The good news about “Maleficent,” a different take on the classic “Sleeping Beauty,” is that it’s not “Snow White and the Huntsmen” all over again (as I had feared). It’s visually stunning, funny and generally amiable.
It’s also a really odd mix of new ideas in an old story. It’s extremely dark at times and giddily silly at others — both elements work, individually, but the tone toggles between dark emotions and family-friendly so many times it almost loses any distinct feeling aside from looking fantastic.
I guess I can’t be too harsh on that note, however, because people accuse me of the same thing.*
I’ll return to saying nice things about the special effects in “Maleficent,” which are stunning, but I wasn’t left thinking about the special effects. My first thought, when the film ended, was simply: “I feel like I hate men more than I did before I saw this movie.”
Almost every male character in this movie is responsible for horrible acts of violence, betrayal and greed. Throw in the film’s hearty dose of feminist overtones and you get a movie that occasionally ventures into territory usually covered by country music or the Lifetime Movie Network.
So, for myself and all the other decent men out there, I beg of all women who watch “Maleficent” to please remember that we’re not all cold, violent, illogical buffoons. I’m not going to argue that men aren’t responsible for all the world’s problems or that most men aren’t narcissistic, emotionless bastards.
Just, please — don’t lump me in those Bozos. I promise to never [SPOILER OMITTED] or [CENSORED FOR CONTENT] and I’d never, ever, ever [SPOILER OMITTED].
Once I accepted that all of the problems in this film were specifically my fault, my brain stopped to ponder the sheer idiocy displayed constantly by every character in this movie.
Do not — I repeat, DO. NOT. — allow logical trains of thought to enter your brain while watching “Maleficent.” Attempting to apply logic to just about anything done or said by anyone in this film will only drive you mad.
Be ready to suspend your disbelief as hard as you possibly can!
“Maleficent,” aside from inspiring male guilt, is the textbook definition of “cute but stupid.” It doesn’t appear to understand why all the decisions made by its characters make absolutely no damn sense, but it’s so pretty.
Granted, I have a soft spot for adventurous creature design and intricate set and costume design. First-time director Robert Stromberg has crafted a visually intoxicating world that will probably take a couple viewings to fully absorb.
It’s so fun to look at — and it has enough solid laughs — that I can’t deny having a good time. I started having a better time once I turned off my logic warning, too, so I highly recommend leaving your Thinking Cap at home.
I also recommend being female so you can feel inspiration and normal hatred instead of disillusionment and self-hatred. If you are a female and you find yourself feeling that aforementioned normal hatred, just remember: Don’t lump me in with these Bozos.
“Maleficent” is rated PG for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images.
* That’s not at all true.
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