Movie: Maleficent

"Maleficent"

From Disney comes Maleficent-the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal-an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom-and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.” (c) Disney

Nearly a decade ago, there was a little story called Wicked. A retelling of the classic tale of the Wizard of Oz, told from the perspective of the villainous Wicked Witch. The book was a political thriller filled with conspiracies and revolutions and a love that will never be. When it went to Broadway, it received a Disney makeover complete with a happily-ever-after for the misunderstood witch.

Misunderstood. That’s was probably what Disney was aiming for when they decided to make a Maleficent film. Because in the middle part, where we see Maleficent from the time she casts the curse to the time Aurora falls prey to said curse, is spectacular.

The christening scene alone was worth the ticket price. It was that marvelous.

If only the film had been consistent with the marvel from the beginning to end, there wouldn’t be need for justification and qualifiers. The film would’ve just been good. Fascinating. Amazing.

But the origin story Disney gave Maleficent was half-assed at best, with scenes being stitched together by a narrator who seems to be just grasping at straws.

I was ready to give up on the film when we finally get to the part where Maleficent casts the curse. And the film had me hooked again. The unexpected comedy that came afterwards was also a pleasant surprise.

It was the story after the curse has been fulfilled that I really had a problem with though. Origin stories can fall flat and you wouldn’t care as much because it’s something new. You don’t like it? No harm done. But when they touch upon something that you’ve already grown to love, or grown nostalgic of? That’s when the gloves come off.

And I really thought Disney was going to stick with the story they already told in Sleeping Beauty…just told from a different perspective. Because that’s what the narrator promised. That they are telling the same story from a different point of view.

I wanted Maleficent to turn into the dragon we see in the animated film. I wanted to see Maleficent die. Not because I have any morbid fantasies, but because that’s how it happens. And you know they could’ve stuck with that ending? By having Maleficent keep with her character development–and by testing the prince she deems maybe worthy of Aurora’s heart. By sacrificing herself, so that the girl she deems her successor can live.

It’s been said that Maleficent went the Frozen route with true love not having to come from romantic love, and I would have been fine with that if they hadn’t changed the whole ending.

I mean… Really? This is how you pay your respects to a classic? By saying its ending wasn’t good enough?

Maleficent is worth the ticket price, yes. But it’s not worth a second look.

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salt

saltwho is salt? the trailer of the movie showcased it as one of those action films where the protagonist is accused of being a double agent. we’ve seen films like that before. and frankly, i was not interested in watching yet another one.

but my mother is a big angelina jolie fan–and so one friday afternoon, i found myself watching SALT.

the official synopsis say, “As a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt swore an oath to duty, honor and country. Her loyalty will be tested when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture. Salt’s efforts to prove her innocence only serve to cast doubt on her motives, as the hunt to uncover the truth behind her identity continues and the question remains: “Who is Salt?

and this is the first time i’ve encountered an official synopsis that barely gives anything away. it gives you the premise, that there is this woman who is accused of being a spy for the enemy. except, russia is not so much an enemy these days. but the threat is there–she’s a spy working as a spy for the united states. so it only seems logical that everyone would treat her warily.

the thing is, nothing is what it seems with SALT, and with agent salt.

i like action movies just as much as the next guy, but there are times when you’re tired about the same old story: protagonist is accused, protagonist goes on the run, protagonist proves innocence, the end. SALT manages to subvert the expectations on this one–but the question remains, “who is salt?” is she really a russian spy, or was the defector lying? what is so important to salt, that she would run away from an investigation–making herself look guilty?

and to answer those two questions would be to give away one of the movie’s twists. i think asking those questions might already serve as a teaser as to what’s really going on.

then again, even with the twists, there really isn’t much going on in the story. not that there was much promised. SALT is an action-oriented film about a hot woman who looks hot wielding guns and bombs. and in that aspect, SALT delivers more than what is expected. but in terms of storytelling, it’s a little confusing. but i can’t count that as a negative, simply because the confusion viewers get is integral to the twists of the story.

though, i can say this much: if there are holes in the plot of SALT, i didn’t notice it.

so is it a good movie? i still can’t say. is it worth the ticket price? maybe, if you’re into hot chicks wielding guns while looking hot. but would i recommend it? it depends if you’re looking for a movie where you think you want to think, but really don’t.