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If there is a case for a new take on Sleeping Beauty, I will just as well Angelina Jolie be the evil stepmother, or the good stepmother, or both. That’s actually the interesting bit about the script: the characters are hardly ever one-dimensional, both the lovely cute boy who meets the lovely little fairy at the border of their kingdoms and brings the promise of friendship and understanding between the segregated tribes (humans vs. … well, non-humans) turn out to be not half as cute as you would expect in a Disney fairy tale.

On the other side: The old fairy who is full of revenge and hate turns out to have some softer sides to herself. The beautiful Prince who shows up without invitation turns out to be not as important as the typical fairy tale would suggest. Yet it still all is about true love, as it needs to be in that kind of story. The animation is lovely, too, with gorgeous floating dragonfly-thingies and funny mud-throwing troll creatures, and vicious yet friendly tree-people with whom you do not want to pick a fight.

I was positively surprised that a Disney production such as this can be as pleasant for an adult audience. No tacky songs, no jolly animated sidekicks, a bit more dark and brooding, and a bit more substantial. And with Angelina Jolie’s cheek bones amped up to 11, what can go wrong?!

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/maleficent_2014/

 

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