'Maleficent': Angelina Jolie is great, but the movie is lackluster
'Maleficent' doesn't quite measure up to the performance of its star Jolie.
Who would imagine that Walt Disney Studios would go revisionist? “Maleficent” updates the "Sleeping Beauty" fable it famously animated in 1959 and gives it a quasi-feminist, touchy-feely twist.
The big bad Maleficent, played in the movie by Angelina Jolie with curvy horns and cheekbones that could cut through solid steel, is given a sympathetic back story to explain all that nastiness. Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), upon whom Maleficent placed a curse in a fit of vengeful pique, has become a rather ga-ga maiden tended by a trio of pixies (Imelda Staunton is the standout).
Director Robert Stromberg, making his debut as a director after supervising the visual effects for movies like “Alice in Wonderland” and “Avatar,” lacks the transcendent touch. At least Disney was smart enough to cast Jolie. She has a genuinely heroic presence. If only the movie were equal to it. Grade: C+ (Rated PG for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images.)