In nearly 80 years of delicious Disney animated villains threatening princesses, nobody’s ever been as truly frightening as Maleficent, the horn-headed sorceress who could transform into a dragon and cursed baby Aurora in 1959’s Sleeping Beauty. But much as Wicked did for the evil witch of The Wizard of Oz, Maleficent digs deeper into the backstory of the sharp-cheeked villainess, with Angelina Jolie bringing her to vivid life.
Of course, such revisionist fairy tales have become increasingly common. As EW’s Keith Staskiewicz notes in his review, “The first line of Maleficent [''Let us tell an old story anew and see how well you know it"] could be emblazoned on a sticker and slapped onto the back-bumper of Hollywood, an industry that has at this point become more interested in recycling than Ed Begley, Jr.”
But with a story credited to Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast) and directed by Avatar production designer Robert Stromberg, Maleficent creates a different beast altogether, all the while staying true to the Disney brand. Elle Fanning plays the princess who really shouldn’t spin thread before turning 16 — but it’s Jolie, of course, that you’re aching to see at the baby’s christening. I’m sure she has her reasons for cursing a child, but I just want to hear that maniacal, echoing laugh.
Read more from Staskiewicz’s review, as well as a round-up of other notable critics, below. READ FULL STORY