DVD: Maleficent

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 November, 2014, 11:11pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 November, 2014, 11:11pm

Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley
Director: Robert Stromberg

This clever twisting of the Sleeping Beauty tale by the folks at Disney turns the attention to the evil witch who in the original story lays a curse on the young princess.

And as Maleficent, Angelina Jolie appears to have such a good time among an endless parade of computer-generated beasties and visual effects that the film's weaker moments become irrelevant. In fact, Maleficent is all about Jolie and the make-up team that has accentuated her features impressively - you won't be able to avert your eyes as she swirls around looking to right the wrongs of her past.

The central theme of the film is redemption and director Robert Stromberg has helped alter previously perceived notions before through his work on films which updated classics, such as Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and Sam Raimi's Oz the Great and Powerful.

So rather than have Maleficent as a complete force of evil - as she was when first encountered on film in 1959 - Jolie is allowed to develop the character into something much deeper, one with human frailties and more than her fair share of regret over the actions of her youth which have turned most of the world against her.

That's the major change in Maleficent - and from where most of the fun is derived - as Disney seems to want us to like this character who has been treated harshly in the past. So the witch looks on as the princess (Elle Fanning) she has cursed grows up, there's a backstory involving a man who broke Maleficent's heart - and it all drives on towards the moment when the witch can save the day instead of ruining it.

One downside is the fact that it can't escape the shadow of genius cast by Frozen, an instant animated classic with the most modern of mindsets. Maleficent lacks that film's constant flashes of ingenuity and even subversion, but still manages to mostly keep the viewer entertained, mainly thanks to the fun Jolie seems to be having under all that make-up.

Extras: From Fairy Tale to Feature Film, Building An Epic Battle, Classic Couture, Maleficent Revealed, Aurora: Becoming a Beauty featurettes; deleted scenes.