Maleficent (2014 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Stromberg|
|Produced by||Joe Roth|
|Screenplay by||Linda Woolverton|
|Narrated by||Janet McTeer|
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios
|Box office||$757.8 million|
Maleficent (/məˈlɛfɪsənt/ or /məˈlɪfɪsənt/) is a 2014 American dark fantasy film directed by Robert Stromberg from a screenplay by Linda Woolverton. Starring Angelina Jolie as the eponymous Disney villainess character, the film is a live-action re-imagining of Walt Disney‘s 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty, and portrays the story from the perspective of the antagonist, Maleficent.
Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, with Angelina Jolie as an executive producer, principal photography took place between June and October 2012. Maleficent premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on May 28, 2014, and was released in the United Kingdom that same day. The film was released in the U.S. on May 30, 2014 in the Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D formats, as well as in conventional theaters. The film was met with mixed reviews from critics, but was a commercial success, having grossed over $757 million worldwide and is the fourth highest-grossing film of 2014.
An elderly narrator tells the story of Maleficent, a powerful fairy living in the Moors, a magical forest realm bordering a corrupt human kingdom. As a young girl, she meets and falls in love with a human peasant boy named Stefan, whose love for Maleficent is overshadowed by his ambition to become king. As they grow older, Stefan and Maleficent grown apart, and she grows into the role of protector of the Moors. When King Henry tries to conquer the Moors, he is thwarted by a mature Maleficent, forcing him to retreat. Fatally wounded in the battle, he declares that whoever kills Maleficent would be named his successor and marry his daughter Leila. An older Stefan hears this, then goes to see Maleficent in the Moors. Stefan drugs Maleficent but cannot bring himself to kill her, so instead he cuts her wings off with iron – a lethal substance to fairies – and presents them to the king as proof of her death. Maleficent awakens to find herself wingless. She rescues a raven named Diaval, whom she gives a human form, to serve as her confidant. Maleficent, deeply saddened by Stefan’s betrayal, declares herself Queen of the Moors, forming a dark oppressive kingdom with Diaval as her only companion..
Some time later, Diaval informs Maleficent that Stefan, who is now king, is hosting a christening for his newborn daughter, Aurora. Bent on revenge, Maleficent arrives uninvited and curses the infant princess: on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, which will cause her to fall into a deep sleep from which she will never awaken. When Stefan begs for mercy, she offers an antidote: the curse can be broken by true love’s kiss. A paranoid Stefan sends Aurora to live a trio of pixies until the day after her sixteenth birthday, while he destroys and burns all the spinning wheels in the kingdom and hides them in the deepest dungeon in the castle. He sends out his armies to find and kill Maleficent, but she surrounds the Moors with an impenetrable wall of thorns.
Despite her initial dislike for Aurora, Maleficent begins to care for the girl when the incompetent pixies fail to do so. After a brief meeting with the young Aurora, Maleficent watches over her from afar. When Aurora is 15, she meets Maleficent for the first time and she calls Maleficent her “fairy godmother”, as Aurora recalls being watched over by her all of her life. Realizing she has grown fond of the princess, Maleficent attempts to revoke the curse, but she cannot. Aurora later meets Prince Philip, and the two are smitten with each other. On the day before Aurora’s 16th birthday, Maleficent, hoping to avoid the curse, allows her to move to the Moors. When the pixies inadvertently tell Aurora of her parentage and of Maleficent’s true identity, a furious Aurora runs away to her father’s castle.
Meanwhile King Stefan, mad with paranoia, sits in his castle talking to Maleficent’s wings, and even refuses to see Queen Leila on her deathbed.
- Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, the queen fairy of the Moors who casts a sleep curse on Princess Aurora
- Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora, King Stefan and Queen Leila‘s daughter and princess of the human kingdom
- Sharlto Copley as King Stefan, ruler of the human kingdom and Aurora‘s father
- Sam Riley as Diaval, a raven who is Maleficent‘s confidant and minion.
- Imelda Staunton as Knotgrass, a pink pixie charged with raising Aurora in secret until her 16th birthday.
- Juno Temple as Thistlewit, a green pixie charged with raising Aurora in secret until her 16th birthday.
- Lesley Manville as Flittle, a blue pixie charged with raising Aurora in secret until her 16th birthday.
- Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip, a young prince who falls in love with Aurora while traveling through the forest.
- Kenneth Cranham as King Henry, a monarch determined to conquer the forest realm and Princess Leila‘s father.
- Hannah New as Queen Leila, King Henry’s daughter who marries Stefan and Aurora‘s mother.
This is a well portrayed movie, with superb acting and stellar effects. I was expecting more of a kids/chick flick type of story, but this was actually a great twist on the old Cinderella tale; dark enough to keep an old Conan the Barbarian fan interested from start to finish. This one does not disappoint. – MR