Disney’s gratifyingly wondrous reworking of its animated Sleeping Beauty makes a strong case that Maleficent, the wicked witch of that tale (here played by Angelina Jolie), is really a wronged fairy princess on the losing side of a war between the natural, organic world she belongs to, and the mechanical kingdom of her deceitful boyfriend, Stefan (Sharlto Copley) – with Aurora the sleeping beauty (Elle Fanning) in the balance. Among the CGI splendors is the architecture of Jolie’s face itself, an amazing construction of planes and angles. Both Jolie and Fanning’s perfs are up to high Disney standards, with help from Sam Riley and the fairy trio of Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Despite a fire-breathing dragon, by the last reel we can plainly see that this is another of Disney’s female-empowerment yarns, and a worthy one at that. Directed by Robert Stromberg from a screenplay by Linda Woolverton, derived from numerous sources (97 min.).
Director: Robert Stromberg
Producer: Joe Roth, Angelina Jolie, Don Hahn, Palak Patel, Matt Smith and Sarah Bradshaw
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites, Kenneth Cranham, Sarah Flind, Hannah New, Isobelle Molloy, Michael Higgins, Ella Purnell, Jackson Bews, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, Eleanor Worthington-Cox and Janet McTeer