There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.
Aurora (Elle Fanning) is getting married! Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) has proposed, and his parents have invited Aurora and her godmother for dinner, as Philip and his family hope to finally meet the woman who raised Aurora. Unfortunately, Aurora’s godmother is none other than the feared Maleficent (Angelina Jolie). Many know about the curse that Maleficent placed on Aurora when she was young, but little know that Maleficent was the very one that ended up breaking that curse so many years later.
Many know the power that Maleficent possesses and many know her for her fury. She is the feared the guardian of the Moors, the place in which many fairies and magical creatures call home. Maleficent is protective of the Moors, and she is vengeful toward anyone who brings harm to the place, or the creatures in it, but there is one thing that Maleficent cares about even more than the Moors. Maleficent loves Aurora as if she was her own child, and she will not let Prince Philip’s mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) sink her human teeth into Aurora.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
The Mothers (+3pts)
Queen Ingrith (-5pts)
Bad Maleficent (+4pts)
Good Maleficent (-5pts)
Aurora & The Moors (+4pts)
The Fae (-4pts)
Pro: The Mothers (+3pts)
This movie was at its best when it was focused on the rivalry between the two mothers. Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) was a human who was allergic to flowers, she hated fairies, and she thought they were lesser creatures. Maleficent hated ignorant and selfish humans, and she thought most humans were both of those things. She thought humans cared only for themselves, she thought they were a species of conniving betrayers, and she had a bad history with humans that supported her beliefs.
These two mothers disliked each other immensely, and that was before they ever met. Their meeting had a lot of discriminatory tension, but both did their best to be civil. The two actresses played their relationship really well. Their meeting was comical, their meeting was tense, and their rivalry throughout the movie was the fuel behind this story. The movie was truly at its best when these two characters were on screen together, but unfortunately, that did not happen as much as I would have liked.
Con: Queen Ingrith (-5pts)
This character was really one-dimensional. As soon as the character popped up on screen, I almost instantly know everything I needed to know about her. Her character was predictable, she was evil for the sake of being evil, and she was very obviously the antagonist, even when the filmmakers were trying to hide that very obvious fact. The filmmakers never even attempted to give this character any depth. Queen Ingrith was severely underdeveloped and the filmmakers went in a very predictable direction with her. Giving her any sort of character arc or story would have gone a long way toward making her an interesting character. Instead, the filmmakers just wanted a typical, one-dimensional antagonist, and that was what they delivered.
Pro: Bad Maleficent (+4pts)
In the classic version of this story, Maleficent was undeniably the villain. In this live-action version of the story, Maleficent did bad things, but she was not all bad. She was constantly conflicted, as she had things that she cared about passionately, and she delivered a dark vengeance to anyone who wished to harm the things she cared about. Throughout this movie, Maleficent was constantly fighting her furious instinct, but whenever it got out, it was really cool to watch.
This character was immensely powerful, so when the filmmakers were not holding her back to drive the plot forward, this character was a badass. Her rage was satisfying when she was exacting vengeance, and I liked the fear that the humans felt toward her. She was powerful, and every character in this movie knew it. She only got to use that power when her bad side got out, and the filmmakers did not let it loose very often, but it was certainly satisfying when they did.
Con: Good Maleficent (-5pts)
Maleficent had a furious rage, which—coupled with her powers—made her really effective as an antagonist. However, the character was a protagonist in these movies, and she had been established as being more powerful than really anything else in this universe. In the last movie, Maleficent was conflicted. She was not clearly a protagonist, so her being so powerful did not cause any problems. That was not the case for this movie.
In this movie, Maleficent was a clear protagonist, so her immense power put the filmmakers in a tough spot. They needed to show her as being powerful—as they have already established that she was—but they did not want her to be so powerful that she would be able to deal with the antagonist with ease. Rather than make the antagonist outsmart Maleficent throughout the movie, the filmmakers' solution was to dial Maleficent’s power up and down whenever it was convenient for them to do so. I understand the dilemma that the filmmakers found themselves in, but they chose the laziest solution possible.
Pro: Aurora & The Moors (+4pts)
Aurora was fine as a character, and Elle Fanning did a decent enough job in the role. There was nothing special about the character or the performance, but the character worked decently enough. The Moors—the land in which Aurora served as Queen—was also moderately entertaining. The creatures that lived there were interesting, I especially liked the little porcupine creature, and I liked seeing how all of these creatures lived together peacefully. My only complaint was that I would have liked to have seen their community and lifestyle compared to that of humanity as a whole, rather than just seeing it compared to the ideologies of Queen Ingrith. Neither Aurora nor the Moors will blow you away, and they were not very memorable, but they were entertaining enough while they were on screen.
Con: The Fae (-4pts)
This was an aspect of the story that I could have done without. The characters were cool, and their culture was interesting, but it was really just a distraction from the main story, as they contributed absolutely nothing to it. Do not get me wrong, however, there was potential here. The filmmakers set these characters up, and they could have done some really interesting things with the two characters played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ed Skrein.
These characters’ difference of opinion on how to deal with the human problem, and their respect for one another could have been really interesting to see the filmmakers play around with, but that did not happen. Instead, the filmmakers setup these characters and their culture, then they just kind of dropped the whole thing. These characters contributed absolutely nothing to the climax of the story, and the filmmakers completely dropped the ball with the interesting dynamic they had setup between them. The potential was there for these characters to be far more effective, but the filmmakers ultimately failed to use them properly.
Grade: C- (72pts)
The last movie was nothing special, but it was moderately entertaining, so my expectations were for something similar here. Unsurprisingly, that was exactly what this movie was too. Maleficent was a powerful, intimidating presence. She was most captivating when she was allowed to showcase her power and her fury, but the filmmakers did not let her do that often. She was a clear protagonist in thia movie, and rather than having the antagonist outsmart the Maleficent, the filmmakers chose to dial Maleficent's power up and down whenever it was convenient for them.
Elle Fanning as Aurora was fine, and some of the creatures that lived in the Moors were entertaining, but they were moderately entertaining at best. The movie was at its absolute best when Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer were on screen together, as the rivalry between these two characters was pretty entertaining, but they were unfortunately not on screen together very often. On top of that, Michelle Pfeiffer's character was very predictable and one-dimensional, and the Fae were a group of characters who were setup well, but they were ultimately used poorly by the end of the movie. This movie had potential, but the filmmakers failed in its execution. Fortunately, my expectations for this one were not very high, so I was not exactly disappointed. It was a movie that was exactly what I expected it to be, as it was moderately entertaining when it was on, but it was ultimately nothing special.