Distributor: Disney / Buena Vista
Release Date: Nov. 04, 2014
Run Time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
The Movie: Maleficent is the latest in a long string of movies told from a different perspective, usually the villain’s. Like a lot of those movies, it makes her out to be the hero of the story. That right there is Maleficent‘s biggest downfall. Ultimately it’s unsure of what it is. One moment it’s bright, cheery, and happy. The next, it’s dark and dreary. Maleficent suffers from major tonal shifts, and is worse because of it.
The film opens on a young Maleficent encountering a human boy for the first time, named Stefan. They soon become friends and eventually fall in love until growing apart a little bit after. Maleficent went on to protect her side of the kingdom, the Moors, while Stefan tries to become king. Maleficent eventually comes to battle with the current king, and wounds him.
Seeking revenge, the current king offers the throne to anyone who can take down Maleficent. Stefan goes out to find Maleficent, and deceives her by seemingly rekindling his love for her. One night he drugs her and tries to kill her, only to back down and just cut off her wings.
Stefan eventually becomes the kind, and has a daughter named Aurora. Maleficent comes to the celebration to curse her to fall asleep on her sixteenth birthday until she can be waken up by true love’s kiss.
This movie, as said before, goes a completely different direction with the character, making her the hero instead of the villain. If Maleficent can be defined as a single type of film, then it’s definitely a redemption one. She eventually changes her ways and tries to undo her curse, only to fail at doing so.
A lot of the acting in this film fell flat, with the exception being Angelina Jolie as Maleficent. She owns the role, and I would like to see what she would have done playing just the villain. While the film is dark in some moments, it ultimately is a children’s film. While that’s not always a bad thing, the characters go out of their way to explain some things to the audience at certain points, which can get annoying.
There was so much potential here, and while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t the spectacular film it could have been. The film does include stunning visual effects and set pieces, but it seems unsure of itself, which is why it ended up having the dramatic tone shift throughout.
Picture and Audio Quality: What Maleficent lacks in storytelling, it makes up for in stunning picture and incredibly immersive audio. The film features a wide spectrum of color, with very bright scenes being immediately followed by dark scenes. While this may not have worked for it in the film, both sides look spectacular. The audio creates a believable sound-field without ever becoming a gimmick. If you are a big fan of Blu-ray’s picture quality advantages, than you are in for a treat.
Extras: Maleficent contains many bonus features, including several deleted scenes as well as a few featurettes, like From Fairy Tale to Feature Film and Building an Epic Battle. All of the ones here are interesting for those of you that are big fans of Disney or are interested in the filmmaking process.
Overall Recommendation: While Maleficent has sparkling video and great bonus features, it is not likely to please you if you are over the age of twelve. The film does have its bright spots, but it ends up falling flat, with a generic story and often two-dimensional characters. Unless you’ve been dying to see the film, skip it.