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FILM FANS: Angelina Jolie is magnificent as Maleficent

EDITOR’S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: “Maleficent.” Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

4 out of 4 stars

This is the best movie I have seen in a long time. From start to finish it was very well executed and flowed. All of the characters were well established and their transformations flowed smoothly from childhood to adult. Kudos to Angelina Jolie, as one of the executive producers and the title character, she has done a magnificent job.

It’s “Sleeping Beauty” rewound and retold from a different angle. The well-known fairy tale of the princess being cursed by a bad fairy (Maleficent) is very much the plot of the movie but there is also a backstory to the bad fairy. No spoiler from me, you have to see the movie to understand the twist. The actresses playing the roles of Princess Aurora and Maleficent, all did justice to each part. Elle Fanning as the 16-year-old Aurora is natural and elegant in this role as if she was born to play it.

It is a great family movie. This is going to be a classic, another home run for Disney.

— Gail Nuñez-Blackshear, Lawrenceville

3 out of 4 stars

I have to say that I really enjoyed watching this movie, mostly because I bit the bullet and saw it in IMAX 3-D. Having never been to the IMAX theater before, it really was quite a treat and made me feel as if I was actually part of action. It was that realistic!

The movie itself is a new perspective of the animated Disney classic “Sleeping Beauty,” and explains why she is so evil, and what made her that way. The role of Maleficent, more than effectively played by Angelina Jolie, fits the mold perfectly with her chiseled cheek bones, piercing hypnotic eyes and menacing grin. The “Beauty” is played by Elle Fanning, who is likely to become the next Disney darling, but spends too much time grinning and trying to be cute and not enough time giving her character any character. Sharlto Copley shows his range very well, and fits into the role of King Stefan, who is deservedly resented by Maleficent, among others. One of the most dramatic scenes takes place when Maleficent awakens in the forest, and discovers, to her horror, that something has been taken and she transforms from being happy and peaceful, into the bitter and evil being we are more familiar with who then seeks revenge on who she believes has left her helpless.

The movie hits the target market of older pre-teens and younger teens perfectly. Some of the battle scenes are a bit intense, but, in typical Disney fashion, the message of redemption, true love and good overcoming evil overshadows the message of brutal revenge. Good for the whole family.

— Steve Kalberg,

Lawrenceville

3 out of 4 stars

The first film in four years that Angelina Jolie has acted in is well worth the wait. I can’t think of another actress that would have been a better choice to play Maleficent than Angelina Jolie. Her sharp, chiseled cheekbones, yellow eyes, light green skin, and red-ruby lips and, of course, the horns on her head all make her frightening.

We grew up knowing the Disney tale of Sleeping Beauty and how the wicked witch cast a spell on her to sleep and sleep until she awakens from a kiss. Maleficent tells us the story as to why the wicked witch was the dark and evil villain that she was. I will not focus on the story line because I do not want to ruin it for anyone who has not seen it. It is worth going to see, but not one that I would watch over and over like some of the Disney movies in the past. Let’s just say it’s an empowering story and especially in the current world, with all the “bullying” out there that needs to stop.

Three of Angelina Jolie’s kids are in the movie with her. Vivienne, 5, who plays a short role of Princess Aurora, who is also played by Elle Fanning, who performed the role well. Also Pax, 10, and Zahara, 9, are in a very brief scene at the castle, but if you blink, you probably will miss them. Great digital effects, as well.

— Kelly Cain, Lawrenceville