Unlike the tales from the land of Oz (prequel) or Winderland (sequel), this prequel attempt is packed with so much degree of twists and variants from the original material, and it almost looks like a re-imagining. The cross reference from the fairy tale looks more dutiful rather than to influence the plot. So, coated in within those eye-catching CGI magical kingdoms, the movie becomes sort of unrecognizable. But even when it did deviate a lot from the original fairy tale classics so much, Maleficient is still surprisingly better than first expected. Yes, the critics may have roasted it badly, but it also appears to me that Maleficent sticks right in the middle of the opinions.
The good thing about it is having Angelina Jolie as the star of the show. Her great embodiment of the classic villain is highly admirable and powerful while she nails the character with some of the most brilliant female sinister laughs. Yes, it definitely passes the Belcdel Test but it does not make it a better or compelling tale either. For a movie that has all the potential to rewrite the plot on revisionist and feminist to cling to, the movie falls short in delivering it. In fact, the script by -- is so uneven, rushed and too rough.
Maleficent's backstory is handled with uncertainty and insufficient to truly worths the sympathy - that takes less than one-third into the movie. Yet, the next one-third is the biggest variants of the original tale of all. The love-hate relationship between Maleficent and Aurora is quite awkward and annoying, yet it is the greatest thing in the movie. But that is handled with lots of rush through and non-fancy editing. The third act is a shame, and the niche showdown battle is not epic. Speaking of that, the character role.from Sharlto Copley is developed poorly and his transformation into villainhood feels like a mandatory and forced.
In this lengthy review, I think that Maleficent did go for the right concept of retelling the Sleeping Beauty from another angle, but the poorly incepted screenplay is the biggest flaw for the film's unprecedented mediocre status.