Latest Review – Maleficent [Blu-ray] [Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment]


Director: Robert Stromberg

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures | Roth Films

Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Year: 2014

Country: US

Genre: Fantasy | Action | Adventure | Family

Running Time: 97 minutes (1:37:28)

Region Code: Region B [Locked]

Certificate: PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (Original Aspect Ratio)

Video: 1080p High Definition (24fps)

Codec: MPEG-4 | AVC

Image: Colour

Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 [Main Feature] | English Dolby Digital 2.0 [Audio Description Track] | Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 [Main Feature]

Language: English

Subtitles: Optional English SDH | Italian | Danish | Finnish | Norwegian | Swedish


A magnetic performance from the undeniably alluring Angelina Jolie effectively drives director Robert Stromberg and screenwriter Linda Woolverton’s impressive live-action re-imagining/adaptation of the 1959 animated Walt Disney Classic, Sleeping Beauty, itself adapted from Charles Perrault’s enchanting fairy tale, ‘La Belle au bois dormant’ (‘The Beauty Sleeping in the Wood’), first published in Perrault’s ‘Histoires ou contes du temps passé’ (or ‘Stories or Fairy Tales from Past Times with Morals’) in 1697.

A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal—an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom—and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.

The main challenge the film sets itself is just how to transform this iconic disney villain into a character that audiences can actually relate to. Stromberg surprisingly succeeds in this endeavour with the majority of the film, but we are then presented with another slightly puzzling question in the form of just who is this film actually intended for. Of course with its younger target audience in mind, there are a number of sequences added in solely as a means to engage and entertain this particular demographic, though in all honesty I could have done without the increasingly irritating slapstick and squabbling of the three pixies: Knotgrass, Flittle and Thistlewit, played by Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville and Juno Temple, respectively. It is however the darker, metaphorical elements that deliver most of the highlights, alongside Jolie’s standout turn in the central role.

Supporting performances are a bit of a mixed bag and there are more than a few dodgy accents on display. With so many native Scottish actors around in Hollywood, why on Earth did they feel the need to cast native South African, Sharlto Copley in the role of the Scottish King Stefan; an actor who, with his combined performances in this and Oldboy, has proved that he should not really be allowed to attempt any accent other that his own.

If we consider this the third instalment in Disney’s ongoing series which has already seen disappointing live action/hybrid re-imaginings of beloved classics in the form of Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (2010) and Sam Raimi’s ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ (2013), then ‘Maleficent’ is by far the strongest and most technically proficient work of the three so far, really stepping everything up a notch and setting a fairly high benchmark for future works.


Special Features:

Aurora: Becoming A Beauty (0:04:53)

From Fairy Tale To Feature Film (0:08:13)

Building An Epic Battle (0:05:48)

Classic Couture (0:01:34)

Maleficent Revealed (0:04:45)

Deleted Scenes (0:06:41)


Release Date: 20 October, 2014

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