Maleficent, Disney's live action re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty.
I wanted to love it to pieces... Maleficent as a character is amongst my favourite Disney villains and I adore Angelina Jolie... but I was decidedly underwhelmed by the movie.
Don't get me wrong, it's a sensational looking movie and there really isn't a moment where Angelina doesn't look stunning what with the makeup effects, costuming and those amazing contact lenses...
I just didn't really get involved in the story.
For me, Maleficent is a villain... she's supposed to be offended she wasn't invited to the christening, hideously over-react and then transform into a dragon at the end to fight Prince Phillip and be, to quote the animated version, the "mistress of all evil".
In this version they keep the over-reaction, ditch everything else and try and make Maleficent a sympathetic character, essentially reducing her to a much less interesting character.
That also happens to the three guardian fairies as well... this movie pretty much strips them down to about three scenes and essentially makes them mostly comic relief.
Which isn't to say that Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton and Juno Temple aren't good in their roles, even if they've been explicable renamed from the original Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
As far as the sleeping princess goes, Elle Fanning didn't especially impress me... the character is a bit of an idiot when you get right down to it and Fanning didn't do anything particularly special with it. Likewise Sharlto Copley just bothers me. He's bothered me in just about everything I've seen him in, and here he's trying to do an Irish accent to cover up his South African accent for some unknown reason which has varying degrees of success.
Sam Riley is interesting as the shape-changing crow, Diaval... to be honest I couldn't help feeling that Riley was channelling a young Dominic Cooper but I think that was partly the wig and make-up. He's also quite cute which doesn't hurt.
Also working the eye-candy side of the street was Australian actor Brenton Thwaites as the fairly useless Prince Phillip. The poor boy doesn't even get to rescue the girl and kill the dragon.
I think at the end of the day that this one may come down to style over substance.
yani's rating: 1 spinning wheel out of 5