Fantasy Movies

Maleficent, The Movie

Maleficent, The Movie

Visually remarkable, Disney’s 2014 retelling of the story of the famous Mistress of Evil is a family outing into the dark world of the beings who inhabit The Moors. Spectacular creatures, beautiful people, and landscapes that take your breath away make this a movie I recommend, if only for the amazing visual stimuli—though I loved the story.
What would make a fairy godmother curse a baby? Hmm, I wonder.  Have you?

The Critics

Of course the critics are the critics and therefore criticize the movie for the most part. That’s their job, right? Thankfully, I am a writer not a critic, who is also a grandma, and who took her granddaughter to see it, and was spellbound—so many new beasties for the imagination to absorb and enjoy.
It received 51% rating from Rotten Tomatoes compared to Godzilla’s 73%. But then, not all parents would expose their children to Godzilla. So I boost it to at least a Godzilla rating just because the whole family can go watch and be entertained. And for the very young, there is a lesson to be learned. Mean, evil-looking, scary fairy godmothers can love.


Maleficent is loosely based on the character Carrabosse from Tchaikovsky’s ballet, Sleeping Beauty and has been around making guest appearances since 1890 in all types of fairy tale media from the video game, Kingdom Hearts, to the television series Once Upon a Time.

Portrait of Tchaikovsky by Edwin Evans published by J.M. Dent & Co in London and E.P. Dutton & Co in New York  in 1906.
Original Sleeping Beauty Cast, Act I, at the Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, 1890.
Maleficent in Disney’s 1959 Sleeping Beauty.
Maleficent in the TV series, Once Upon a Time.

The 2014 Cast

Angelina Jolie is mesmerizing and I love the fact that her own daughter plays a young Princess Aurora. Young actresses who auditioned for the part found Jolie, her horns, costume, and make-up unapproachable except for her own four-year old, Vivienne. 

“We think it’s fun for our kids to have cameos and join us on set, but not to be actors,” Jolie told EW’s Anthony Breznican in a new interview. “That’s not our goal for Brad and me at all. I think we would both prefer that they didn’t become actors. But [Vivienne] was 4 at the time and other 3- and 4-year-old [actors] really wouldn’t come near me. Big kids thought I was cool! But little kids really didn’t like me. So, in order to have a child that wants to play with [Maleficent] but I don’t want to play with her — to have that scene, it had to be a child that really liked me and wasn’t afraid of my horns and my eyes and my claws. So it had to be Viv.”

Ella Fanning portrays Princess Aurora.

The rest of the cast support Jolie nicely, and Elle Fanning makes an enjoyable grown-up Princess Aurora.

Riley plays the ultimate dragon.

Thirty-four-year old English actor Sam Riley portrays Diaval—Maleficent’s raven who she shape-shifts into a wolf, a horse, and the ultimate dragon—was fascinating and one of my favorites.

Young Maleficent (Isobelle Molloy) and Young Stefan (Michael Higgins) in Maleficent. Disney photo.

If I were asked, the one thing I might change is to find a different actor to play young Stefan. I mean really, the boy who steals Maleficent’s heart ought to steal the audience’s as well.

King Stephan
The pixies are: Knotgrass portrayed by Imelda Stanton, Thistlewilt portrayed by Juno Temple, and Flittle is Lesley Manville. They are crucial to the story’s development, and they nourish the fantasy- rich setting. Disney photo.

(Photo credit: Disney.)

Two Sides

Director Robert Stromberg expanded the decades-old-fairy-tale and launched the creation of Maleficent’s other side of the story in a beautifully believable fabrication and a visual masterpiece, adding to the trend that there are always two sides to be told to any story, even fairy tales.
If you were a reporter, in an alternate reality, and could interview any fairy tale or fantasy or science fiction or horror villain to get their side of the story, who would it be? For me, it would have to be the Creeper from the 2001 movie Jeepers Creepers.
“Hello, handsome.” Now that is a villain.
Clara Bush
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5 replies on “Maleficent, The Movie”

YES!!!! The Jeepers Creepers villian is one of my all time favorites. Now thats a monster that will keep you up at night.

A point that I think is often overlooked regarding Disney’s retelling of Malificent is its likeness to Gregory Maguires retelling of Elphaba in Wicked. Personally I love the idea of telling the other side of the story and would love to hear a retelling of all the storybook villians from their point of view.

Ursala, from little Mermaid, lets hear that backstory. haha.

Just got around to seeing Maleficent. And while I would agree that it is great retelling and brought with it several fun little creatures, it left me wanting. Little Stephan, like you said, was lackluster… but actually so was older Stephan.. the whole story around the king was, well, eh.

The fairies too were such a missed opportunity – a great place for comic relief met by slapstick nonsense. I wish the writers for Shrek had brought something to the table and made this movie something worth buying.. for adults and kids.

Hello Jo— You do make several convincing comments regarding the movie. And I agree the fairies were definitely a missed opportunity. And Stephan, young and old, does rate only an “eh.”


A movie with monsters and otherworldly creatures— that I could take my granddaughter to—left me thankful for being entertained and not bored.

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