Looking to follow in the footsteps of recent hits “Oz: The Great and Powerful” and “Snow White and the Huntsmen,” “Maleficent” is the latest Hollywood attempt to re-imagine a familiar tale.
But this version of “Sleeping Beauty” is a snoozer, a plodding and predictable film that never recovers after a dreadful prologue.
“Maleficent” is told from the point of view of the evil queen, with Angelina Jolie playing the title character – a fairy who seeks revenge after being betrayed by King Stefan (Sharlto Copley).
She puts a curse on Stefan’s newborn daughter Aurora, but as Aurora grows into a young woman (played by Elle Fanning) Maleficent starts to regret her curse. She sets out to right the wrong, save Aurora and perhaps restore peace to the kingdom.
“Maleficent” is nice to watch, with quality set designs and impressive cinematography, but there is little substance.
Jolie plays the whole movie in one mode, with her protruding cheekbones the most memorable thing about her performance.
Fanning doesn’t get much to do, with Aurora taking a back seat to the evil queen. But, then again, it’s not like there is much going on in the screenplay.
This film is much too predictable, and “Maleficent” is one of the biggest blockbuster misfires to date.
Also in theaters
The week’s other new release, “Chef” (B), is the polar opposite of the summer blockbuster – a small movie from writer/director/actor Jon Favreau that is a nice little diversion to all the big-budget noise.
It’s a welcome return for Favreau to his indie-film roots after directing two of the “Iron Man” films and “Cowboys and Aliens.”
Favreau plays Carl Casper, a talented chef in a creative rut both at work and at home.
A negative review from a food critic creates further chaos, leading to Carl losing his job at a local restaurant. Carl restarts his career in a food truck, an endeavor that allows him the chance to reconnect with his 10-year-old son Percy (Emjay Anthony) during a cross-country trip.
“Chef” has a simple formula that leads to its success. It’s a good story with good characters.
Favreau is a likable enough lead, but director Favreau has loaded the cast with a lot of familiar faces — including Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson and John Leguizamo.
One word of advice – don’t see “Chef” on an empty stomach. This is a film where the food is front and center (and it all looks great).
While the food is the hook, this is more of a film about father-son relationships. It’s that emotional center that gives “Chef” bite, making it one of those small summer gems that should be sought out by moviegoers.
“Chef” is rated R for language, including some suggestive references, and is now playing at the Regal Greenwood Mall Stadium 10.