Maleficent **

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“Maleficent” is the latest live action adaptation by Disney of one of their own classic animated films. This time it is based on “Sleeping Beauty”. Previously they developed “Alice In Wonderland” with Johnny Depp which was kind of a failure. This film is not much better. Director Robert Stromberg is not working with the latest screenplay and tries to mask that problem with scene after scene of ugly CGI and action. The overall production looks like a shabby cartoon in my opinion.

The story of “Sleeping Beauty” I will not rehash here. The story this time is told from the point of view of the antagonist Maleficent, played by Angelina Jolie. I can imagine this role as more vicious and seductive if the film was in the hands of different writers. Maybe that is too harsh. Perhaps Disney wanted to play things safe and deliver a forgettable family entertainment. Who knows.

Elle Fanning and Shartlo Copley also star as the princess and her father the king. Both of whom come under the spells of Maleficent. This is a fine cast and they do what they can with the roles they are given. Copley in specific is more suited to darker characters but here is asked to dumb it down a bit to make this more family friendly.

“Maleficent” cost something like 180 million dollars to produce. I can tell you that most of that was spent in the visual effects. Not a scene goes by where CGI isn’t evident. This is the state of films today. You can tell that the actors were standing in front of green screens due to their lack of enthusiasm in front of the camera. We have reached the point where cinema needs a revolution. Someone needs to get back to creating real sets as opposed to watching big screen video games.

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