Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +2

Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning. Action/fantasy. Directed by Robert Stromberg.

FILM SYNOPSIS: As a beautiful, pure-hearted young fairy, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until she is betrayed by a young man determined to become a king. And to become king, he must kill Maleficent. He canít quite commit the murder. He does, however, drug her, then cut off her wings. Well, this bugs her no end. Bent on revenge, Maleficent 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.

PREVIEW REVIEW: While Disneyís spinned-story is visually potent, Maleficent now focuses on the villain, leaving Princess Aurora as the secondary character. But this actually gives the story a real dimension, for as we will discover, the tale of retribution eventually becomes one of repentance and redemption.

There were differences between John Wayneís True Grit and the Coen Brothers remake a couple years back. Both, however, were examples of excellent filmmaking. The same can be said of the 1959 Sleeping Beauty cartoon, which helped build the House of the Mouse and this updated version. In keeping with the sensibilities of todayís moviegoers, this version is darker, more violent, but also more willing to explore the nature of the villainess.

Ms. Jolie is solid in the role (You thought I was going to say magnificent as Maleficent, didnít you?), and her costumes and the Disney magic are impressive, making this the best of the recent attempts at reviving the cartoon fairytale (Snow White and the Huntsman, Mirror Mirror, Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel). Though Elle Fanning as Aurora has little to do but smile in this take, still the young actress has the sweetest spirit of any actress in LaLaLand (We Bought a Zoo). When she smiles, Elle invites you into her soul. She revives the hope of innocence in a world desperately in need of innocence.

Maleficent is violent and serious, going lightly on the whimsy. But there is a strong moral as we see two persons becoming vengeful, one realizing that vengeance only destroys oneself, the other unable to escape sinís ruinous effect of the soul.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Disney

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: There are a few battles, with the armies serving as little more than dispensable pawns, much like video games.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Non
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Little ones may find several scenes jolting and unnerving. A parent should be there to reassure.
Running Time: 97 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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