Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Movie Review: Maleficent

Shortly before moving to DC a girl suggested that I read "Wicked". It wasn't a book I normally would have picked up, because I'm from Kansas and years of overexposure mean that I think Dorothy should die in a fire. But I read it and liked it. I rather like the idea behind the books that the success of Wicked spawned even if I didn't like enough of the actual books to keep up on the series. So I was intrigued to see that Disney was giving the retelling treatment to their own Maleficent.

I was expecting a twisting of the Disney's Sleeping Beauty story (as opposed to everyone else's Sleeping Beauty story). Neil Gaiman's "Snow Glass Apples" figured prominently in my mind [part 1] [part 2]. Then, as I heard descriptions of the movie, I thought they were rewriting Shrek with Angelina Jolie playing the part of the tall, slim, and beautiful swamp troll. I can assure you, that's not what happens. Rather than twisting the story horribly they seem to have tried to tell the same story from a new viewpoint and include much that went on off camera.

I'll admit that it's been a long time since I've seen the original movie and I remember it less than perfectly, but there were scenes that felt disconnected from the rest of the movie. And I think that it was because they were reproducing scene and dialog lifted directly from the original movie. This required the camera to move differently than in the rest of the movie and the characters to be a bit more dramatic. I'd be interested in seeing the scenes played next to each other.

There were other things that had to be twisted. Maleficent doesn't turn into a dragon herself, but turns her lackey into a dragon. A few other tidbits like that. Nothing really altering the story.

I'm not likely to get it on DVD, but I'm glad that I saw the movie. I'd happily watch it again.