Rated 2.0

Angelina Jolie plays the title character, the infamous horned villain from Sleeping Beauty. There's a little bit of revisionist history here, with Maleficent portrayed as more of a fallen angel rather than a straight up baddie. The whole thing almost works because Jolie is damned good in this film, especially when the script allows for her to bellow curses and just act devilish. It gets a little sleepy at times when it deals with, well, Sleeping Beauty (Elle Fanning), the young woman who stands to have a very bad 16th birthday thanks to a Maleficent curse. Jolie has a creepy getup that I thought would bother me, but I kind of liked looking at it after a while. It's the world surrounding her that I found a bit pedestrian. Director Robert Stromberg worked as a production designer on films like Alice in Wonderland, Avatar and Oz the Great and Powerful. I didn't like any of those movies and, in the end, I don't really like this one. At this point in watching Stromberg's work, I'm just not taken by his weird visual worlds. They put me off for some reason, and have a choppy pop-up book feel to them. On the plus side, it is better than Alice and Oz, and perhaps even Avatar. On the negative side, it's still not all that good.