Film , Action and adventure
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(3 user reviews)
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Sometimes a piece of perfect casting goes a long way: Angelina Jolie only has to cock one mildly perturbed, ruthlessly arched eyebrow to upstage all the fairy dust swirling around her in Disney’s uneven rethink of its classic villainess. Jolie is a terrific vision, decked out in leather-wrapped horns that feel more comic book than forest-dwelling evil fairy. But if you go into ‘Maleficent’ expecting Jolie to be the badass of ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ you’re going to get burned.

This new version is about her softer side: she’s a wounded heroine who looks out for princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) even though she has cursed her to eternal sleep. Such revisions feel slightly out of place: at one point, Jolie cuts loose with an actorly scream at the loss of her wings, and it’s as if she were auditioning for the wrong movie.

Still, a lot of thought has gone into the gauzy feel of this universe; it’s directed by an Oscar-winning production designer, for good and ill. Twisting, thorny woods, magical sunbeams, fluffy stuff floating in the air – it’s pretty much the movie Ridley Scott wanted to make with his 1985 stinker ‘Legend’. You’ll wince at the indignity of brilliant actresses like Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville reduced to playing squeaky-voiced sidekicks; and when the famous dragon from ‘Sleeping Beauty’ finally does appear, it somehow has less fire than the hand-painted one from 55 years ago. But for tweenage princess obsessives, this is a perfectly acceptable next step after ‘Frozen’.

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Wednesday May 28 2014
Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Robert Stromberg
Cast: Angelina Jolie
Elle Fanning
Sharlto Copley

Average User Rating

2.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Chesca R

A harmless fairytale with razor sharp cheekbones. You don't need to watch this movie to know exactly what is going to happen as it follows a pretty well tried and tested formula but at the same time it is not offensive. Jolie does bad fairy with a heart how it should be done and the special effects play their part. A good movie for a rainy afternoon to enjoy with crumpets and tea. 


I didn't really fancy watching this movie until I decided to have a watch when there was nothing else on I fancied. It actually surprised me, as Angelina Jolie's character isn't just a black or white character. This one's all about shades of grey as she literally gets her wings clipped, curses Sleeping Beauty and then regrets the decisions she's made in life. It doesn't all make sense in places but it's an enjoyable fantasy story.

Zohra J

Not a big fan  the awesome costume makes for a great silhouette but she couldn't emote at all behind all that make up. It was like watching a bad computer animation with an OTT Brit accent. Little Fanning looks happy as a chipmunk but no room for anything but her great beauty to be explored. I know I'm not their target audience but I'd hoped that Disney would grow the expletive up. MEH