REVIEW: MALEFICENT

CAST

Angelina Jolie (Mr and Mrs Smith)
Elle Fanning (Super 8)
Sharlto Copley (Powers)
Lesley Manville (Vera Drake)
Imelda Staunton (Paddington)
Juno Temple (Horns)
Sam Riley (Control)

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is a powerful fairy who lives in the Moors, a magical forest realm bordering a corrupt human kingdom. As a young girl, she meets and falls in love with a human peasant boy named Stefan, whose love for Maleficent is overshadowed by his ambition to become king. As they grow older, the two grow apart, and Maleficent becomes protector of the Moors. When King Henry (Kenneth Cranham) tries to conquer the Moors, a grown Maleficent forces him to retreat. Fatally wounded in battle, he declares that whoever kills Maleficent will be named his successor and marry his only daughter, Princess Leila. Stefan visits Maleficent in the Moors, where he drugs her but cannot bring himself to kill her. Instead, he cuts off her wings and presents them to the king as evidence of her death. Maleficent awakens to find herself wingless. Overwhelmed by Stefan’s betrayal, she declares herself Queen of the Moors, forming a dark kingdom with Diaval (Sam Riley), a raven to whom she gives human form. He acts as her wings, her spy and confidant.

After some time, Diaval informs Maleficent that Stefan (Sharlto Copley), now king, is hosting a christening for his newborn daughter, Princess Aurora, with his wife, Queen Leila (Hannah New). Bent on revenge, Maleficent arrives uninvited and curses the infant princess: on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep from which she will never awaken. When Stefan begs for mercy, Maleficent offers an antidote: the curse can only be broken by true love’s kiss. Stefan sends Aurora to live with three pixies – Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton), Thistlewit (Juno Temple), and Flittle (Lesley Manville) – until the day after her sixteenth birthday, while he destroys all the spinning wheels in the kingdom and hides their remnants in the castle dungeon. He sends his armies to find and kill Maleficent, but she surrounds the Moors with an impenetrable wall of thorns. King Stefan slips into madness and paranoia trying to prevent the curse, even neglecting to see his wife on her deathbed.

Despite her initial dislike for Aurora, Maleficent begins to have feelings for the girl. After a brief meeting with the young Aurora, Maleficent watches over her from afar. When Aurora (Elle Fanning) is fifteen, she encounters Maleficent. Knowing that she is being watched over, she refers to Maleficent as her “fairy godmother.” Realizing she has grown fond of the princess, Maleficent attempts to revoke the curse, but is unsuccessful. In the forest, Aurora meets Prince Philip (Brenton Thwaites), and the two are instantly smitten with one another. On the day before Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, Maleficent, invites her to live with her in the Moors. The pixies inadvertently tell Aurora of her past and reveal Maleficent’s true identity, and a distraught Aurora runs away to her father’s castle.

After a brief reunion with his daughter, Stefan locks her away in her room for her own safety. However, the power of the curse draws Aurora to the dungeon, where remnants of a spinning wheel pricks her finger. She falls into a deep sleep, fulfilling the curse. Maleficent, intent on saving her, abducts Phillip and infiltrates Stefan’s castle, but Phillip’s kiss fails to awaken Aurora. At her bedside, Maleficent apologizes to Aurora and kisses her forehead. Aurora awakens, as the motherly tenderness proves powerful enough to break the spell. Aurora forgives Maleficent, but as they attempt to leave the castle, Stefan and his guards spring an ambush, trapping Maleficent in an iron net. As her attackers close in, Maleficent transforms Diaval into a dragon freeing her, but they are driven back by the guards. Stefan beats and taunts Maleficent, but before he can deliver a killing blow, her wings are freed by Aurora and fly back to Maleficent reattaching themselves. Fully empowered, Maleficent carries Stefan to the top of the castle’s highest tower. At the precipice, she cannot bring herself to kill him. Stefan attempts to kill her, however, and both plummet from the tower. Maleficent is able to break away, and Stefan falls to his death. Soon after, Princess Aurora is crowned Queen by Maleficent, unifying the two kingdoms in peace.

Maleficent is the perfect blend of excitement and fairy tale.

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REVIEW: DESCENDANTS

CAST

Dove Cameron (Cloud 9)
Cameeron Boyce (Eagle Eye)
Booboo Stewart (X-Men: Days of Future Past)
Sofia Carson (Adventures in Babysitting)
Mitchell Hope (Never Tear Us Apart)
Melanie Paxson (Saving Mr. Banks)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Wendy Raquel Robinson (Miss Congeniality)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)

After their wedding, Belle and Prince Adam form the United States of Auradon from the surrounding kingdoms, creating a prosperous new nation, and are elected King and Queen. The kingdom’s enemies are imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost, a slum where magic is forbidden and surrounded by an inescapable barrier. Twenty years later, Prince Ben is to ascend the Auradon throne and informs his parents that his first proclamation will give the Isle of the Lost’s children the chance to live in Auradon away from the influence of their villainous parents. On the island, Maleficent instructs the four chosen children to find and steal the Fairy Godmother’s magic wand to release the villains. The children, those of the Evil Queen, Jafar, Cruella de Vil, and Maleficent, are Evie, Jay, Carlos, and Mal.
Travelling to Auradon Prep, the four meet Ben and his self-proclaimed girlfriend Audrey, daughter of Princess Aurora, and the Fairy Godmother, who is the school’s headmistress. Evie uses her mother’s pocket-sized magic mirror to locate the magic wand, located in a nearby museum, but they fail to steal it. Learning the Fairy Godmother will use the wand during Ben’s coronation, the four wait it out by attending classes but start to fit in with the students. Jay is recruited into the school’s “tourney” team (a football-like sport), while Carlos surpasses his cynophobia by befriending the school mutt Dude. Evie, though intelligent, acts vain to impress Chad Charming, son of Cinderella, but ends up doing his homework for him. Dopey’s son Doug encourages her to not pander to others and be herself.
Mal becomes popular, using Maleficent’s spellbook to improve the looks of the Fairy Godmother and Mulan’s daughters Jane and Lonnie. Learning that Ben’s girlfriend will be seated close to the magic wand during the coronation, Mal creates a cookie laced with a love potion and gives it to Ben, who falls madly in love with her, much to the shock of his friends. On a date with Ben, Mal becomes conflicted with her inherit goodness and desire to please her mother, unsure how to react to Ben’s feelings towards her. During the school’s family day, the villains’ children are ostracized after an encounter with Audrey’s grandmother Queen Leah, though Ben and Doug remain friendly towards them.  On the day of the coronation, Mal gives Ben a brownie containing the love spell’s antidote, believing it was cruel to trick him, but he reveals he was already freed of the potion when he went swimming in the “enchanted lake” during their date. During Ben’s crowning, Jane grabs the wand from her mother, accidentally destroying the Isle’s barrier. Mal takes the wand from Jane, but torn over what to do, is encouraged by Ben to make her own choice rather than follow Maleficent’s path. Mal recognises that she and her friends found happiness in Auradon, and they decide to be good.

Maleficent crashes the ceremony, freezing everyone in time save herself and the children. When they defy her, Maleficent transforms into a dragon. The four children use a counterspell, turning Maleficent into a tiny lizard, based on the amount of love in her heart. Mal returns the Fairy Godmother her wand and she unfreezes everyone. While the villains watch the celebration from afar, Auradon Prep’s students party into the night, Mal and her friends finding happiness.Excellent film for all family. If you know your fairy tales you’ll love this.