I suppose I should start by saying that I didn’t really have any desire to see this movie. It just happens that it was all that was available on a Friday night after a long stressful week.
I’ll follow that up by saying I’m glad I watched it. It was quite enjoyable in a number of ways. While I was never big on the story of Sleeping Beauty, that’s essentially what Maleficent is, but from a slightly different perspective.
The movie looks visually stunning. The landscapes and imagery that were digitally crafted are beautiful. Sometimes more beautiful than you’d expect and the special effects teams are showing off a bit. For example, there’s a big battle scene near the beginning of the movie and part of that battle shows Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) flying around overhead and zipping around the enemy, mostly (I think) so they could show off the scenery around their created landscape.
I didn’t mind much, though, because it truly is gorgeous and very well done.
The story isn’t all that different from any classic Disney princess story we know from our childhood, though there is a slight twist at the end. It wasn’t quite a surprise and was fairly predictable as the film went on. It was, I will say, a welcome change to what was expected. It strays from the typical Disney princess stories of the past and tries something new that’s only been done in one other Disney film (very recently), if memory serves.
Angelina Jolie puts on an incredible performance as Maleficent, though you likely already know that. She embodies the character she plays, more so than she’s done in the past, and truly shines in the role. You both love her and hate her all at the same time, which is exactly what I think they’re going for.
I didn’t care for Sharlto Copley — you remember him from District 9. He’s stale in his role and could have easily been replaced by any number of other actors who could have pulled off the small, but important, role much better.
Elle Fanning is adorable, whimsical, and eager. Just as you’d expect Princess Aurora to be (yes, that’s Sleeping Beauty’s name). It seems where Dakota left off, Elle is picking up.
Overall I really enjoyed the film. It wasn’t the greatest story in the world, but I didn’t care. I enjoyed it, its scenery, the dynamic between Maleficent and Diaval, and also Aurora. If you like classic Disney stories that have been updated for today’s day and age, this one’s for you.
When the film first started, I was a bit turned off. The first bit of it (half hour, maybe?) is very shakey cam ala Cloverfield. Which I definitely didn’t care for. However, overall, the way this movie is filmed is pretty amazing. You almost forget you’re watching a motion picture for a while, and think you’re watching a documentary. I think that’s the goal.
I was taken aback by some of the CGI in the film. Where movies these days tend to shy away from over the top violence, District 9 embraces it. Showing people’s heads explode, their bodies being torn apart, that’s definitely not shying away from anything. District 9 has their CGI down pat. And it shows throughout the entire movie.
There were a few scenes where the prawns (the aliens that look like giant shrimp) didn’t look quite as real as scenes where you could tell they were actors in costumes. Overall though, the aliens looked pretty amazing, and very well done.
The story of movie is one that you don’t realize until after it’s over. And it’s a good one. In the majority of alien movies of today, the aliens come to earth, and they’re immediately the bad guys. They’re here to kill us and take over. That’s not the case with District 9. In District 9 the humans are the bad guys. We fear what we don’t understand, and I think that message gets through loud and clear.
Unknown actor Sharlto Copley plays Wicus, the lead guy in the film, and the relocation of the aliens project in the movie. According to IMdB, he’s never acted before, and this is not only his first movie, but his first anything. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be getting plenty of work after this. He’s simply amazing. He steals the entire movie, and portrays an amazing character on screen.
I really liked the movie. It could have been a lot better, but it also could have been quite a lot worse. I felt there were parts that could have been cut out, to get the runtime down to an hour and 45 minutes. But overall, I don’t have a lot of gripes about it. If you had an inkling to see the movie, and haven’t yet, definitely go see it. It’s worth the price of admission, and I imagine it’s going to look amazing when it comes out on Blu-ray.