Maleficent – Review

After waiting for over a year since the sneak-peeks were launched, Maleficent came to the British cinema this Wednesday (28 May) starring Angelina Jolie in the iconic role.

Maleficent sees the alternative side of Sleeping Beauty as told from her position – the war between her kingdom and King Stefan’s, of the love that they once shared, and the love that blossomed in her heart for her adopted goddaughter Aurora.

It was obvious in the wake of epic giants like Wicked that the untold tale of the villain was going to be a theme to influence works of film and TV legend, with even YouTube benefiting from the trend. Maleficent works its magic by spinning a plot that spells out exactly what it was that caused the title character to become so evil in the first place – spurned love based on the guy she fell for betraying her for a crown. I mean, we have all been there right?

The issue with the plot is a simple one, as it feels in places that the ‘she’s a good girl she is’ storyline has been shoe-horned in, but this is more than made up for by witty one-liners that show her exact frame of mind (and if you don’t come out quoting it you have failed at life). These show Maleficent as a character who is good turned bad but with a melting posterity.

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Angelina Jolie does a fabulous job as the central role, as expected, and her prosthetics do enhance her visage to mirror the cartoon majesty, with a minor glitch towards the end where she ends up in a cat-suit that kicks Michelle Pfeiffer’s in the tit with a curvéd horn. Imagine your favourite drag queen in a bad mood, add Maleficent realness and a pinch of that ‘don’t fuck with me look’ that only Jolie can bring, and you have her character to a tee. This is probably why she jumped the curve on drag performers imitating her, and we fully expect to see at least three versions roaming the streets in the forthcoming Halloween festivities.

The supporting cast do well to keep up the humour and magic, but the distinct lack of named stars (other than in noticeable roles like Juno Temple as one of the fairies) jars, and suggests a lack of belief from the acting community. This is completely ridiculous as the concept is Wicked plus Disney, and this is pulled off flawlessly.

Finally it should be spelt out in large, bold, sixty-foot high font that this is THE Disney film for gays. When we watched, half of the audience went to the nearest gay bar afterwards, and you can see why – Maleficent has always been one of the most fabulous characters in Disney history, and this tells her story in a way that many LGBT+ people identify with, especially the feelings of being an outcast and alone. We have to say this: ignore the critics telling you Maleficent is a waste of time, as seeing this film gave the same magic of Wicked but with the majesty of Disney.

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The plot is a little obvious and shallow, but the gorgeousness of the characters makes Maleficent the best £10 you can spend this summer.