen to enjoy her films). They’re not always good role models, but they’re not sexist stereotypes. They’re human beings.

    A competent, courageous woman can add a lot to a movie, if she’s written well. A woman who defies obstacles to become a soldier could be really interesting, if they’re interesting obstacles. We don’t see that sort of character very often. It would have been great to see someone like that in Godzilla, and that’s what some of us were suggesting.

    But when a “strong woman” becomes a type, matching boxes on a checklist, then she’s a predictable cliché, even if she’s a more progressive sort of cliché than the nurse in Godzilla.

  • Robert P

    *Spoilers*

    A point that they didn’t resolve was that Stephan took her wings to spare her life. He never made any effort to explain his actions to her – that he was actually sent to kill her.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Hear Hear, Robert P!

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Robert P…. I find it hilarious in the extreme that your avian responder has not even see this movie.

  • Bluejay

    I find it hilarious in the extreme, though also unsurprising, that you’re not getting the point.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You already showed your ass here once, to the point where you felt you needed to issue an apology. Why are you coming back for more?

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down
  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I see…

  • This is not a forum for sniping at other people. Cut it out.

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Dear Dr. Rocketscience,

    Per Ms. Johnson, “This is not a forum for sniping at other people. Cut it out.”
    Sincerely,
    Pretty Waitress

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Dear Mr./Ms. Bluejay

    Pre Ms. Johnson, This is not a forum for sniping at other people. Cut it out.

    Very truly yours,

    Pretty Waitress

  • Pretty Waitress Breaks It Down

    Dear Robert P.,

    You will be happy to know that, per Ms. Johnson:

    “This is not a forum for sniping at other people.”
    Sincerely,
    Pretty Waitress,
    P.S. Love your comments, keep it up!

  • Limpetly

    I noticed that you were confused about the spell being “revoked”. If you watch that scene carefully, you’ll notice that while she TRIES to revoke the spell, her own words come back to haunt her in that no power can break the spell, including her own. She does realise this after repeatedly trying to lift the curse and you see it subtly acted out by Jolie. If you missed it, you can be forgiven. That scene wasn’t hit with the same lack-of-subtlety stick that most Fantasy plot progressions are hit with these days. Regardless of the rest of the movie, at least they trusted us to work out some of the plot twists ourselves.

  • Chick

    No, it definitely was not clear. Or else my entire family, myself included, wouldn’t have been saying, fifteen minutes later “But I thought she revoked the curse”. Very Poorly Done.

  • Rob

    If the fairies don’t need a leader, why don’t they seem to
    care when Maleficent sets herself up as their queen?

    — It’s obvious from
    the start of the film that Maleficent is more powerful. Early scene -> boy
    intruding.. .big twiggy monster guards about to splat him, Maleficent comes in to
    guide the situation. Although there is no leader, Maleficent once had parents, that
    would have been as able and intelligent as her.

    Why is human Stefan (Sharlto Copley: Elysium, Europa Report)
    so horrifically awful to his fairy friend Maleficent after being so nice to
    her? (Surely there must be more to it than Human = Bad, no?).

    — He comes from a poor background. He envies all the wealth
    in the castle. This is obvious from the start of the film as he eyes off the
    castle in the distance. He has the opportunity to gain status and wealth,
    unfortunately he has to take advantage of his friend. He has a dilemma, use my
    friend for my own gain, or honour the friendship and miss to opportunity. I
    think this is more than just human=bad… he didn’t kill her after all. When he
    could have if he was realllly baddd.

    Why do three “nice”
    fairies turn their backs on their homeland in order to raise little human baby
    Aurora apparently as a favour to the cruel Stefan?

    — they are silly fairies that are in their nature besotted
    by a royal baby. The fact that they do this shows again that the fairies have
    their own will and don’t abide by any rules or values held by Maleficent

    How come, if Maleficent casts a nasty revenge spell on the
    baby — the eternal-sleep thing — but later casts another spell to revoke it
    when she learns the error of her vindictive ways, it doesn’t stay revoked?

    — This is obvious. When she casts the spell she says
    explicitly that it can not be reversed. Simple as that. It can’t be reversed,
    even by her. I thought this had great dramatic impact.

  • James

    Things become clearer when you realize, as Jolie herself admitted (Google it) that this is a rape tale. Why are all the male characters either violent or ineffectual? What twists a woman up so badly that she turns against another female?

    The wing-cutting is a rape image, and this whole thing is a morality tale. For children!

    Ugh.

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    It wasn’t a film that stuck with me at all, although I really did enjoy pointing out (to my kids) how it exemplifies revisionist history.

  • If this hadn’t been intended for children, this could have been really intriguing.

  • DRJ

    Maleficent is a wonderful movie. The only way to think otherwise is to come into it with a stick stuck in the wrong place… or maybe as a pompous, bitter reviewer?

    The movie is:
    – clever — with several great, newly invented twists on the original tale.
    – gorgeous — with excellent special effects, and a truly believable and beautiful central character.
    – moving — Maleficent’s loss of flight and simultaneous knowledge that the one she loved betrayed her – are heartbreaking. This movie is about how the things we love the most can sometimes hurt us the most, and how love lost in one place can bloom again in unexpected ways.
    – fun — Ultimately, this is a fun movie to enjoy with an open mind. That’s the key, those last two words. “Open mind” is necessary — not closed, not too “grown up” and not looking for silly ways by which to put down an obviously terrific, highly enjoyable, motion picture experience.

  • Tonio Kruger

    It is one thing to have a different opinion about this movie than MaryAnn does. It’s another thing to imply that there’s something wrong with her or anyone else who disagrees with you.

    As people who defend this type of movie like to say, it’s just a movie. It’s not a psych test.

  • In response to my review of *Walk of Shame,* you suggested I was lying about my response to the film in order to build a reputation on bad reviews. Now you call me “pompous” and “bitter.”

    If you are unable to comment here without hurling insults and slanders, please cease commenting.

Pin It on Pinterest