Maleficent – A Slightly Off Kilter Review

You know that moment when you are super excited for a movie to open and then you get there and you are glued to the edge of your seat watching in wonder at the majesty on the screen and are so excited you can’t wait to tell your friends about it and make them jealous that YOU saw it FIRST?

Yeah… that’s not exactly how last Wednesday went down. If you follow me on Facebook, you already know that I attended the screening of Maleficent.

“Maleficent” explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty” and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

Sounds great, right? I mean I’m a HUGE fan of “Wicked” and that is just the telling of the wicked witch of the west’s point of view. I was stoked for this movie. I was hopeful.

I was disappointed.

Let me add a caveat here – There are people who LOVED the movie. LOVED. There were people who laughed in the movie. I’m not included in either of those groups and in the interest of being honest; this review will be MY opinion. I encourage you to form YOUR opinion and share it with me later.

MaleficentLet’s start at the beginning. “Maleficent” opens with the introduction from the narrator with the line “Let us tell an old story anew” which immediately reminded me of Wicked. We are then introduced to our title character as a child living in the land of the fairies. Maleficent, unlike her name’s meaning, is a kind and sweet girl with a large heart and cheery disposition.

What, pray tell, could turn such a sweet fairy into the vindictive queen I was raised with in the original “Sleeping Beauty” Tale? Finding out that her sixteen year old “true love” was more interested in fame and fortune than the fancies of a romantic fairy. Granted – he did steal her wings – in a particularly unsettling scene, but can I just stop for a second and point out the obvious? If every time a woman was scorned we turned into vindictive evil villainesses who throw temper tantrums…

I’m disappointed to see Disney take a strong and powerful villain from my youth and turn her into a petty “woman scorned” character that takes her revenge on a child. There HAD to have been another way…

Speaking of her missing wings… so here is Maleficent. She is an all powerful villainess. She can conjure magic to turn a crow into a man, into a wolf, and back into a man on her whims. She can make plants grow and come to life. She can exact all powerful curses that even SHE can’t break… She can do just about anything she wants… except grow her damn wings back?

Ok… now let’s take a moment to look at King Stefan – the boy who craved the throne and used Maleficent to get there… After his daughter Aurora is born and thusly cursed by the evil Queen, he sends Aurora off “for her own protection” and yet… he sends her off with the three most dimwitted moronic fairies he could find – with slapstick humor that highlights their ineptitude. It reminded me of the Bette Midler movie Hocus Pocus… but not in a good way. Wouldn’t Aurora be more protected under his watchful eye? No, let’s let the idiots who know nothing useful care for my precious daughter.

In the woods.

Where the Evil Queen lives.


Speaking of the three fairies that raise Aurora in the woods, why were they renamed? Flora, Fauna and Merryweather of my youth are now Flittle, Knotgrass and Thistlewit? The original names MADE SENSE…and instead of Beauty and Song, the latest adaptation has Aurora receiving Beauty and a cheery disposition?


Maleficent curses the child of the king for revenge, but then becomes her protector and grows a heart? Wait – What?

The story line is painfully weak which is probably the most disappointing part. There was so much potential here that went unrealized. Several scenes felt glazed over where some complexity would have been appreciated.

I wish I could say that the acting made up for the bad story line… Sadly, no. It felt forced and over-acted. In the scene where Maleficent loses her wings, she cries out in anguish… the only anguish I felt from that demonstration was my own for the assault on my ears.

Elle Fanning’s saccharine character is believable… because she was enchanted after all to be in a perpetual state of happy. Except when she learns the truth about Maleficent and then is decidedly NOT happy.

Speaking of acting… please don’t get me started on the muddy, thick accents. It was distracting at best. As were the action scenes that passed in a blur.

It wasn’t all bad though. Some of the film was visually beautiful and the CGI characters, especially those who live in the Moor, were fun and fanciful…although they served little purpose beyond window dressing for the bulk of the movie.

I honestly don’t know what age group this film targets… young children would likely be frightened by the darkness within, tweens and teens would be bored. Adults would be checking their watches to see how much more they had to endure.

Like I said, I wanted to like this movie. And MANY who watched it did. Take my opinion with a grain of salt and form your own… then come tell me how I’m wrong.

Maleficent opens today – May 30th in theaters everywhere if you want to check it out for yourself.



  1. Seems to me like Disney did this with OnceUponATime as well – made Snow White’s Evil Queen become evil as a result of losing her teenage romance. Irritated me at the time and still bothers me now. Good, kind people do not do 180s because they get burned once or even twice. It takes a LOT of continued pain and suffering to erode someone’s goodness away and actually flip the switch to make them outright hostile and hateful.

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