Saturday July 23, 2016; 10:01 am EDT
An iconic villain gets a makeover in this flighty fairytale
Betrayed by a boyfriend, fairy Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) becomes the vengeful protector of enchanted lands where she grew up. As her revenge, she will curse the human king’s newborn daughter.
Aurora will be beautiful and loved until her 16th birthday. Then she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a death-like sleep. She can be awakened only by true love’s kiss — and that, Maleficent believes, does not exist.
The king hides Aurora away as he tries to break the curse. But for babysitters he chooses three incompetent fairies. It falls to Maleficent and her henchmen to help baby Aurora live long enough to succumb to the curse. When Maleficent falls prey to Aurora’s charms, she questions her revenge.
In this fractured retelling of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, the famous villain takes the protagonist’s role. Jolie is fantastic as a vampy, wry anti-hero, so good the film can’t do without her. Long portions, including the 30-minute prologue, drag.
Maleficent is worth the ticket price (though not the 3D premium). The kids will be entertained, but the adults will count the seconds until Jolie returns.