Maleficent takes an old fairy tale and magically turns it into a modern masterpiece. I saw it last night with my 10 year old daughter. We both gave Maleficent high marks. For anyone who is not already aware, Maleficent is the name of the evil witch that casts the sleeping spell on Sleeping Beauty. In the Disney classic animated movie from 1959 she is 100% evil, just like we expected all witches to be. Not so today. Most villains these days have some sort of tragic past that causes us to feel a little sorry for them. With Maleficent, also from Disney, we’re not only asked to pity her but also to root for her. Early on I saw where they were going with the story and I resisted at first. I like the bad guy to stay the bad guy, not turn into the good guy. But the story was so well written, the effects were believable, and more than anything else, Angelina Jolie was superb as Maleficent. No over-acting for her, just subtle power in every glance from her stunning eyes. Elle Fanning also did a great in the part of Aurora. She has a youthful innocence that makes her a very believable Princess.
There have been many attempts in the last few years at bringing treasured fairy tales and old cartoons to life as major motion pictures; Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Grinch, The Flintstones, Enchanted, Ever After. For the most part, they have been OK, good for some fun, but usually a little too goofy to be called a “great movie”, in my opinion. I think this movie pulled it off. In the genre of fairy tale movies, Maleficent is the fairest of the them all.