|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Production country:||USA 2014|
|Running time:||Ca. 96 min.|
|Rated:||From 6 years|
Everybody knows the fairy tale of "Sleeping Beauty" and also the Disney movie from 1959 should be known by most people. The evil witch Maleficiz - in the original Maleficent - left a special impression here. But what if Maleficent wasn't really evil at all, if the villain in this fairy tale was a completely different one? This is the initial idea of "Maleficent - The Dark Fairy", a powerful 3D feature film variant of the popular animated film.
As a young fairy Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) grows up happily in the realm of the forest. Their friendship with the human boy Stefan could be a foundation stone for the long-awaited peace between the two hostile worlds. But over the years Stefan (Sharlto Copley) changes. Greed for power and the throne of the kingdom drives him to betray Maleficent. Filled with anger and disappointment, Maleficent lets her dark side gain the upper hand. When the king and his wife have a child, the dark fairy puts a curse on the little Aurora, which is supposed to come true as soon as the girl is 16 years old. Then Aurora (Elle Fanning) will stab herself at a spindle and fall into a death-like sleep from which she will never awaken again. But over the years Maleficent must realize, as she sees the girl grow up, that this curse may have been a mistake and that she has destroyed the last hope of peace…
".Maleficent - Die Dunkle Fee" is the directorial debut of Robert Stromberg, who was primarily responsible for the realization of visual effects in large-scale productions such as "Die Tribute von Panem" or "Pirates of the Caribbean". His debut as a director turned out to be a pretty good fantasy adventure, which, however, has some flaws both dramaturgically and in terms of special effects. The idea of turning the well-known story upside down and turning King Stefan into the real villain is certainly very interesting. But at the same time it takes much of its threat away from a film villain who has been loved and feared for generations. And it is just the dark side of Maleficent that Angelina Jolie so wonderfully implements. To make a story about emancipation out of the fairy tale has its charm, but the resulting potential is unfortunately only marginally exploited by the overly softened finale.
Another problem of the movie are the special effects of all things. If the magical worlds in some scenes are fantastically realized in the truest sense of the word, the backgrounds in other moments seem extremely artificial and seem to be taken directly from a "Tinkerbell" movie. Some creatures are reminiscent of rather gloomy fantasy adventures like "Lord of the Rings", while other characters are animated too comic-like. All this creates a somewhat harmonious overall picture that oscillates between a pure children's film and a darker fantasy spectacle. The fact that the German distributor has clearly decided in favour of the child-friendly version and has made the film less dark by just under a minute cannot really defuse this impression.
The greatest weakness - especially but not only in technical terms - are the three fairies Knotgrass, Flittle and Thistlewit. The three are really badly realized in their reduced fairy shape and the artificially alienated voices, which assume true "Alvin & the Chipmunks" proportions with Thistlewit, don't make things any more pleasant. A director who has been working in the field of visual effects for many years could have expected much more in this area.
If "Maleficent - The Dark Fairy" works, then the film succeeds really well. But in all the effort to do justice to the wonderful animated film and to transfer the typical Disney look to a real film, the whole thing that made the early Disney films so special and successful has been lost: magic! Stromberg's fairy tale variant seems strangely sterile and despite many bright colors and magical creatures too cold to really reach the heart of the audience. For whom some great moments with Angelina Jolie, some spectacular effects and a good portion of kitsch already make a great cinema experience, you will certainly be able to overlook the numerous weaknesses. But those who expect something special with a lot of charm and magic will probably be disappointed by this dark fairy. Therefore: only worth seeing with some concessions!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp