Live-action fairytales, they’re so hot right now, live-action fairytales. Disney had a brief, shining moment with Frozen but don’t worry, they’ve corrected course away from that brain fart of cinematic glory and right back into their comfort zone of mindlessly banal mediocrity.
Maleficent follows the youth and adulthood of the very specialest fairy of them all, like totes OMG you guys, the titular (sadly no titties were harmed or even shown during the making of this film) Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), as she befriends, falls in love with, gets spurned by, and plans revengency vengeance on the boy-next-door turned douche-in-castle, King Stefan, (Sharlto Copley) who wronged the fuck outta her. Will she find the dark satisfaction she seeks? Will Maleficent’s heart ever thaw or will it remain trapped in the winter of despairy hopelessness? Will Kimye wedding updates ever stop or will they rip a hole in the space/time continuum and let another disaster fall ou-OH MY GOD YOU GUYS I KNOW WHERE MILEY CYRUS CAME FROM.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there lived a visually magnificent film with one marginally interesting character (the crow, Diaval, played by a charismatic Sam Riley), a tranny in prosthetics who gave it her best shot (Jolie’s Maleficent), a Barbie with a shit-eating grin perma-plasted on her face (Elle Fanning’s saccharine Aurora) and a Castaway reject who went, in the immortal words of Robert Downey Jr, “full retard” (Copley’s Stefan).
In this land the dark cinematic score and special effects were pretty much the only reason to go on vacay there, and only if anal bleaching and acid bukkake were booked solid. The crow, Riley’s Diaval, had a spark of engaging charm to offset Jolie’s stoic-to-the-point-of-botox resolve. There were flashes of interesting material in-between bouts of insipid dialogue and pointless battle sequences, so, you know, Maleficient had that going for it I guess.
Maleficent was more tonally confused than The Lohan trying to decide if she’s sexually attracted to men, women, potted plants, or cocaine (spoiler alert: it’s cocaine). Amidst baffling and inconsistent character arcs the film waffled between a darkly ominous rage and bipolar idiocy.
The jerky stop-motion pacing between action and exposition really allowed the audience to feel what most hookers who end up in my trunk never get the chance to tell anyone; how much bouncing around with no end in sight can make you wanna throw the fuck up and/or punch a baby. No babies were harmed in the writing of this review… Allegedly.
Considering Maleficent went through script rewrites to improve sagging wits and verbal Taco Bell shits, the end result was a Jackson Pollock of lame. From forced and awkward dialogue to a cast-wide epidemic of recent-stroke-victim-styled delivery, at no point did this period piece sell an ounce of authenticity. The wooden characters, delivered fresh out the Nicholas Cage School For People Who Wanna Act Good And Learn How To Do Other Stuff Good Too flunked their final exam and delivered lackluster dialogue with all the enthusiasm of stoned sloths.
With fresher material the cast might’ve had a shot, but unfortunately the final script was pulled out from under a hobo sleeping off a bender in a puddle of his own vomit and hosed down just in time to Justin Bieber, I mean Taylor Swift, I mean suck. Jolie had a moment or two where her talent cut through the dialogue bullshittery (most notably when cursing an infant Aurora) but don’t worry, it was quickly smothered in one of a million lingering glances delivered whilst hiding in bushes like the last guy I dated, I mean stalked, I mean you can’t prove I violated that restraining order.
Maleficent was aggressively mediocre like an acid enema to the brain, pretty on the outside and dead on the inside. It in no way improved on the original and served up a lackluster homage (at best) to 1959’s Sleeping Beauty. I could’ve sharted out a more original plot (the twists and turns were about as “complex” as Courtney Love) with a little help from Chipotle (get at me sponsors). With shallow characters who had even shallower motivations, I can only assume they were based on real-life emotionless black hole, Kristen Stewart.
From Maleficent (who was robotic for so long that when she cracked a joke near the end, it felt unnatural as she was so deep into the evolution of an asshole I just didn’t buy her remorse or redemption) to Aurora (I can only assume Elle Fanning’s direction was “Grin like an idiot and giggle… A lot… In fact, if you have the urge to actually act, squash it AND GRIN AND GIGGLE. Okay? Perfect.”) to King Stefan’s full blown psychosis (which was less menacing insanity and more maniacal lunacy) there was no time for actual character development and just like the difference between real mashed potatoes and fake, Maleficent left me with a bad taste in my mouth and the urge to gargle tequila, all the tequila, ever.
Maleficent isn’t the worst decision you could ever make… But it’s far from the best. I’m assuming the people in the theater with me who applauded the film when it ended were being ironic (the only time in my life I’ve ever hoped I was in a room full of hipsters).
Take a Drink: whenever you hear a voiceover, “Maleficent” or “Beastie”.
Take a Drink: anytime somebody gets roofied, knocked out, or pranked.
Take a Sip: for every use of Maleficent’s power. Bring an extra liver.
Take a Drink: every time Maleficent stalks Aurora or Diaval changes form.
Shotgun a Beer: if you made it through Maleficent without bitch-slapping the asshole who made you watch it. Shotgun Two: if you’re the asshole.