Film review: Maleficent

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Angelina Jolie dons the distinctive horns of Disney’s iconic villainess from the 1959 animated feature Sleeping Beauty in this live-action fantasy, which promises to recount the fairytale from a fresh perspective.

King Henry (Kenneth Cranham) is a greedy, scheming monarch, who yearns to expand his kingdom by conquering the forest realm where the fairy Maleficent (Jolie) holds sway.

Undated Film Still Handout from Maleficent. Pictured: Maleficent (Angelina Jolie). See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Disney Enterprises, Inc. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from Maleficent. Pictured: Maleficent (Angelina Jolie). See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Disney Enterprises, Inc. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

In the ensuing battle, the king is badly wounded and promises his crown to any man who can defeat Maleficent. Lowly underling Stefan (Sharlto Copley), who befriended Maleficent in childhood, tricks the fairy and steals her wings, thereby securing the throne.

Following his coronation, King Stefan is corrupted by power while in the forest, Maleficent waits patiently with her shape-shifter sidekick Diaval (Sam Riley) to wreak terrible revenge.

That time comes when the queen gives birth to a beautiful daughter, Aurora, and Maleficent journeys to the castle to place a curse on the infant: on her 16th birthday, Aurora will prick her finge and fall into an eternal slumber, and only true love’s kiss will break the spell.