Maleficent – Disneycember

The mistress of all evil is…good?

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

186 comments

  1. There are a few movies where their biggest flaw lies in the premise itself. For example, The Purge. This movie also suffers from having an extreme problem from the get-go.

    • I’m not a big fan of this movie myself, but the premise of it being told from the villain’s perspective was unique.

      The Purge had an interesting premise but terrible execution. This movie had a decent execution, but not good enough to be a Disney classic.

      • If by “unique” you mean “copied from Wicked”, I couldn’t agree more.

        • Disney seems to be really, really jealous of “Wicked”. See this, “Oz the Great and Powerful”, and I’m guessing, “Into the Woods”.

          • I would like to say for the record that Into the Woods, the original at least, came out before Wicked. But from all the commercials, I can see where you’re getting that vibe.

          • In To the Woods(the play) combines the Grim’s Fairy Tails as Grim wrote them in the first act and tells the story of what happens after “Happily ever after” in the Second. Oh and yes all the characters are flawed and none of them are truly evil. Some are just “Nice” while others are not.

        • FataMorganaPseudonym

          And it’s not like The Dracula Tape didn’t do it 20 years before Wicked did it (and I wouldn’t doubt for a minute that even that wasn’t the first to do the whole “story told from the villain’s point of view” thing, either).

          • higuyswatchadoooin?

            I’d have to call paradise lost the classic example. It isn’t like it’s not a good idea, but they rewrote it as though she was never a villain. Not only that they destroyed their heroes. Maleficent the hero is a bad premise.

        • It can be a totally legitimate approach and it’s one that’s really not done very often, and even when it has been done, has been done well very rarely.
          But this was the absolute worst choice to do it for, because Maleficent was built in a way that she doesn’t *need* a back story. She’s one of the few Disney Villains where adding a back story doesn’t add anything and, as this movie proves, actually takes away from it. If they’d picked someone like maybe Ursula, or Jafar, or maybe even Gaston (long-shot, but I think you could do that right), it would have worked, but Maleficent is just absolutely the wrong choice for this kind of story.

          • If you want to see an awesome Jafar backstory, checkout Twisted- The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier. It’s on Youtube, and it’s awesome.

          • For the most part, I agree, but in the back of my head I kind-of feel like they could give Maleficent a good backstory and do some cool stuff with her. Maybe one of the grand fairies is trying to stop her or maybe the king is trying to send people to kill her in the background? In a world full of magic, there’s a lot of possibilities to come up with new characters and stories that can play into Maleficent’s evil nature and they could have had a lot of fun with that.

            But, no matter what, I think everyone can agree that trying to make Maleficent the hero and making the fairies and king incompetent and evil was just a plain stupid idea. Why would you try to make Maleficent sympathetic when she’s already so enjoyable to watch as a villain?

            I guess the best way to put it is that I don’t hate the premise as much as I hate the execution and wasted potential because you could make something really creative and awesome out of this idea, but they just kind-of go against what’s great about what they had on their hands in the first place.

      • It’d be interesting if we received a movie from the villain’s perspective. Sadly, we got a movie from the perspective of an anti-hero.

      • There’s nothing unique about a story told from the villain’s point of view. It’s been done before. Hell, it’s done in one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE DISNEY MOVIES: Hocus Pocus

  2. Still getting used to the new website…. >~<

  3. I was really excited about this movie when it was announced. Then it came out. Then I looked at the critical reception. Now I avoid it like the plague.

  4. The movie should’ve been just about the rise and fall of Maleficent. You know, keep the backstory but make her just like the original version and even include the end where she dies. In short, the movie should’ve just made her a tragic villain.

  5. I think this movie had some good ideas. I honestly enjoyed it more than the last Disney fairy tale imaginings.

    I’m not saying it’s an amazing movie but I don’t think it’s god awful either.

    Like it did not ruin the original. They are completely different movies. Though yeah the three fairies were pretty bad.

    I kinda liked the twist. I mean just because Frozen did it does not mean other movies can’t do something similar. Frozen ain’t that special.

    I would rate this film….OK.

    • We should just say no more to men kissing woman to save them from a curse in general.

    • I think the idea is to make it different from that other thing.

      My best example would be star wars and wanted (I think it was…), where the twist was in both movies that he was the protagonists father, but there are enough differences to make them separate movies and not just rehashes.

      That’s just how I see it though.

      • Wanted’s one thing, but if any science-fiction movie ever tries to use the “villain is the hero’s father” plot point, it’s immediately going to be linked to Star Wars because Star Wars came out first and, in most cases, people will say it did the reveal better no matter what just because it’s so well known.

    • I disagree…even if you ignore the original movie, Maleficent is an awful movie. It relies overly much on the narration, the story makes no lick of sense, the characters are bland, the CGI has a constant uncanny valley effect – literally the only thing it has going for it is the soundtrack.

  6. With Maleficent and also Theodora in Oz: The Great and Powerful, it seems that Disney kinda likes having the heartbroken girl turn evil… dafuq?

    I would really like to see a Nostalgia Critic review of this. That would be awesome!

  7. TheSuicidalTeddybear

    I personally don’t see Once upon a time as brilliant as everyone else (except for Carlyles role of Rumplestiltskin which is fucking fantastic) but I would certainly like to hear Doug’s opinion on the show. Anyone agree?

    • I would like to hear his opinion as well. This movie needed the Once Upon A Time treatment.

      • I third the notion that Doug do an op / ed (or Critic) episode on OuAT.

        The first two seasons were excellent, but by the third it started to drag and as they humanized the “villians”, which was cool at first, they became trope. Rumpel would morn the repeated loss of Bae, for example, got really old.

        The Pan season had a lot more potential than what was done, and dragged quite a bit. I’d love to see them do more with OuaT Wonderland, or at least do more to bridge the shows than adding Will Scarlet in a VERY limited role to the normal series.

        It was just starting to pick up and then…lo and behold, have to shoehorn Frozen into it. The original movie was so lame in terms of character depth, the writers of OuaT even take pot shots at the original story (go watch some of the earlier episodes this season, you’ll see them) and had to introduce a REAL Ice Queen because, well…Elsa is just friggin useless. Useless in the movie…a whiny brat who runs away and hides, and useless in OuaT, always whining about finding her sister while all the other characters do the heavy lifting.

        I will say how they handle the second half of this season will impact me a lot. They left it with a decent plot hanger, so…we’ll see how this goes, but, myself, I really can’t wait until Frozen…thaws out.

      • This movie ripped off OUAT. They tried to Regina Millsize Maleficent, but at least the writers of the show knew what they were doing.

        The overpaid loser (really, I could write a better script than this, which says a lot about the movie), however, did not.

    • I like Once upon a time, but yeah, IMO it’s not brilliant. For me the most distracting thing probably is that they don’t put enough weight on the character’s deaths… I mean, they tried to with Bae, but I at least didn’t feel the loss. Also, it repeats the same plot all over again even though it has much more potential than that.

      Aaand… the villains turning good ain’t that great. Aaand… I friggin’ hate the actor of the main kid. He’s so bad I can’t even… Ugh.

      I still watch it and like it, though.

  8. And the thing is… this could had worked. You put a wrapper story around it.

    Let’s say the king (WHO WAS STILL ALIVE AT THE END OF THE ORIGINAL MOVIE!) sends some people out to investigate Maleficient’s castle and make sure it’s clear after the original movie’s events. They find a badly injured Maleficient there who is still alive. They’re not able to deal with her, but she’s not strong enough to fend them off either. Confused over the fact that she is still alive, she suggests that the men were not told the truth of the events that transpired.

    And then you have MALEFICIENT tell the story and we go into the movie-proper as a flashback. At this point the audience knows we’re dealing with an unreliable narrator and any moments where Maleficient comes off “too good” we can pass that off as her lying. And in the end the same people are alive, and Maleficient is stabbed in dragon form, etc, etc, etc. She gives her reasons for her actions which will “somewhat” justify her actions, or at least reveal what she believes are the excuse for her over-reactions.

    Then, after Maleficient is done with her story, you have one of the scouts point out a flaw or two…. something that just doesn’t make sense with the reality they know; and in turn you have Maleficient point out a flaw or two of the original tale.

    The scouts go back (read: escape before she’s strong enough to trap them), and they try to get clarification from either the Prince or Aurora, but have the response be a bit vague so it can be interpreted that either the prince or Aurora mistook something and made a mistake, or that in fact they are lying on some details in order to hide the details Maleficient was trying to show with her version of the story. This way you end up such that both stories are not 100% accurate, but the truth is spread over the two versions. Maleficient is still clearly evil, but she now has a potential legitimate point of grievance against the good guys who might had done something wrong to bring the wrath of Hell down upon them.

    Unfortunately, the movie Maleficient has Aurora claim the Pro-Maleficient story is completely true, discounting the original outright. And this still doesn’t make sense, because if the original story were true (or false) and was meant to smear things one way or the other… people could figure it out by knowing simply whether the king is currently alive or dead. There is NO continuity or reality where both of these stories would exist as propaganda spins of the same non-fictional events. It simply does not make a damn bit of sense.

    *sigh*

    Massively missed opportunity.

    • That would have fixed so much…. If only we had a time machine………….

    • This sounds interesting, if done right. I enjoy plots where you have unreliable narrators and it’s a bit of a puzzle to discover the truth.

      Yes, Maleficent didn’t need a backstory – she was so cool in the original Sleeping Beauty film as is, and I’m okay with petty revenge and upholding evil cred as legitimate motivation to lay down a curse that takes sixteen years to play out.

      That being said there were some interesting aspects to Maleficent. I thought the loss of her wings was a powerful scene. A few people have talked about how it may be a metaphor for rape.
      I also thought the scene where she tries to take back the curse was well done. There’s something to be said about a movie aimed at younger kids showing that remorse doesn’t negate the harm you’ve already done.

      I just get tired of this “villains who are just misunderstood” cliché. It’s not novel or edgy anymore, and when it’s done poorly they don’t even do anything reprehensible. Where’s the fun in having a ‘villain’ protagonist who doesn’t do anything villainous? We’ve already established that it’s more important that a protagonist be compelling than they be likable.

  9. What makes this worse is that the woman who wrote the screenplay is Linda Woolverton, who also wrote the screenplay for “Beauty and the Beast”. She also did Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”, but that has its own issues.

    • Talk about one of the most feminist and interesting heroines of her era being followed up by a bland Alice and a generically-good Maleficent. For Evil’s sake, she literally has the word Mal- in the name! You want to make Evil McEvilgee a good guy?! What’s the fun in that?!

  10. Am I the only one who for some reason thought watching this movie that Angelina Jolie would make an excellent Catwoman in a Batman film?

    Also, the one thing that really pissed me off in this movie is just a little detail. The third fairy still gets interrupted before giving her blessing to the princess. Then Maleficent shows up and curses the princess to die in her birthday. But, instead of the third fairy using her blessing to change the curse into the princess sleeping instead of dying, Maleficent does! Then why did you have the third fairy interrupted before giving her blessing in the first place, movie?

  11. Yeah, this movie sucks… A whole bunch. I reviewed it myself when it came out, and my views haven’t really gotten any more positive since then.

    http://zygonreviews.com/2014/06/04/maleficent-review/

  12. Hey Doug, just curious, are you planning to do Recess: School’s Out? Was that even theatrical? I loved the movie and show and I’d like to see your take on it.

    Also, you want a good re-doing of Maleficent? Watch (or rather listen) to Susan Blakslee’s performance in the Kingdom Hearts franchise.

  13. I hated it. So, thank you for this. xD

  14. Also, everyone is like “A movie from the villain’s point of view. Oh that’s so unique!” Really, it’s not!

    Does anyone remember Hocus Pocus? Yeah, the Sanderson Sisters were the main characters of the movie and, for the most part, the film is told from their point of view. The success there, however, is that the film actually KEPT them the villains.

    And, despite it’s problems (bland heroic characters, sloppy writing, and… virgin bashing), that film actually manages to entertain you.

  15. Also, that reference to Once Upon a Time, that got me curious Doug. Are you a fan? I LOVE that show!

  16. Oh, YES! Ok, so, I saw this in the theaters. Afterwards, I didn’t know WHAT to think about this movie. This is NOT how you do the other side of the villain story! You give it the Once Upon a Time treatment where the villain tries to be good but it doesn’t seem to work for them so they either go neutral or back to bad! I wanted them to make her neutral. I actually think this movie is just ok. If Angelina Jolie wasn’t so fab in this movie, I would hate this movie.

  17. Angelina Jolie has a knack for seemingly being cool and perfect for a flick, and then the movie is stupid beyond entertainment.

    I remember watching behind the scenes stuff for the first Tomb Raider and seeing her train with real weapons and doing a lot of her own stunts. She was the oddball chick in the tabloids at the time and with Billy Bob Thorton, so with her look, her willingness to learn the action, and the fact her Father was in the movie made me excited for it…Boy did I learn a lesson after watching that tape.

    Then the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith came out with the dumbest premise I’d seen from Hollywood around that time.

    Then Wanted. Then Salt. I’m a fan of Clint Eastwood, and I still haven’t watched the Changeling. Much of that reason was because of her.

    So Maleficent is announced and, like Tomb Raider, she seems like a perfect fit. But, like Tomb Raider, everything around it seems positively stupid. Her lover cuts off her wings because he can’t bring himself to kill her? Fairy tales are dumb, but we’re in this age of “smarter” fantasy where we need at least some strings of logic. Now perhaps if I saw the full movie, I’d know, but…That means I have to watch the full movie. I have a copy of the Sting or Burn After Reading I could watch again instead…

    Hell, I should just play the Tomb Raider reboot again. That game made up for BOTH of the awful films.

  18. (One of) the best disney villains?! Oh puhleeze! How was this simplistic run-of-the-mill villain ever an interesting character?
    Otherwise I agree. It’s all part of this trend of re-imagining fairy-tales and completely overburdening the source material (which worked very seldom – Jack the Giant Killer was kind of neat).

    • “Simplistic run of the mill villain?” ALL DISNEY VILLAINS ARE SIMPLISTIC RUN OF THE MILL VILLAINS, AND THEY’RE STILL THE BEST PARTS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE MOVIES:
      *The queen was jealous of Snow White
      *Lady Tremaine only wanted Cinderella’s father’s money, not his daughter.
      *Maleficent didn’t get invited to a party
      *Jafar wanted the genie’s lamp (and to be Sultan)
      *Scar wanted to be king
      *Hades wanted revenge… and to rule Mt. Olympus
      *Shan-Yu wanted to conquer Chian
      *Gaston wanted to marry Belle
      *Clayton wanted to hunt/poach the gorillas
      *Gothel wanted to stay young forever
      *Dr. Facilier AKA the Shadow Man… I actually need to rewatch that one, I don’t know what he wanted.
      *Hans wanted the throne of Arendele.

      They’re all simplistic, mostly one-dimensional characters, but they’re still amazing because of their designs and portrayals.

      • Actually:

        – Shere Khan has legitimate grievances: he is getting revenge at humanity.

        – Denahi from Brother Bear was a beautifully sympathetic antagonist

        – Ditto for Yokai in Big Hero 6

        – Silver from Treasure Planet was a legitimate father figure who loved Jim.

    • Maleficent is the archetype most of the villains which came after her are built after. With Jafar they even went so far to copy her movements (never mind that the scene when he turns into a giant snake is totally copied of her turning into a dragon). She is the mistress of all evil.

  19. UUggghhh thank you for this. This movie was FUCKING HORRIBLE. Original movie is fantastic, it looks way better, it’s more intriguing, it’s more charming and it’s WAY way more memorable. I am over these live action fairy tale disney movies – fucking stop ruining your own brilliance disney.

  20. Yeah, this one felt like some angry fan fiction than anything else.

  21. he said something about “Once upon a time” did he mean the show or some other from of media.

  22. To each their own, but I strongly disagree with you on this one. Honestly loved it. The design, the soundstrack, and Jolie as the lead really made it for me, but I thought the story was well drafted as well.

  23. That last scene in the film…I felt like saying:

    “The Archangel Maleficent…not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.”

    So, is this movie more of a Draco In Leather Pants with Maleficent or a Ron The Death Eater with…pretty much everyone else but Aurora (who’s still a MacGuffin)? The world may never know.

    You hit close to the main problem, I think: no motivation. There’s no reason for any of the characters in this movie to act the way they do other than “the script calls for it”, which is why I think so many of the actors can’t “sell it”…because they don’t know why they’re doing it either. I actually picked up the novelization recently and checked it out because I know people who write those try to inject motivation and interior monologue to explain things that were plot devices in the script/film. Here’s the funny part…almost all of the film’s “action” is alluded to by unrelated characters in that rather than acted out by the characters themselves. To me, they says even the guy hired to write a novel for the script couldn’t figure out why they were doing things in certain ways and they had to just put actions out there and say: “Here. Imagine whatever motivation or impetus you want. I give up.”

    That said… I don’t hate this movie. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t know WHY I don’t hate this movie. There’s plenty of reasons to hate it, after all. Maybe it’s like “Armageddon”. That movie is standard Michael Bay fare and by his playbook…and yet there’s something about it that seems to somehow make it “suck less” than other films he’s done.

    And while it may not have “worked” at all, I have to reiterate the filmmakers made the one “good move” of trying to focus the story on Maleficent’s perspective to begin with…because frankly she was the most entertaining character in the original. I mean…what exactly does Aurora do? (Hey, there’s a real filmmaking challenge…try to remake “Sleeping Beauty” with Aurora as an intriguing character… In this one she literally IS a “fairy princess” by the end.)

  24. I was actually looking forward to see this, I mean a movie starring one of the greatest and most powerful Disney villains ever, holy shit this movie could be like the avengers or Pirates of the Caribbean, you know a movie that is good on it’s own but is mostly a waste of time and not something like lord of the rings or 2001.

    Now I’m like, “it should have been avengers or pirates.”

  25. The premise has a lot of problems. I think the biggest is the bait and switch aspect of it. The hype is all about learning something new about characters we know so well. The way 4 + 4 = 8 but also 1 + 2 + 5 = 8. A different way all the facts fit together. Instead we just get a revision in which the villain is the good guy and the entire story world is bends to accommodate this fact. And the worst part is they don’t have the balls to make them truly villainous. In the Age of Dexter, the Sopranos, the Shield, full of villainous main characters, the creators don’t have the stomach to make their Draco in Leather Pants evil, just some wronged victim with a chip on their shoulder.

    Once Upon a Time got it right in the first season at least in that Regina was unrepentant for her evil. She did what she did because that is what she wanted to do. And if it came to a bad end she made the bed and she had to lie in it. At least at first.

  26. I Love/Hate this movie…. I like it for some reasons but it’s not the same… I have to pretend this is an alternate universe.

  27. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. I honestly was so furious with the film with what they did to my favorite characters (the fairies). I do think that Angelina Jolie did wonderful as Maleficent though, shit script and all.

  28. Yes! All of this! When I saw it I was thoroughly underwhelmed, and I felt like the odd man out because everyone else who saw it really liked it. I just didn’t find any of the characters particularly interesting, especially the princess. Man was she bland!

    Though I will say that the part with Angelina Jolie were quite enjoyable. She was the perfect person for the role. Now if they had written the character a bit better…

  29. My girlfriend and I rented this movie out of sheer curiosity out of how utterly bad it was and how the movies apparent message was that if you have a penis, you are a paranoid psychopathic date rapist who deserves to die. And my God… whilst watching it that was EXACTLY the message we got.

    With maybe the exception of Prince Charming (who was just flat out useless here) nearly every male character is portrayed in a negative light and all the bad things that occur in this world are down to them and their power mad ambitions. All the female characters however are meant to be all portrayed as either all perfect, delightfully charming or just “misunderstood”. And even thought that was what they seemed to go with it was a spectacular failure with characters like the fairies. No gender gets out of this movie with any dignity.

    Add to that a long, long list of problems which both NC and Honest Trailers cover quite thoroughly this movie is a complete piece of garbage and all copies should be burned to ash!

    Now we have the live action interpenetration of Cinderella to look forward to.

    … Oh joy.

      • In all fairness, after the reception to “Maleficent”, maybe the fact they didn’t bother doing anything “different” with “Cinderella” is supposed to be the selling point. At least plotwise it seems “intact”.

        That said…I just kind of issued one big groan during the trailer for “Cinderella”. “Why would Cinderella be doing her chores in obviously not-a-working-dress? Why are you trying to make Lady Tremaine look more ‘over-the-top’ and ‘witchy’ rather than sadistic and subtle? Why did you replace the kindly, somewhat-rotund Fairy Godmother with what looks like a black-haired version of the Ghost of Christmas Present from ‘Scrooged’? Why does the art design looked like it was done by whoever did ‘Nanny McPhee’ and everything is far too ‘loud’ to be practical? Why are you devoting so much time to the relationship with her mother and not ‘matching the fairy tale’ (where the ghost of her mother rather than the fairy godmother gave her the stuff…for goodness sakes, you could at least make the fairy godmother played by the same person to give that ‘vibe’)? Why would you bother making a live action version of a movie where 80% of not only the appeal but what happened on camera was talking mice, an evil cat, and an over-the-top king and duke bantering?”

        And the scariest question of all…

        “Good lord…what in the world are you going to do to live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Disney?!”

    • See, an I was totally pissed off because of what they did to the three fairies, some of the best female characters (in my eyes female leads) Disney ever created. The movie is downright offensive.

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