Sleeping Beauty is my favorite classic Disney film and I love Angelina Jolie, so I was very excited to see this new take on the story. I was left feeling 50/50 about the film. There are some aspects of it that I loved, but a lot missed the mark.
First, the good...the overall story was solid. I liked the duality of Maleficent and having her be an anti-hero. There have been so many stories with the gimmick of telling the villains side of the tale, yet this may be the best of them. The writers gave Maleficent clear and compelling motivation. I bought into the story. I loved how they explained the raven and the dragon, it was very clever. Angelina Jolie was fantastic in the role, as was Isobelle Molloy and Ella Purnell, who played the younger Maleficents. I loved the Lana Del Rey rendition of "Once Upon a Dream". It was creepy and haunting.
The bad....the film has two entirely conflicting tones. Half of the time it was a goofy comedy clearly aimed at young children and the other half was dark and violent. Who was the target audience for this film? I certainly wouldn't take a young child to see it and as an adult, I was bored during the comedy parts.
Personally, I would have killed the comedy. The three fairy godmothers were just awful. They weren't funny at all and they never seemed to establish a connection with Aurora. She was quite happy to ditch them on her sixteenth birthday.
I didn't like Maleficent's land with it's pixies and Fraggle Rock rejects. I'm not generally a fan of fantasy, so I might be a bit biased. I understand the point of having her world in the story, but I would have imagined it very differently. It didn't work for me at all.
Elle Fanning was fine playing Aurora. However, Aurora is such an overly innocent character that it's grating. They needed to give her depth.
The casting of Sharlto Copley as King Stefan. Ugh. I just can't take Copley seriously. It doesn't matter the role, his accent and melodramatic acting sends me into giggle fits. I kind of liked having King Stefen turn into Sarah Winchester as he was going mad, but Copley was terribly miscast in the role. Speaking of accents, it didn't matter so much since everyone had a totally different accent in this film. I guess in a fantasy realm, consistency doesn't matter?
Jolie's terrible make-up job. It didn't look like defined cheek-bones, it looked like make-up smeared on her face to create the illusion. I felt like I was looking at a theater performer close-up after the show. Her costume was great, hair was fabulous...make-up = fail.
Okay, I take it back, I can't rate this 50/50. I definitely disliked it more than I liked it, but it's worth seeing if you're a fan of Jolie or Sleeping Beauty.