Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maleficent (PG/97 Min.)

To date, my all-time favorite movie in the history of ever has been Sleeping Beauty. Yes, I do mean the 1959 animated movie. It has true love. It has magic. It has fairy godmothers. It has singing. It has the coolest villain ever. It has dragons!!! What's not to love? Though this movie will always hold a place in my heart, it may have, quite possibly, dropped down to second place in my esteem. I loved Maleficent. LOVED IT!!! I just saw it a few hours ago and I'm ready to see it again. I was ready to see it again right after it was over. I AM seeing it again tomorrow night. I think that's a valid amount of time between viewings, don't you? I'm actually listening to the soundtrack as I type. Loved that too.

Maleficent is the basic story of Sleeping Beauty but with a twist as we get to see the tale from the villain's point of view. Simple. To the point.

I'm finding it difficult to tell you what I liked about this movie without telling you what happened. I'll start with the special effects. So good! Faerieland was amazing. And its inhabitants? Beautiful! Even the little squishy guys who like to sling mud. Literally. Not politically. The writers deserve tons of atta-boys/girls. This could have so easily gone cheesy but it didn't. Could you guys please tackle the Wonder Woman movie problem? Apparently cheese is a big reason it hasn't been made yet. But back to Maleficent... I almost forgot the costumes. Well done, wardrobe department! This movie needs to win awards.

I've liked Angelina Jolie since I first saw her in Hackers but now it's going to take quite a lot to even begin to knock her off my list of favorites after this film. No one else could have played Maleficent. Did she even have to audition? Did the powers-that-be know it had to be Angelina all along? Was anyone else even considered? This was a definite no-brainer. She played this role beautifully, from her chiseled cheekbones to the horns atop her head, to her deep, villainous laugh. I just can't say enough good things about her. Everyone else paled in comparison to Angelina. But that's as it should be, right?

Elle Fanning was cast in the role of Aurora. While I thought she was well-chosen, my friend Mack didn't agree. She thought Amanda Seyfried would've been better. We agreed to disagree. Neither one of us could think of anyone else who could've taken Elle's place so I win by default. Elle was one of at least four Aurora's in this movie. There was baby Aurora, toddler Aurora, tween Aurora and, finally, 15-year-old Aurora. My favorite besides Elle? Toddler Aurora. Why? Because she's the only child who could be found to play opposite Angelina Jolie's Maleficent. For those of you who don't already know, the studio had trouble finding a child who wasn't afraid of the star in full costume. Who did they find brave enough to share a scene? Angelina's own daughter, Vivienne. Perfect! And what a cutie pie!

There were too many characters in this movie to talk about each one so I'm going to move on to why this film received a PG rating. There was no cussing. No nudity. No sex. No drinking. No drugs. So, why the rating? That rests solely on the violence. There is a battle scene and a couple of skirmishes but the blood was kept to a minimum. The only blood I recall seeing was from a couple of scratches. Nothing gory at all. If you think your child can handle the Lord of the Rings series, they can definitely handle this. A good portion of the audience consisted of children and they were hooked from the get go. Except for a giggle from the young girl a few seats down from me, you wouldn't have known there were any kids in the theater at all. As soon as the movie started they settled down and that was that. A young boy sat in front of me and I don't think he moved during the entire film. I'm not making light of the violence at all. People do die in the movie. I just want to give you the basic facts so you can make decisions for your own young ones.

Was there anything I didn't like about Maleficent? One scene in particular was almost exactly like the animated version except for one slight change. I understand why they had to do it but I didn't care for it much. Other than that, I don't think I found anything wrong. This is a well-written, beautifully made movie.

I am definitely going to see this again...tomorrow night. And who knows how many times after. Guys, if you think this is a chick flick, you are so wrong. There were a lot of people of the male variety, both young and old, at this film and they seem to have enjoyed it. Enough action scenes were included to keep it interesting. Unless you just absolutely hate fairy tales, go see this movie. Even if you do hate fairy tales, go anyway. You just might enjoy it. I wish I could be there when my parents and niece see Maleficent. I know PT and my dad will like it but I feel pretty confident in saying that there is one scene that'll cause my mom to start clapping. I almost did that very thing. She is so fun to watch movies with because her filter isn't quite as strong as mine and she does the things that I wish didn't embarrass me when I do them (I think that made sense). She's just a very happy person that way.

Nothing happens after the credits. They do begin them with a song from the animated movie but sung by Lana Del Rey so you might want to stick around a bit for that. Enjoy!

P.S. Harry Potter fans may have issues with one of the fairies. Because Imdelda Staunton does such a good job of playing Dolores Umbridge in HP, I can't picture her as anything else. But, can you really blame me? Stephen King, during his review of the book, called this character the "greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter." And that's saying something.

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