{Review} The evil elegance of Maleficent

“Listen well, all of you.”

With cheekbones that could cut glass and ruby-red lips, Angelina Jolie is mesmerizing from the moment she appears onscreen as Maleficent—Disney’s most iconic villain since she first appeared in the 1959 animated film, Sleeping Beauty.

If you haven’t seen the trailer, check it out here.

maleficent
Image from Walt Disney Pictures.

And while movie reviews aren’t my forte, I’m going to give one a crack (and not spoil the movie in the process).

Much like the hit musical Wicked, which turned the tables on the classic story of The Wizard of Oz, Maleficent isn’t just a modern-day release of a vintage flick, instead it’s a reinvention of a classic fairy tale which will make you question all you knew about the story.

I have deep love for the animated version of Sleeping Beauty; it was the first movie I owned on VHS and from the moment I hit play, I was hooked.

Like most little girls, I was bewitched by Aurora with her beautiful long blonde locks, the bumbling fairies who are tasked with protecting the little princess and, of course, with the prospect of a handsome Prince.

These days I’m a little more realistic … I mean, I’m fairly certain it’s not okay for a stranger (no matter how handsome) to kiss an unconscious girl.

Surely ‘true love’ requires both parties to be awake? And able to consent?

Political correctness aside, I do still love a good fairytale, although these days they mostly come in the form of romantic comedies featuring Bradley Copper or Ryan Gosling or sexy Dr Patrick.

But back to the $200 million Maleficent.

On Tuesday night, Resh and I attended the Queensland Premiere for Disney’s (American) summer blockbuster at Event Cinemas within the newly renovated Indooroopilly Shopping Centre and it was clear from the moment we stepped in the door that Angelina can pull a crowd with the line going up the stairs and around the corner.

We didn’t even care that we were forced to hand over our mobile phones ahead of the screening, even though it seemed a bit weird that anyone would try to record a 3D movie on their smart phone. Speaking of which, whose phone even has that much battery power?

With little means to distract ourselves other than to actually talk to each other, Resh and I had both polished our popcorn long before the movie started.

But once the lights went down and the opened credits began I was captivated by the fantasy world director Robert Stromberg had created and the characters within it.

And, quite unexpectedly, my girl-crush on Angelina came back with a vengeance. Sure, she’s not rocking the banging fit bod of her Tomb Raider/Original Sin days, but she’s feisty and funny and her smile and contact lens enhanced eyes are piercing.

Unlike the animated version of Sleeping Beauty, there’s no green skin, but she can pull a mighty fierce face when pissed off.

The story unfolds with a beautiful young fairy who grows up in an idyllic forest kingdom and rises to be the land’s fiercest protector. Love blooms but is followed by a bitter betrayal (and everyone know’s what they say about a woman scorned!).

Heartbroken and betrayed by the man she loves, who now happens to be King (scheming bastard that he is), Maleficent vows revenge and unleashes her holy reign of terror during the young Princess’ christening.

Please note this sentence isn’t a spoiler, so if you don’t know that part of the story you must have been living under a rock for the past… forever.

But it’s there that the movie takes a turn and instead of reliving the story as we know it, we see things from Maleficent’s point of view and the viewer is treated to a mix of fairies, spells, battles and, of course, a fire-breathing dragon.

In an interview with IGN, director Robert Stromberg said: “The really interesting thing about this film is that we find out where (Maleficent) began and what affected her to get to the point where we all know Maleficent to be. It’s not a one-note song – we see the whole song and go beyond that to see what happened to the character afterwards too.”

And I loved it.

I also loved her ‘forest chic’ wardrobe which, although lacking in colour, features an array of long-flowing coats teamed with her signature black horns and hair wraps.

The horns were designed by legendary make-up effects artist Rich Baker. Baker also created her sharp-as-ice cheekbones. Another costuming masterpiece is the set of 14ft-wide black wings which were made from 1,200 individual feathers which had been individually dyed, and a feathery tank top for a horse. Ah-may-zing!

And if Angelina and young Ellen Fanning (who plays the ethereal and sweet Aurora) isn’t enough of a draw card for women young and old, Walt Disney Pictures has also launched a marketing campaign that includes Maleficent lines of MAC Cosmetics and clothing and shoes by designer Stella McCartney.

And that is where my review ends, because I don’t want to give away too much.

Maleficent-11-550x366
Angelina Jolie is captivating as Maleficent. Image from Walt Disney Pictures.
Ellen Fanning was Princess perfect as Aurora. Image from Walt Disney Pictures.
Ellen Fanning was Princess perfect as Aurora. Image from Walt Disney Pictures.

But I will say I really loved the movie and it seemed to be a hit with viewers of all ages (and not too scary!).

In an interview with IGN, director Robert Stromberg said of the twisted tale: “The really interesting thing about this film is that we find out where (Maleficent) began and what affected her to get to the point where we all know Maleficent to be. It’s not a one-note song – we see the whole song and go beyond that to see what happened to the character afterwards too.”

We also topped the night off with a post-party at Nantucket Kitchen & Bar, a fairly new Cape Cod-esque restaurant on the Station Road side of the shopping centre and the food was amazing.

Food reviews definitely aren’t my forte but the Fire roasted haloumi with basil and lemon, Crab rangoon with mustard dipping sauce and Crab cakes were hard (more like impossible) to resist when they came around for the second time. And the third. Yum!

I’ll definitely be heading back!

Now if like me, you’re feeling inspired by Maleficent’s rocking red lip, here are some of my favourite lip smacking shades:

red lipstick

Clinique High Impact Lip Colour in Red-y To Wear, $36 | M.A.C Lipstick in Lady Bug, $36 | The Body Shop Colour Crush lipstick in Red Siren, $24 | Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Certainly Red $22 | M.A.C Maleficent Lipstick (due for release in June) | Natio Lip Colour in Ruby, $15 | Napoleon DeVine Goddess Lipstick in Eros, $35.

Maleficent opens in cinemas across Australia today (Thursday 29 May).

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