Pick a superhero or a villain and his motivation for becoming either can most often be drawn back to a dead parent(s). Avenging, revenging, honouring, all that crap---it’s about something being cruelly taken from you, wondering why and coming to terms with it your own way. In Maleficent, the origin story of Sleeping Beauty’s evil queen, her motivation is revenge, alright---against a dude who dumped her to focus on his career. (He also cuts off her wings so he can become king. It’s not the worst reason, but even Emily Thorne is avenging her family.) This is just the main problem with Maleficent, a computer-y, dragging eye-roller of a fairytale that contains a fucking incendiary performance from Angelina Jolie, all cheekbones and flashing eyes and intimidation, sucking up all the green screen around her as lesser actors try to keep up. The final battle, where Maleficent takes on her ex and his army, is exciting and horrible, but the movie leading up to it feels like an underwritten outline: Good > Bad > Good? > Dragon. —Tara Thorne



  • Robert Stromberg


  • Angelina Jolie
  • Elle Fanning
  • Juno Temple
  • Lesley Manville
  • Sam Riley
  • Sharlto Copely
  • Miranda Richardson
  • Imelda Staunton


  • Linda Woolverton


  • Joe Roth

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