Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Entertainment

July 3, 2014

Jolie shines, but not enough, in 'Maleficent'

FROM THE DEN AT WOLF THEATRES — Angelina Jolie shines like a diamond in a coalfield in Director Robert Stromberg’s uneven and unnecessary “Maleficent,” a live-action retelling of Walt Disney’s venerable animated classic “Sleeping Beauty” (1959).

“Maleficent” suffers from a number of flaws that leave it without a distinct identity and thereby without a well-defined target audience. For one, Stromberg’s film is too slow and prodding, its script too uneven to consistently hold the attention of adults, adolescents or children, and much of its imagery and themes are too grownup for younger audiences.

To be sure, “Maleficent” isn’t bereft of appeal, the first and most obvious of which is Jolie herself, who endows the film’s eponymous wicked fairy godmother with charisma, charm and even likability.

“Maleficent” marks Stromberg’s directorial debut, and his day job as a visual-effects guru (his IMDB page lists 95 visual effects credits) makes “Maleficent’s” second major strength – its visuals – no surprise. Stromberg is like a kid in a candy store in this big-budget, magical, mainstream Disney extravaganza, giving his film a look that pops off the screen and that is, at times, truly breathtaking.

Neither of those strengths is sufficient, though, to make “Maleficent” worthy of a big-screen admission. In fact, Jolie’s strong, charismatic presence amounts to something of a dual-edge sword and is a big reason why “Maleficent” seems pointless.

Working from Screenwriter Linda Woolverton’s script and Stromberg’s directorial queues, Jolie transforms the 1959 Maleficent from a mysterious, evil presence of unclear origin into a sympathetic, jilted lover who’s betrayed for power by her girlhood true love – the “noble” King Stefan.

In effect, “Maleficent” takes the familiar story of Disney’s original, with its well-defined shades of good and evil, and turns it inside out, adding pointless complexity. Maleficent is not only sympathetic here, but, in essence, becomes the story’s protagonist, with Stefan and his all-consuming ambitions for the throne serving as antagonist.

Text Only
Entertainment
  • nws-gb072614-book review pic 1 Review: Supersurvivors by David B. Feldman, PhD & Lee Daniel Kravetz You’re not sure if you’ll ever recover.The loss of job or a business. The loss of a lifelong dream. The loss of your health or the life of someone you love. Without a doubt, you’ll never be the same. It’s the worst thing that could ever happen to you

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • New arrivals at library Translation to XTAGS failed

    July 25, 2014

  • "Hercules" movie poster Movie preview: “Hercules”

    Plot: Having endured his legendary twelve labors, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Lucy" movie poster Movie preview: “Lucy”

    Plot: Writer/director Luc Besson helms this action-thriller that tracks a woman who falls prey to sinister underworld forces, but gains superhuman abilities that allow her to strike back at her oppressors.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb072414-movie wolf apes dawn - pic Latest 'Apes' flick is monkey as metaphor FROM THE DEN AT WOLF THEATRES — At its core, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is a fable about the human condition that evinces thoughtful, subtle influences from a slightly unexpected source: George Orwell’s 1945 novel “Animal Farm.”Of course, with

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb072414 Movie Boys review jpg Begin Again is nice counter to endless summer blockbusters With Andy still on sabbatical, I’ll be taking a solo look this week at an anti-blockbuster-type of movie. Begin Again (R) stars Mark Ruffalo as a down-and-out New York music executive who stumbles into a bar and coincidentally hears an ingénue singer

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb072414 Colts kickoff concert pic Colts are hosting their free Back to Football Kickoff Concert The Colts will host their Kickoff Concert Presented by Verizon on Friday, September 5, in Downtown Indianapolis. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature Grammy Award winning artist Blues Traveler, performers of the smash hits “R

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • :Sex Tape" movie poster Movie preview: “Sex Tape”

    Plot: Though they’re still very much in love, ten years and two kids have cooled the passion for Jay and Annie. To spice up their relationship, they decide to make a home video of themselves.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Planes: Fire and Rescue" movie poster Movie preview: “Planes: Fire and Rescue”

    Plot: When world-famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • "The Purge: Anarchy" movie poster Movie preview: “The Purge: Anarchy”

    Plot: A defenseless young couple find themselves stranded in the city on the one night of the year that all crime, including murder, is legal, in this self-contained sequel to the 2013 sleeper hit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo