Angelina Jolie casts spell on movie-goers with Maleficent
FOLLOWING on from the likes of the Broadway musical Wicked and films such as Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman it seems revisionist takes on classic fairytales are all the rage.
Enter Maleficent, a new interpretation of Disney's 1959 film Sleeping Beauty.
This time we see the world through Maleficent, a vengeful fairy driven to protect her land.
We first meet a teenage Maleficent (Isobelle Malloy) who flies around the Moors.
One day she meets Stefan, a human boy, and the two become friends despite coming from different worlds.
Years later, King Henry seeks the apparent riches that lie within the Moors and after an attempt to enter the realm, decrees any man that kills Maleficent will become his heir.
A grown up Stefan (Sharlto Copley) conflicted by his own personal greed and his feelings for Maleficent, betrays her in a personal and violent manner.
In one of the film's most powerful moments, Stefan drugs Maleficent and forcibly removes her wings in a scene that acts as a metaphor for rape.
Jolie's howls of anguish when she awakens and discovers this ultimate betrayal is one of pain and sorrow that permeates her entire arc in the film.
In revenge, Maleficent places a curse on Stefan's newborn daughter Aurora - she will fall into an eternal sleep on her 16th birthday and the curse can only be lifted by true love's kiss.
Copley's Stefan pivots wildly between a man torn by his ambitions and a raving mad man.
Perhaps in the hands of a more experienced director the moments in the film that fall flat would have been noticed and remedied.
What holds this film together is the theatrical but never campy performance of Jolie.
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley Charlize
Director: Robert Stromberg
Reviewer: Jim Alouat