Angelina Jolie

REVIEW: Maleficent (2014)

Vengeful fairy Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) curses an infant princess to succumb to a sleep-like death when she pricks her finger on a spinning wheel on her sixteenth birthday, but as time passes she starts to think Aurora (Elle Fanning) might be the one person who could restore peace between two troubled lands.

As the sequel to Maleficent is released this month, I decided to rewatch the first film for the first time since I saw it in the cinema five years ago. In that time, I’d forgotten a lot about it, but I think I ended up enjoying it more than I remembered.

Maleficent is a darker take on an already fairly dark tale. It gives a reason for Maleficent to be spiteful and angry at King Stefan (Sharlto Copley), and her anger and pain is definitely justified. The opening act of Maleficent shows how she was when she was younger and trusting, and how she grew to become the protector of the magical land. It’s when she’s betrayed in the cruellest of ways that she becomes the villain that we know.

There’s silly child-friendly humour courtesy of the three fairies that take care of Aurora (played by Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville and Juno Temple) and those moments often feel somewhat out of place compared to the darker tone of the rest of the film. Still it’s all about balance and those moments do make things a little lighter, especially compared to scenes with King Stefan who is getting pushed to the edge over his desire to kill Maleficent for what she’s done. Copley does madness very well and in Maleficent that’s no exception.

Angelina Jolie is brilliant as Maleficent. She’s charming and her presence – thanks in part to such an intimidating costume – commands every scene she’s in. Her chemistry with Sam Riley, who plays Diaval the raven when he’s in his human form, is an unexpected delight, as they bicker like an old married couple. How Maleficent slowly begins to like Aurora and feels conflicted over her affection and her past actions is believable too, thanks to Jolie’s performance.

The pacing is a little off at times, with something’s being rushed and the ending of Maleficent is perhaps a bit too neat for a film that’s about the story’s villain but the spectacle and performances make an interesting take on such a well-known story. 4/5.

A is for Angelina Jolie

Angelina-Jolie-Critics-Choice-Awards-2015-Red-Carpet-Fashion-Atelier-Versace-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO-31I (like I’m sure many people did when the news first broke all those years ago) didn’t particularly like Angelina Jolie for breaking up Brad Pitt and Jenifer Aniston – but what do I know about what goes on in these people’s lives? It takes two to tango and some relationships aren’t destined to work out while others flourish. Angelina and Brad’s relationship is certainly flourishing and it’s great to see such a great family in Hollywood. I’ve grown up a bit now so no longer particularly care about celebrity gossip but it’s interesting to see how we as a society react to these types of stories.

I think the first film I ever saw Angelina Jolie in was Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and boy was that some great casting?! I still have a soft spot for that film all these later.

Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy a few years ago was big news and recently it was announced she had also made the tough decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as a preventative measure to make it less likely for her to get cancer. That must have been an incredibly difficult decision to make, one that affects her and her family. But it’s a decision that also brings light to cancer and the measures that can be taken to stop it.

I think her openness about both operations is commendable and the fact that she has gone through two big operations and changes while still acting and directing as well as being a wife and mother is admirable.