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Victor, South Africa. 1 January 2015
SLEEPING Beauty was one of my most favourite Disney tales as a child. At the same time, it was the most terrifying.
Maleficent, as her name suggested, was the embodiment of pure evil, hatred and power. She tried to kill a baby because she wasnâ€™t invited to the christening, traps the childâ€™s only hope of salvation in a forest of thorns and could transform herself into a slick black fire breathing dragon for kicks.
She was monstrous, glamorous and absolutely horrifying. Not so much anymore.
Disney continued its string of live-action remakes last week with the release of the long-awaited Maleficent, and boy was I entertained.
Robert Stromberg (in his feature directorial debut) brings new light to the tale, revealing the heart behind the almighty villainâ€™s hate.
The movie takes place on the borderline of The Moors (a realm of colour, filled with a great manner of supernatural beings) and the darker, greed-fed Human Kingdom. Obviously, the two parties donâ€™t get on.
We are welcomed to the story by young fairy Maleficent (Isobelle Molloy) â€“ a friend to all and protector of the Moors.
All is well until along comes a human boy, Stefan (Michael Higgins). The young pair hit it off and we are narrated through a ten-minute love story.
Things turn sour as the pair grow older and what was a story of light and love quickly descends into something much darker. The villain we all know is back (this time as Angelina Jolie with some killer cheekbones) and we are actually on her side.
It develops quite quickly into a story of justice, morality and the blurred lines between the two.
Getting down to the nuts and bolts of the film, I was quite surprised at how warm the movie was considering it was promoted as being quite the opposite.
Jolie is majestic in her portrayal of Maleficent as a vengeful, broken-hearted woman on a mission for justice.
Elle Fanning is beautiful as the princess Aurora. She doesnâ€™t add much depth but the character in itself isnâ€™t much more than boring perfection. Aurora is gifted as a child with beauty, kindness and the blessing of permanent happiness.
In turn, it makes her quite dull. Lovely, but dull.
That said, the interaction between Jolie and Fanning gave some of the most precious scenes in the movie.
Famed for his work with Visual Effects in Avatar, Life of Pi and Tim Burtonâ€™s Alice In Wonderland, Stromberg brought real magic to the film (much the same as with Avatar) in bringing to life this incredible fictional world - a first class effort for his debut.
Those heading along for a remake of the original should rethink their expectations.
Itâ€™s not the same story. In fact, itâ€™s quite the opposite.
It not only diverts from the original text in the makeup of the central character, who is no longer a straight down-the-line villain, but in a number of other ways too.
The three fairies tasked with caring for Aurora (Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton and Juno Temple) seem to have just been thrown in for the sake of the story and the emphasis on handsome Prince Phillip (Aussie actor Brenton Thwaites) to save the day is erased.
The same notion was seen just months ago in the movie Frozen, and Disney are again challenging the traditional concept of true love to present something fresh. A theme for future projects, perhaps.
If you take it for what it is - a kids movie in grown up shoes - itâ€™s brilliant. A semidark action fantasy set in a world where anything is possible - A bird can be a man, wolf, horse and dragon; and you arenâ€™t even surprised if it happens.
We are living in the era of recycled classics.
Every few months there is a new superhero movie released and the same trend can be seen for childhood fantasy flicks.
Weâ€™ve already seen Alice in Wonderland and Snow White re-done and thereâ€™s more in the works.
Thereâ€™s an all-star cast lined up for a new Peter Pan, Sofia Coppola has submitted interest to take on The Little Mermaid and Disney just weeks ago have released a teaser for a live-action Cinderalla tale, directed by Kenneth Branagh (of Iron Man 2 and Thor fame).
Thereâ€™s also a Jungle Book adaption on the way and 101 Dalmationsâ€™ Cruella DeVille is tipped for a starring role in a movie of her namesake.
While the stories arenâ€™t original or by any means complex, they offer up something far more precious to viewers. The chance to relive the past in a new and exciting way. Being a child at heart has never been more fun.
Donnie, South Africa. 24 October 2014
This is truly an awesome movie. Ill watch it again and again
Elmarie, South Africa. 26 November 2014
Love it!!! My daughter loved it as well!!
Jeanene, South Africa. 7 November 2014
Felicity, South Africa. 11 August 2016
The real story your mother never told you!
Alison, South Africa. 28 October 2015
Magnificent fairytale with a fantastic twist from your usual "happy ever after" - loved it!
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