(For the original Bum Review of this film, see here)
(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Maleficent)
Doug (vo): I kind of rolled my eyes when I heard they were making a Maleficent movie. I mean, it just seems like a pointless thing to do.
(Brief clips of the animated 1959 Sleeping Beauty are shown)
Doug (vo): Maleficent is a great villain, one of the great villains; she's so charismatic and evil and loves every minute of it and is elegant and clever and diabolical. She's given just the right amount of screen time in the original Sleeping Beauty.
(Back to the 2014 film)
Doug (vo): So the idea of learning more about her past didn't seem too bright, but at the same time, I was open to it, I guess. When the film finally came out, it became very obvious what they were trying to do. It's the Wicked formula again, trying to take a fairy tale we all thought we knew and tell it in a different way where the bad guy doesn't look so bad. When I figured that out, which you can very quickly in this film, I just sort of shrugged and said, "Whatever. Just give me some pleasing eye candy." It did, and I didn't think too much of it. But then later, when I really thought about it, it started to piss me off, like, really piss me off. I thought about what they were trying to do to one of the great villains, one of the great Disney icons, turning the Mistress of All Evil into a simple case of misunderstanding, turning three of the most likeable comic reliefs into these idiotic morons, turning an iconic Disney fairy tale that has its flaws, but was still pretty damn creative, into every other poorly CG-ed stale story that comes out about fairy tales nowadays. You know what? This movie really sucks. A lot!
Doug (vo): We start off with the backstory of Maleficent as a little girl, who apparently had wings originally. Okay. This is because she was a fairy. All right, well, she looks kind of cool, so we'll go with it. She then meets a human boy, and they grow up, falling in love. But then he finds out when he's older that if he kills Maleficent, he'll be given unbelievable power. But he can't quite do that, because...he's too nice, I guess...so he decides to cut off her wings instead. She decides, from this day on, that she hates all humanity and is just gonna be evil. Years later, the King marries and eventually has a daughter, and you know how this goes. Maleficent comes to the party, curses the daughter, and says when she turns 16, she'll prick her finger on the spinning wheel and die. Once again, the fairies are called in to take her away and raise her, but...get a load of this. Maleficent always knows where the baby is, and, because the fairies are too stupid to raise a child, Maleficent actually kind of raises her herself, 'cause, you know, she's not so bad after all. Once the child grows up, she eventually bumps into Prince Charming, they fall in love, and all this time, Maleficent is not only watching, but actually getting on pretty good with her, because...yeah. This is what we want to see, one of the greatest villains of all time having girl talk, talking about feelings, chilling, laughing, having all sorts of fun. [Beat] What the fuck am I watching?! It finally gets to a point where Maleficent doesn't want the princess to die, so she knocks out the prince and tries to get them back together, because if she does fall in love and pricks her finger, maybe he can wake her up. And meanwhile, the King has gone crazy just...because...and he vows to set a trap for Maleficent. Yeah, kind of a shock he didn't do that before. So it's a battle between Maleficent, the hero, and the princess's father, the villain. Yeah, I can tell they really got the idea about what Disney's Sleeping Beauty was all about.
Doug (vo): I won't give away what happens in the end, but remember what they did in Frozen with the true love thing, and how they did a little bit of a twist on it? Yeah, they do that here, too, except...it was already done in Frozen, so it's not really a twist anymore. I guess there's one or two good things in this. Some of the visuals are a little neat, most of them are pretty standard and not rendered very well. Angelina Jolie looks pretty cool as Maleficent. She's got that devilish smile and a cool look here or there, but while her acting's not really bad, it's not really anything that great either.
[The film's villain, King Stefan, played by Sharlto Copley, is shown in several clips]
Doug (vo): The actor playing the King is awful. I mean, really bad. I guess he's supposed to be, like, this really complex character, but he just sort of has these weird mood swings, and, out of nowhere, goes nuts, and none of it's convincing and it all sounds so silly.
King Stefan: [to Aurora] They brought you back a day too soon. I told those three idiots! [To several guards] Lock her up in her room.
Doug (vo): Something about his voice, I can't explain it. I don't know if it's the inflections or the pitch or whatever, but he just annoys the crap out of me.
King Stefan: She's only sleeping FOREVER!
Doug (vo): And everything else, like I said, is trying to turn this story into something it isn't, which, okay. Wicked did something like that, and Once Upon a Time did something like that, and they seem to work out okay. But that's part of the problem: They already did it. If you're going to do it now, you have to add something really new or really groundbreaking. Wicked had good writing and characters and music, outside of the fact that it was a twist on a story we already know. This is just so standard. And not only that, it takes characters that you already loved, and instead of making them charming in a new way, it just sucks out anything that made them unique.
[The film's version of the three fairies are shown]
Doug (vo): The fairies? Good God! I mean, there's dumb, and then there's just insultingly dumb. It's almost like the writer of this movie just didn't like the person who created the fairies originally or something, and just really wanted to stick it to them. I mean, they are just so terribly written! I know this is done so that Maleficent looks more like the star, but, come on. This is downright degrading. And like I said, Maleficent herself is just not that interesting. I guess this could be kind of a neat spin, seeing how we all know the story and, yeah, it is kind of juicy with her getting her wings chopped off and hating all humanity and stuff and trying to go through a change. But nobody is written with any charm or charisma. I give the actors credit that they're trying to add charm and charisma, but there's just so little to work off of.
Doug (vo): Nothing about it cries that somebody had this great idea and really wanted to tell this story in a brand new way that was gonna just change the way you look at everything. It's obviously just trying to do what everybody else is doing, and in the process, it insults some of our greatest Disney characters. The fairies were awesome. Don't try to make them stupid. Maleficent was great. Don't try to make her good. The Kings were charming. Don't try to make them this asshole! [Stefan is shown briefly again to fit the "asshole" description] I don't know, if you want more reasons why I hate it, go watch the Honest Trailers of it. I guess if you're just looking for something that's kind of pretty, a touch creative, and reminds you a little bit of those classic fairy tales, then it's a harmless waste of time. But if you're looking for something that's gonna suck you in, and you can't wait [to see] what's gonna happen next, and it's very psychological and intriguing and, I don't know, anything not stale and hasn't been done a million times, then you can definitely give this one a pass.
[A scene showing Maleficent flying in the sky is shown]