“Maleficent” would have been a great Disney movie had it not been an attempt to add unnecessary backstory to one of the greatest animated villains of all time. Instead, the all-evil sorcerers was reduced to a victimized fairy, somehow becoming warm and friendly instead of cold and frightening.
The movie is visually stunning with a fantastic performance by Angelina Jolie in the title role, both of which translate quite well to Blu-ray. It’s a showcase type of release, offering outstanding visual effects and an exciting soundtrack. But the fun stops there.
While it’s thoroughly interesting to see all the special effects work that went into creating the film, it’s hard to look past the Blu-ray’s many bonus feature interviews with writer Linda Woolverton who frustratingly contradicts herself around every turn.
Across multiple extras, she claims that she wanted to stay faithful to the original story while adding new elements to enhance it. And yet, she takes pride in the many unnecessary changes that were made to the movie for the sake of making it new. Woolverton praises the original animated Maleficent as a delightfully evil character, then turns around and describes how she is now only acting evil because she was wronged and is actually a nice fairy.
In the bat of an eye, the bonus features gloss over the fact that Maleficent’s most iconic animated moment – turning into a vicious dragon – is ruined in the new film by assigning that role to her henchman instead. And so go the attempts to make sense of this live action movie.
Had “Maleficent” simply been a story about some good fairy that turned evil after a great king stole her wings, it would have been a thrilling and enjoyable film. But attaching the iconic name of Maleficent to the character and then robbing her of most of her iconic traits flattens her to the point of being forgettable. Likewise, the Blu-ray behaves the same way, with most of the extras flat and forgettable.
Fans of the original film should absolutely pick up the new “Sleeping Beauty” Diamond Edition release instead and forget this mess was ever made.
“Maleficent” is now available on Blu-ray from Amazon and other retailers.