Maleficent Blu-ray Review
When Disney first announced plans to make a live action movie based on the villain Maleficent, I couldn’t think of any actress better than Angelina Jolie. But the last time I said Angelina Jolie was born for a role was right before I saw her in TOMB RAIDER and unfortunately for all of us, TOMB RAIDER was atrocious. So I had fears that MALEFICENT was going to be another movie that failed to live up to expectations but had perfect casting. Thankfully, MALEFICENT not only had perfect casting, it also turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable film.
In its simplest form, MALEFICENT is a retelling of Disney’s classic SLEEPING BEAUTY, but told from the point of view of the original film’s villain. But as we’re told in the opening narration, the “real” story is not as we thought. In this version, Maleficent is a fairy (not a witch) that lives in a beautiful, peaceful land with other fairies and various cutesy creatures. Her land borders a normal, human inhabited land which of course is not so peaceful. We pick up with Maleficent when she is a little girl fairy and she meets and falls in love with a human boy, Stefan. But they grow up and Stefan eventually pursues his ambition of being king and they don’t meet again until Stefan ultimately betrays Maleficent by cutting off her wings. And that’s a very powerful, almost traumatizing scene. It’s the catalyst for the entire film, but it’s the one spot that might be too much for younger viewers to watch and even if they can sit through it, they may not understand why it happened. That betrayal is what sets Maleficent off on her more familiar, evil rampage against Stefan (who becomes king for his heinous act) and Stefan’s daughter Aurora.
Aside from the great performance by Angelina Jolie, the best part about the film was the pacing set by Robert Stromberg. He had a lot of story crammed into 97 minutes and did well by not dwelling on Maleficent’s sadness or the darkness that came after Stefan’s betrayal. Instead, a lot of the film is focused on the relationship Maleficent develops with Aurora (Elle Fanning) and the mother-daughter love that developed between them. We understood Maleficent’s anger, but the relationship between her and Aurora helped us understand her love and forgiveness even more.
It would be easy to pass off MALEFICENT as an exploitative effort from Disney to capitalize on a cherished classic, but that would be a gross misrepresentation of the film. MALEFICENT impressed me in every way, creating a world of characters I truly cared about and a premise that had a surprisingly amount of originality. Angelina Jolie’s performance carried the film, but MALEFICENT is much more than just a one woman show. MALEFICENT is an enjoyable film for the whole family (minus a couple of intense scenes) and one that should please lifelong Disney fans and skeptics alike. And since the original SLEEPING BEAUTY (click the link to read our review) doesn’t really stand the test of time, MALEFICENT is a perfect retelling of the classic story for a new generation.
Video: This is a fantastic video transfer from Disney, who has really become the industry leader when it comes to Blu-ray audio and video quality.
Audio: The audio is equally impressive.
Deleted Scenes (6:38): There are five scenes in all and although they only make up about six minutes of screen time, I’m glad they were cut. Like I said in the review, the pacing in the film was brisk and perfect and these would have slowed it down.
Featurettes (25:13): There are five featurettes total and only one of them was more than five minutes long. These are mostly fluff pieces and unfortunately, none of them focus on Angelina Jolie or her performance.