"Maleficent", the Robert Stromberg-directed fantasy adventure movie that has Angeline Jolie playing a horned evil witch, is the rethinking of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty", and critics are unanimous that the flick truly belongs to its lead actress.
The 90-minute movie throws light on the factors that lead to Maleficent turning evil, and Jolie has managed to provide an emotional depth to the character, critics feels.
"This is Jolie's film because of the Maleficent she makes. Everyone else, even Aurora, fades in her presence," wrote Betsy Sharkey of Los Angeles Times, and James Berardinelli of Reel Views appears to agree.
"Angelina Jolie's interpretation of the title character, which transforms the animated icon into a complex, fully realized woman, provides emotional depth and breadth," Berardinelli wrote.
"…Because of Angelina Jolie's forceful and nuanced performance, the title character escapes the one-dimensionality that trapped her in the 1959 Disney classic. Here, she's a deeply tragic and conflicted figure who seeks solace and finds redemption in the most unlikely of ways," he added, praising Jolie.
"Maleficent" is Jolie's first film in four years. She was last seen in "The Tourist", released in December 2010.
While Jolie is being heaped with praises, the film as a whole has been critiqued for lacking a proper storytelling technique, while some say it lacks enchantment.
Forbes wrote that the movie is a "mishmash of seemingly random scenes and incidents", and it does not have a story to tell. The review also noted that the movie barely resembles a finished feature.
Variety's Andrew Barker noted that the film was rushed and also pointed out that some of the bonding scenes between Maleficent and Princess Aurora appeared forced. Several other critics felt that the other characters in the movie could have been better developed.
However, "Maleficent" is expected to topple "X-Men: Days of Future Past" which had a good Memorial Day weekend. The Jolie starrer is expected to have a $60 million opening and is expected to lure a lot of female audience away.
The movie, produced by Joe Roth, is not expected to match the $116 million debut of "Alice in Wonderland" in March 2010 or the $79.1 million opening of "Oz the Great and Powerful" in March 2013, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Those two Disney movies were also produced by Roth.