My 13 year old son and I were invited to attend a local screening of Disney’s Maleficent earlier this week, but all thoughts and opinions in this Maleficent movie review are my own.
I almost ended up at my Maleficent screening by myself. Two of my kids had karate (and my husband was needed to take them there), one daughter had to work, and another daughter had an orchestra/band potluck at school. That left me and my 13-year-old son. I’ll admit – the teenage boy was not overly enthusiastic about going to a princess movie….even if the princess movie was focused on the story’s villain. He decided to come at the last minute, probably motivated by the idea of movie popcorn more than anything else.
I’m sure by now you’ve seen a trailer or two for Maleficent. I have been looking forward to seeing Maleficent but I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the previews. I knew it had something to do with the Sleeping Beauty story told from the perspective of the evil Maleficent…but I went in to the movie strangely (and happily) naive.
MALEFICENT explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty” and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.
The film stars Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville.
My reaction to Maleficent:
I was blown away. The moors, where Maleficent and the other mystical creatures reside, is visually fascinating. The story surprised and delighted me. (I’m actually hoping to keep my review vague enough that more movie-goers can have that delightful surprise element when seeing the movie for the first time). I was entertained and touched…and I didn’t expect both to happen. Yes, I even cried.
Do I recommend seeing it in the theaters? Wholeheartedly YES! Run out to see it. Take your husband and see it on a date night. Go with your girl friends. See it with your kids (more on which kids to bring to the theater below…). You can safely skip the 3D, in my opinion, but please, please see it in the theater!
About the casting: Angelina Jolie was the perfect Maleficent. I expected to hate her…to find Maleficent horribly evil and cruel. Angelina somehow captured all of Maleficent’s flaws and strengths perfectly – her tenderness, her cruelty, her rage, her sorrow, her power. Maleficent is a very complicated character, and Angelina Jolie captured it all perfectly.
I was worried that Elle Fanning would play a Princess Aurora that was too sweet to really care that much about. I was so wrong. While Aurora is full of innocence and naivety, she was a character that no one could help but love.
A surprising favorite was Diaval, played by Sam Riley. His character was so much more than a bad guy’s sidekick, and I grew to really love and appreciate him throughout the movie, too.
Should I take my kids to see Maleficent?
I’ve seen a lot of buzz online about whether or not Maleficent is appropriate for kids, and I hope I can answer some questions and help parents decide if this is the right movie for their whole family to enjoy in the theater.
Maleficent is rated PG – and while it is full of Disney magic, I have to say that I would not recommend it for kids under 8. Of course, each child is different in what they can tolerate and what scares them, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some 10-year-olds were scared by some of the scenes in the movie. Maleficient is not for kids who scare easily. There are magical creatures that are very intimidating. There are war scenes with tree creatures fighting human soldiers. There is a dragon breathing fire and knocking down things in the castle. There are loud noises. You see all of these elements in the trailer I posted above. None of it should come as a great surprise.
While I found the entire movie enchanting and the fight scenes and scary creatures family-friendly and totally fine for my tastes, I would definitely keep young kids home. If the trailer makes you uncomfortable, then seeing it on the big screen will only intensify that. Remember: I am only making these recommendations for very young kids, probably younger than 8 or so, but please do not mistake my warnings to mean that I did not love the movie.
On the flip side, I was surprised at how engaged my 13-year-old was through the whole movie. The teen years are tough….teens don’t want to “waste their time” with kiddy movies, but the movies that they’re naturally drawn to (and that are targeted to them) are NOT movies that we want them to see.
I was thrilled to hear him laughing, “wow”-ing, and in the end, raving about how it held on to his attention AND got him thinking (yes, that’s exactly what he said as we left the theater!). In fact, he compared Maleficent to a certain monster movie that he saw last weekend and said, “Maleficent really made me think. It was a really good story. That other movie was basically just non-stop action, but it didn’t DO anything for me, you know?” He said he would recommend Maleficent to his fellow middle school friends.
Yes, that’s right: Maleficent is teenager-approved!
What do you think? Have you seen Maleficent yet? Will you be taking your kids?
Connect with Maleficent:
- Like MALEFICENT on Facebook: facebook.com/DisneyMaleficent
- Follow MALEFICENT on Twitter: @Maleficent
- YouTube Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTnR43JTLNs8AKNpJ4KFI6SSdpTzkcXjw
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/disneystudios
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/disneystudios/maleficent/
- Tumblr: https://disney.tumblr.com/
MALEFICENT is rated PG and is in theaters now!
All photos are provided by Disney.
© 2014, Food Fun Family. All rights reserved.
Yeah…it definitely has dark and scary parts. It also has light, happy, and funny parts…but it those aren’t going to make little kids “un-scared”. I’d recommend either you seeing it first or just waiting til the DVD comes out so you can have more control.
Heather Garcia says
Thank you for your honest review. My daughter is 6 and wants to see it (because of Auora), but the previews make it seem like a dark and scary movie.