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Maleficent (Blu Ray) Review

The newest take on the classic Disney villain Maleficent comes home to Blu Ray and DVD with a set that’s packing plenty of extras.

Maleficent has really gotten around in the last few years, appearing on ABC’s Once Upon a Time as well as the big budget motion picture that we’re talking about here. While the TV show might have been a little stunted in the special effects department though, much like star-power, that’s not something that the film version of Maleficent lacks in the least. And the Blu Ray release that we’re taking a look at here has every bit of that and more.

Set in a version of the fantasy world featured in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent twists the story and produces an almost completely different tale than the one that you’re probably used to. As guardian of a magical forest, the dark figure known as Maleficent is none too happy about a threat to her home. And as ‘evil queens’ are want to do, she proceeds to pay a little visit to the offending land and lay down a curse on the King’s daughter- Princess Aurora. The result isn’t what you expect it to be though, and presents the start of the major differences between this film and the original cartoon movie.

Maleficent paints the figure of this historically villainous character as a sympathetic one instead. She even grows fond of the young Aurora, played by Elle Fanning, and regrets what she’s done. It’s different, and that’s a good thing since the tale that it’s based upon is more than a little long in the tooth and could probably have used an updating. Whether this is the ‘reboot’ that you would have liked to have seen is entirely up to you, as some parts might be an acquired taste to some degree. If you love that original movie though, there are little nods here and there to the classic film, one of which is the incredibly impressive look that Disney has put together.

Overall, this is just a flat out stunner of a movie. While the story itself might be a little divisive for those who are already fans of Sleeping Beauty, there’s no arguing that this is one beautiful movie in terms of visuals. It contains much of the flavor of the original, while adapting it to the live-action medium that it inhabits in a nearly flawless way. At times it’s actually hard to tell what’s ‘real’ and what’s not, as the effects work is just that good.

Oh, and Angelina Jolie pretty much is Maleficent. While I don’t really have anything to compare her performance to (I don’t think I’ve ever seen the original in its entirety), I do know the image I’ve always had of the character, and she’s it. A big part of that is her image of course, and that’s one of the things that the features set explores.

Maleficent has a very nice selection of extra bonus features for fans to sink their teeth into. While there aren’t tons and tons of them, there’s a featurette that explores the transformation from cartoon to film that I mentioned earlier, as well as fairly detailed looks at Maleficent’s wardrobe and the special effects, and a few more. You’ll find the usual stuff here as well, like deleted scenes- I don’t think you can release a Blu Ray or DVD without a series of deleted scenes tacked on these days.

All in all it’s a pretty complete package, and it’s hard to imagine that fans of the film itself wouldn’t enjoy the extra content. As someone who views a lot of movies on disc, it’s actually more than a good chunk of the movies out there offer too, which is great as again, this is a standard release and not a collector’s edition or something like that.

Final Thoughts

Maleficent is just a flat-out great looking film. The story wasn’t really my cup of tea, though I watched it with someone who did very much enjoy it (well… most of it) and I know there are more than a few folks out there who dug it just fine since it’s actually the second highest grossing movie of 2014. Seemingly very quietly, Maleficent exploded in cinemas this past Summer, and is sitting at a global total of almost $800 million in ticket sales.

Even if you’re not in with one of those fans, I think you’ll find Maleficent (at the very least) a visually compelling treat while you watch it with someone who is.

About Jason Micciche

Jason's been knee deep in videogames since he was but a lad. Cutting his teeth on the pixely glory that was the Atari 2600, he's been hack'n'slashing and shoot'em'uping ever since. Mainly an FPS and action guy, Jason enjoys the occasional well crafted title from every genre.

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