After four years away from the big screen, Angelina Jolie returns to theatres this weekend as an iconic Disney villain in “Maleficent.”
The estimated $US175 million+, live-action version of its 1959 animated movie “Sleeping Beauty” tells the story of why the Mouse House’s most wicked villainess turned dark.
The first reviews for the film, out Friday, are finally coming out, and while they’re not stellar — the most inconsistent feedback on the film is on its visuals that have been described as everything from “exquisitely designed” to “atrocious” — every reviewer agrees that Jolie is both a scene-stealer and the glue that holds first-time director Robert Stromberg‘s picture together.
“Jolie is perfectly cast in the lead, and does excellent work despite substantial physical constraints. She spends the entire film wearing a prosthetic nose, cheeks, teeth and ears, with moon-sized contact lenses and a bulky set of horns atop her head … When Jolie is let loose to really bare her fangs, such as her nearly word-for-word re-creation of Maleficent’s first scene from the Disney original, she strips the paint from the walls.”
“Maleficent‘s only consistent element is Angelina Jolie’s mesmerising portrayal of the titular character … With her piercing eyes, angular cheekbones and a voice that effortlessly flits between soothing and scything, Angelina Jolie is majestic as Maleficent and keeps the movie afloat during its worst segments.”
“If you’re expecting Jolie to deliver purring sarcasm in the pursed-lipped, raised-eyebrow mould of Agnes Moorehead on “Bewitched,” fear not — she absolutely does. Rest assured, however, that she offers up this character in many moods and modes, turning what was a striking but fairly single-minded villain into a fully fleshed-out woman. She has known pain and she has felt anger, yes, but she is also capable of love and compassion.”
“… She’s [Jolie] the best thing about the movie, and always worth watching. But it blunts the effectiveness of the narrative if we can never quite believe Maleficent is bad. That’s because we know she’s essentially good, and she seems to know that we know it …
“‘Maleficent’ is fun for its appealing visuals — especially in the forest — and for watching Jolie. But that’s not enough to make the whole film interesting. As the minutes tick by, you might even start feeling a bit like Sleeping Beauty herself comes to feel: Drowsy.”
“Angelina Jolie doesn’t chew the estimable scenery in Maleficent — she infuses it, wielding a magnetic and effortless power as the magnificently malevolent fairy who places a curse on a newborn princess.”
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