Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Arts

June 10, 2014

‘Maleficent’ a gorgeous redefinition of classic tale

emann@pvdemocrat.com — I’m certain the empire that Mickey built will one day again find a way as most mega corporate conglomerates do and present an absolutely soul crushing disappointment to theaters. However, for now, they seem to be doing a lot of things right when it comes to cinema.

From super heroes to fairy tales, the formula has at least been for the most part tolerable. Thankfully today’s example of the latter appears to have delivered not just something pretty, but with a strong story and characters to boot. Unlike 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland,” “Maleficent” finds a fresh and clever way to expand the “Sleeping Beauty” many of us watched the heck out of as children and in some ways surpassed the depth of that original animation.

In this version of Supernatural Narcoleptic we go way back and learn the origin of the title character, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), who lives in the magical and not ruled by royalty land of the moors. The folk here are quite content to be left alone and wouldn’t even have a thing to with the humans if it weren’t for super jerk King Henry (Kenneth Cranham, apparently not married to the widow next door) and a young boy that catches young Maleficent’s fancy named Stefan (Sharlto Copley).

However, as the narrator initially surmises that just about every human is a self-serving punk, things don’t work out among the love birds and before you know it the Jerry Springer feud accelerates to Maleficent cursing Stefan’s daughter Aurora (Elle Fanning) with the whole finger pricking curse most of us are familiar with. From then on it’s a unexpectedly heartwarming tale (well, maybe not since it is Disney), where our embittered witch fairy tries every which way to hate this young girl, but finds herself actually quite smitten. It’s actually quite a clever way to show the gray area that exists when we would rather ignore things with black and white definitions.

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