Maleficent – Nostalgia Critic

Disney Live Action Remake Month starts with one of their earliest hits. Just because it made a lot of money though doesn’t mean it’s so magical.

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About Doug Walker

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

78 comments

  1. It’s actually the only live action I really enjoyed. Found it really touching & I loved her portrayal of Magnificent

  2. silverbrumbyfan

    Here’s the thing about Maleficent. She’s evil because she’s evil, she doesn’t need to have a tragic backstory to be interesting because in Sleeping Beauty she’s the most interesting character. Yes, she cursed Aurora because she wasn’t invited to the party but honestly I don’t think she really cares about that because she loses and gains nothing if Aurora’s curse is broken. It’s more about showing off her power and making the good guys feel powerless hence.

    No this film did not work, it was cliched and completely predictable. I knew the moment she started interacting with Aurora they’d do the Frozen twist again.

    • silverbrumbyfan

      ignore the hence at the end of the first paragraph, I typed something else but deleted it and didn’t delete all of it

    • Disney clearly wanted they “Wicked” knockoff, but they failed to understand why “Wicked” work. In that famous musical they didn’t make her good out of nowhere but deepen the reason behind her actions. I disagree that problem of this movie is that, because it totally did work in the “Cinderella” where Evil Stepmother is revealed to be really awesome villain despite the fact that in standard version her reasons are totally lame. I would not spoil that here though as it is really good movie.

      What failed in case of Meleficient is not that they give her reasons but that they reverse the story completely. So instead black and white story we get white and black story, but the digital story non the less. Worst part is that it could be easily great.. if Maleficent would be villain for one but hero for her own. Imagine story where humans and fairies exist next to each other but they can’t get along as both races exist based on complete different principalities. For example fairy could keep human imprisoned until he starve not being aware that they need eat, or human pick fruit from the tree not being aware that it is surcease of life of a fairy. That way Maleficent could be way more deeper without destroying her style as she simply would despise humans and accept only they absolute annihilation, and make a point about need of understanding and that extremes are rarely proper answer.

      But no. They make her totally good but needlessly edgy character. They make Aurara father total duchebag. What also was horrible they make Three Fairies totally dumb, and Aurora herself was total tool what did against the idea of modern Disney princess. When in my scenario they could have strong role of arbiter as fairies and humans working together for compromise. But no! We get lame as reversal of the plot! Such wasted opportunity! Worst part is that otherwise Angelina was great in that role.

      PS: What you have against Frozen? It barely counted as twist because in original story The Snow Queen barely have a role, not to mention that she wasn’t really a villain. Also story was about one friend releasing other from the curse of the frozen heart. So generally it is a complete new story based on similar ideas. And the “twist” (and by that I mean that “irrelevant prince” was evil, not that queen wasn’t) is in fact a good lesson for young females. On the other hand Maleficent end flat in all possible ways. Even the idea that kiss of love wasn’t from fiance was already executed way better in “Snow White and the Huntsman” what I personally consider as seriously underrated.

    • “Yes, she cursed Aurora because she wasn’t invited to the party but honestly I don’t think she really cares about that because she loses and gains nothing if Aurora’s curse is broken.”

      Actually, that’s not quite as petty as you might think. To steal from a tumblr post: “In medieval culture, an event like a royal christening is not a private party; it’s the public social event of the year. To not invite any person of rank to such an event is a deadly insult. Maleficent is certainly someone you wouldn’t want at a party, but she’s also someone powerful enough that only a fool would ever dare treat her with such blatant disrespect. The only way the King and Queen could possibly have gotten away with not inviting Maleficent was to not invite any of the fairies at all; inviting the other fairies and excluding her is explicitly taking sides in the conflict between the fairy factions.

      Which means they made themselves her sworn enemies, and she responded by treating them as such from then on. If you actually get into analyzing the social dynamics of the scene, it’s very clear that Maleficent was willing to show mercy at first by giving the King and Queen a chance to apologize for their disrespect to her. She doesn’t curse Aurora until after she gives them that chance and they throw it back in her face with further disrespect. And yeah, if the King and Queen had done the properly respectful thing and invited her, Maleficent would have given Aurora a scary awesome present. Moreover so would the other fairies, because at that point both sides would be using it as an opportunity to show off and one-up each other. What they gave her before Maleficent showed up was basically just trivial party favors by fairy standards.”

      • For some reason, that reminded me of Hercules(Disney). Was Hades even invited to the party for Hercules’s birth?

      • Jalen Washington

        The Necro Critic is in…-sync with deeper character motivation.

        • Yes, but that is explanation for the original fairy-tale (in the movie they are already hostile) and even in it she wasn’t exactly a victim because one of plot-points what many people miss are monster attacks, which later are revealed to be related to her. So generally whole thing was more a excuse.

  3. Minion of Yahtzee

    Can I just go play Kingdom Hearts again? At least there Maleficent literal hell spawn as her minions and was among for universal conquest.

  4. In the words of Toby from The West Wing… Did you fall and hit your head? Did you? Did you fall and hit your head?

    Or possibly have a mini stroke? (that part’s mine)

    I’m guessing you must have because you completely missed the intention of the whole film. This wasn’t to rip off Wicked and paint Maleficent as complicated and not so black-and-white. The intent here was to completely change the character and the story, as if the classic fairy tale of “Sleeping Beauty”, enjoyable as it unarguably is, was just the whitewashing of history by the victors of that story. It makes the humans, save for poor innocent Aurora who is caught in the middle, the bad guys and Maleficent the heroine. It’s a completely changed retelling,not the original with shades of gray added. This version of Maleficent isn’t evil,she’s PISSED and with terrific reason to be, and part of the story is about how in the long run she has overcome her consuming need for revenge by taking out her anger and hate and pain on an innocent child.

    And even if that does not work for you Doug, if you simply just liked the original animated version of the tale on it’s own and didn’t want or need to see this alternate concept of it…. the movie has for years now been lauded for its depiction of women’s outrage at being victimized by men. The cutting off of her wings has been held up as a pretty clear metaphor for rape. Bashing the movie without even acknowledging this important factor?

    Not cool, man. There have been times when I disagreed with your take on certain films but I respected your opinion. But this just felt blind and petty. Not cool. Please think about this.

    • Correction: Part of the story is how in the long run she has TO overcome. Sorry,was typing so fast I left the word out. I meant it as something she needs to do, not something she has already done (because saying she has already overcome her need for revenge by taking out her need for revenge on Aurora makes no sense).

      • You are such a hipster 0_0

        It was Wicked “ripoff” because it isn’t even only, as they made the same with Evil Stepmother and Gastone giving them deeper motivations. What you pathetically attempt to explain is obvious but also the reason why people hate this movie as it simply doesn’t work, in opposition to Wicked what does.

    • All well said. And I was a little disturbed by the suggestion you’d have to be a heavy sleeper to not wake up from being assaulted in your sleep! Which is…all I’m going to say about that!

      Also don’t worry about those little typos. It was still pretty easy to figure out. I make those kinds of mistakes while typing fast all the time.

    • Dude its a medicore movie, calm down.

      • Doesn’t matter if you think the movie was mediocre or not. And I was calm, a lot calmer than Doug. Maybe you telling me to calm down is your passive-aggressive way to telling me you don’t wanna hear my opinion. Tough cookies.

        • DickVonPounDatSnatch

          You know a secondary take would be fine if it were interesting, consistent, or made any sense to begin with. You know why even as a retelling it doesn’t work? It doesn’t make any sense. Aurora’s dad could’ve simply told Maleficent “Hey, you know that giant war and attack the humans just launched? We can stop that if we fake your death, I can be King and we can end this war and protect our own kingdoms.” Nope. We’re gonna do this the durr-durr way and cut off your wings in your sleep. Yes, the original intention is to spare Maleficent, but this point is never touched back on and you miss out on a huge chance for developing characters with a complex relationship. If you want to say it’s a metaphor for rape, well, I hate to break it to you – it’s not because that isn’t how metaphors work.

          Even if it’s what the writer might’ve intentioned, the end result is different due to how the message is conveyed. In order to have a metaphor work, it needs to stand in the context of the content being displayed. I.E. if I wanted a metaphor for abortion, whatever I choose to stand in for abortion as a representation has to make sense in the context of the story i’m telling. In this case, if taking her wings was a metaphor for raping her, that’d be fine if the reason he took her wings was because he loved her and his feelings were not reciprocated so he takes from her, wings/virginity. But you can’t substitute rape in for taking her wings because it doesn’t make any sense in the content of the story for Aurora’s dad to rape her. He cuts off his wings to spare her life. Raping her to spare her life doesn’t make any sense, there’s no point in him raping her other than I guess for the fun of it? Even if it was the writer’s intention, it’s not conveyed in a clear fashion. And in movies displaying things clearly is everything, otherwise your message and your movie fail.

          • Exactly! Some people have a common sense at last!

            According to my whole story would work much better if they would give the legitimate reason for both sides to hate each other and put both Maleficent and King in role of heroes of respective sides who in this same time are villains for the others. This way they could make legit deconstruction of heroic archetype, and make conscustary tell about evil of war and that extremism is never the answer. But nop. Heavy handed reversal of the story and waste of great villains.

        • God you’re a huge bitch

        • God you’re a huge bitch

    • I agree with this wholeheartedly.

  5. I’m gonna write this before I watch the review, and assume this is another one of Critic’s reviews where it looks like he doesn’t like it from the thumbnail and short description, but at the end of the video he admits the film has good points to it and is alright. Also my first post here.

    Me and my mom love the movie Maleficent. I guess if your problems is that it somehow doesn’t fit in with the original Maleficent character, well, this is just another take on it. Well I guess it is an official Disney movie called Maleficent, but I think the movie was pretty good. Maybe if you just think of this as a new view on Maleficent by other people, you’d like it better. I liked the plot and pretty much everything about this movie.

    • DickVonPounDatSnatch

      I don’t think the problem and what makes it bad is how they handle Maleficent. Sure it’s not a good take, but it could still be could if everything around it didn’t suck. Like the fairies, the King, the story, the choices the characters make, the character interactions, the dialogue. Kind of an uphill battle if you’re trying to like it as a retelling.

  6. Disney remake month eh? To be fair lot of those Disney animated movies were retellings of classic fairy tales so those remakes are like retelling of retelling.

    Over all Maleficent has gotten too much hate for what it is. Yes, it has flaws but fans of Disney animated version (and certain kind of people in internet) tend to take it as insult when it’s not. It’s just a movie so those people need to get over it. Plus it’s enjoyable for what it is. Disney’s attempt to make they own Wicked.

    • I feel the same way about pretty much all these movies. Although I haven’t seen Maleficent or Alice in Wonderland.
      These stories (and countless others) have been retooled many times in many ways and all of them long before Disney. I’ve even heard some people complain the Disney animated movies changed too much from the fairy tales they grow up reading!

      I don’t really believe there is any such thing as “one true version” of any story. Even the Gospels come in four versions.

      Multiple versions of narratives can sometimes reveal greater tensions not be so obvious on their own. Yes some our going to more liked than others, but hardly even are the made to spit what came before them.

      • But why people make that a issue then? If they already are rehash of rehash it is hard to complain in opposition to case when someone rehash something what was original.

        Also despite what people claim those movies (excluding Maleficent and Alice is a sequel) did good job in modernizing those stories and giving good reasons for many of those stuff. Like fact that Gaston has PTSD and new motivations for Evil Stepmother totally change how we view her on the end despite her still being a villain. Most complains regard LA remakes are usually about the taste and someone liking classic animation of “reason”. Also no one really want those stories in original, at least not for Disney. After all Beauty and the Beast original point was that “good girls should agree on arranged marriages because parents know better” and in Cinderella evil stepmother hate her because she has Edyp syndrome (yup) plus her sister cut own fingers to fit they feat into slipper (yup). No one really would want those until he intend to make dark fairy-tale horror.

  7. Ok I was going to wait tell I finished watching before pointing out any or all flaws I might spot, but I’m getting this out of the way now.
    2:43-249 No, No, No. “Anew” means in a new or different, usually more positive way. There saying we’re telling this story you already think you know from a different angle so that you might see it differently.
    The first complaint is LITERALLY a mistake!

  8. I Used to hold the same opinion as The Critic. But when i disscused it with a friend,she changed my mind. what she said
    “Nick,I get this critic see the remakes as just telling the same story again. But it’s not exactly that,the people who’ve seen the original movies grew up,there’s a new generation of kids now,and Disney is simply making a version unique to their generation,a version made when they were kids notw when someone else was a kid”
    It’s rare that i change my mind so quickly,but she really made me agree with he points

    • But the good ol’ classic Sleeping Beauty isn’t going anywhere. The generation of kids that grew up with the old animated films most likely still have a DVD copy somewhere that they can put on for their children. So no, I don’t buy that excuse. It’s Disney cashing in on the nostalgia trend, while also trying to be “hip, modern and forward-thinking”.

      • And why that is a issue? The reason why people hate Maleficent is because they failed to “Wickedize” her to point that they need everyone stupid to make it work. There is nothing wrong in other remakes though, and usual argument is nostalgia blindness and pretending that it is wrong to remake a remakes. What is stupid.

        • thatchickwithlonghair

          People hate most remakes for the same reason they hate direct to video sequels: lazy and unnecessary. The only difference being the budget. But remaking a mediocre or bad movie does have potential. They should just stick with those.

          • I don’t talk about whiners but about people who otherwise like other remakes, because despite what idiots say those movies also have own value and old movie don’t disappear because of that. Generally after decade you have right to remade anything. Simple fact, grow up. But Maleficent is one of those movies who almost everyone don’t like, primarily because of wasted potential and obvious mistakes.

  9. Strange that the curse would be to put Aurora into a deathlike sleep. I think in the original story, it WAS supposed to be death, but fairies interfered, and reduced it to a deathlike sleep.

  10. TragicGuineaPig

    14:10 – “HEAD! PAPARRR! NOOH! MOOVE THAT MOUND OF YOORS AND GET THE PAPARRR IF YE CAN! HAULIN’ THAT GARGANTUAN CRRRANIUM ABOOT!”

  11. One of the best things about any story is seeing our “hero” going up against a villain”. The meaner the villain, the bigger the challenge. Maleficent is one of the best know villains in all of Disney; why would they ruin that? OH wait $……………….Jerks.

    • No it wasn’t just $ because it isn’t about merchandise and she wasn’t that deep to begin with. They clearly intend to make own “Wicked” but failed to get the point of why “Wicked” do work. They achieve they goal in case of Evil Stepmother though.

  12. I loved the “damn it!” at the end

  13. I actually didn’t mind this movie but admittedly it needed beefing up HUUGELY. Not the worst but definitely a wasted opportunity.

    I love this years theme month but PLEASE tell me you’re doing Beauty & The Beast. I seriously need you to tear it apart <3

  14. Amazing review as always when I saw this in the theatre I found it a little underwhelming I loved some parts like the action and Maleficent herself but found the rest boring,hated how they turned one of the greatest Disney villains kind,caring by the end. Can you please review Enchanted next or through the looking Glass but I would truly love you to review the 2005 Charlie and The Choclate factory that movie has caused me pain and suffering for years,those robots in the film horrified me as a child so I would to hear your updated opinion on it.

  15. A death-like sleep is a crueler curse than death.

    Death: They grieve, they accept, they move on.

    Death-like sleep: They grieve, are forever prevented from moving on by the hope that sleep MAY be broken, and have their hopes for such dashed day after day – resetting the cycle back to grief.

  16. I’m going to be enjoying this month

  17. Huhhhhh-nukkah.

    The film seems to be trying to be feministic (Virginia Woolverton is a feminist after all and it shows). But the fairies, who were flighty but strong female characters who save the day in the original, are now nincompoops! So the original was more empowering.

    • Don’t you dig too much? That creator is something, doesn’t mean that he promote it in his work. Fairies are dumb because everything else is dumb and so they need balance it with even dumber to make it look averagely inteligent at least. That is all about it.

  18. The worst part of this movie for me was that you could see how much potential it had even while the director was ignoring it. For instance, here’s how I would have set it up: keep it all the same up till the point where Maleficent crashes Aurora’s party. Have her confront Stephan and demand to know why he betrayed her. Have Stephan explain that he did this to bring peace to their two kingdoms. If he had let anyone else take over, they would have continued to wage war on the fairy forest, and would eventually win. This way, they could work together to make peace. Then, most importantly, he apologizes and offers his life to pay for what he did. Maleficent, rightfully pissed off, decides not to take her anger out on Stephan, but on his newborn daughter. Stephan, despite having apologized, turns on her to protect his family, thereby setting up their rivalry for the rest of the movie.

    See what I did there? I kept the tone and the plot of the original, while also giving Maleficent real depth and complexity beyond “I’m so awesome and everyone’s jealous so they lied about me boo hoo.”

  19. I think it would have been good if they gave her a sympathetic background. My all-time favourite anime, Gintama makes use of both evil for evil sake villains and sympathetic villains, and it is the sympathetic ones that come off as the greater and more threatening villains…and this anime is a comedy series.

  20. Does anyone else have issues with Vimeo videos playing? Cant jump forward or back, will just stop playing. Very frustrating and really turning me off from watching them on the Channel Awesome page.

  21. I really liked the idea of Maleficent being a good person turned evil, but when she slowly became good again, the film felt really corny. Best I can figure, the writer thought that the title-character had to be the good-guy, which is complete bullshit. Is Dracula the hero in his titular story?

    If you’re going to be looking at the Beauty And The Beast and The Jungle Book remakes, I really hope you try to be fair with them like you were for the Cinderella remake in the Old Vs New episode and not let your dislike of the film make you biased.

    • The thing is that she didn’t become evil. What they did give her is puberty outrage, where she basically act Edgy like some teenager. Her fall was rushed but still more convincing then in case of Anakin Skywalker, but when she immediately turn back in good everything fall on its face turning her basically into a joke.

  22. Honestly, it could have worked. Make it that she just had death, keep the fairies adding the sleeping part, make the fairies way more competent, have Maleficent actually make attempts on Aurora’s life but slowly softens, and have Aurora saying she hates Maleficent be the thing that fully tips her over, and have the rest play out like in the original

    • Why not make her hero of the fairies? That would give her place for being “misters os all evil” and someone who is respected and have reasonable goal on the first place, adding ton of place for commentary. But nop.

  23. disembodiedvoiceofreason

    Sweet merciful crap, that film was atrocious

  24. I’m surprised you didn’t dig at the opening lines about the faery kingdom which had no king or queen “for they relied on each other.” Then… That’s not a kingdom. That’s a land. That’s …Just a land. I actually like the movie, particularly the scenery chewing King Stefan but that line bugs the Hell out of me.

    • Do you seriously complain about formal classification of fantasy domain? Do you also bugged by fact that American Countries aren’t ruled by Counts? Seriously, grow up as that isn’t even a huge mistake because in reality feudal order was way more fluid (most modern Kings don’t even meet original definition of Christian Grand Duke).

  25. Yeah, this is the only live action movie from them that I completely don’t like. It was my worst movie of 2014, in fact. The only saving graces were the makeup on Angelina Jolie, how the fairies look, that big action scene towards the beginning, and the 3D was amazing. Instead of all this nonsense, I wish they had the same beginning only make the guy a prince who grows up to be the king, no one wants him to be with a fairy, he breaks up with her, and when Maleficent hears the queen has a baby she goes to get revenge. Then, later she realizes she was wrong (maybe by falling in love with the crow guy?). That’s better than this.

  26. Wait…was that one fairy Dolores Umbridge?!

  27. Let’s see here
    Alice In Wonderland: Grossly disappointing, trying to apply a cohesive story to a place that shouldn’t have one.
    Maleficent: Looked pretty, robbed a lot of characters of what made them interesting.
    Cinderella: Fixed a couple plot holes, added a whole bunch more.
    Jungle Book: Holy shit, this was actually good. Oh ooby-do, I hope Lion King’s as good as you-oo-oo.
    Pete’s Dragon: This was surprisingly good. The dragon design was different, and the story although fairly standard was enjoyable.
    Beauty & The Beast: Again, fixed a few plot holes, and added a bunch. It had a few good things, it made me want to see the original again, it made me realize how good the music was in the original…..why aren’t I watching the original?

    • Alice: Take a note that it is a sequel to Disney animation, so argument invalid. But I agree that it was disappointing especially because Burton planed to make adaptation of McGee Alice but licence expired so he sold his deigns to Disney.

      Meleficient: Yup, plus wasted opportunity.

      Cinderella: Like what? I don’t see any what wouldn’t be justified by fairy tale logic.

      Pete’s Dragon: Considering how weak material it was. Yes, good enough but not good overall.

      Beauty & The Beast: Again, what plot holes?

  28. Well, I guess if you’re avoiding the works of Linda Woolverton, that also means no more Homeward Bound, 1991 Beauty and the Beast or 1994 Lion King.
    Really, all this says is that her writing style is still pretty stuck in the 90s.

    • “It does not compute” In 90’s movie I expect 90’s writing. In modern movie I expect modern writing. So 90’s writing suck only in modern movie when modern writing in 90’s movie would be a masterpiece.

  29. Honore de Ballsack

    why didn’t she bleed to death if her wings are cut off?

  30. thatchickwithlonghair

    Ewww, this movie was like a bad fanfic. Everything about it. They turned this villain into a Sue and wrecked everyone else to make her look good. The writing just disgusted me with how stupid it was….

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