Angelina Jolie successfully embodies Disney villainess Maleficent and the storytellers behind the movie provide a fascinating backstory. Jolie dances the perfect line between honoring the iconic role that is so well known and making it her own. She was perfectly cast and gives great depth to the character.
The production value is fantastic. Jolie's make-up and costumes as Maleficent are breaktaking. The look achieved draws on the classic images of the character while adding a fresh twist. There is also story to back up the stunning looks and accessories. The sets and special effects are of the highest quality. Big imagery for story's sake, not just for flash. It seems likely the movie will receive technical nominations for its efforts.
Live action adaptations of fairy tales continue to be an increasing trend in Hollywood, albeit with mixed results. For every Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, there is a Red Riding Hood movie no one can recall and Snow White stories to be mixed up. Disney has many additional projects in production in what has become a genre of its own. Alice Through the Looking Glass has a scheduled 2016 release. The truest teaser trailer ever edited can be seen before Maleficent; only a glass slipper is shown and not even the movie's title is displayed. It is of course for Cinderella. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, featuring Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother, the movie will arrive in theaters March 2015. Live action adaptations of The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, and Cruella are also in the works.
Jolie served as an executive producer on the film and to date it has made almost half a billion dollars worldwide. Maleficent is visually stunning and has the substance to support it. Without revealing any plot points, there are modern twists to the story that when paired with the plot of Frozen, seem to signal a change in the predictability of Disney fairy tales.