Every once in awhile I'll see someone post on Facebook about the new “Maleficent” movie with a comment amounting to “OMG LOOKS SO GOOD” or “LOVE. I CAN'T EVEN.” Here's the thing: I can even. I'm as gripped as anyone by Angelina Jolie's meringue-like cheekbones and Elle Fanning's china doll emotions, but I can't be sure we're in the presence of an awesome spectacle yet, even in exclusively campy terms. Something about “Maleficent” seems like the drama club president cousin to “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” which was star-studded but deeply dull. I'll try to keep my hopes up, but I also have these ten questions that require answers.
1. Can a movie be creepy when every frame of animation is so pristine?
There is a “just so” quality about the coloring, animation, and detail in this trailer; nothing feels even slightly out of control, and I wonder if you need that looseness to make a film effectively chilling. Hard to be afraid when Angelina's eyes are perfectly, exquisitely tinted that shade of Tropical Skittle lime, no?
2. Is “birthday” really a three-syllable word? Think it over.
As far as I can tell, Angelina is trying to say at 0:27, “Before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will fall into a sleep-like death!” What I heard was, “Befoooaaahh the sun sets on her sixteenth biiurrrraaattthhhdiieaaaay… she will fall into a sleep-like death.” First of all: Doesn't she mean a death-like sleep? Second of all: “Birthday” is traditionally not a 26-letter word with hundreds of syllables. The line isn't really good enough to warrant such a proclamation, so I fear this is a bad sign.
3. Why does every CGI-laden movie look like a big Evanescence video?
Uggggh, these “dark” CGI movies all look the same. And by “the same,” I mean “like it's 2003 and Amy Lee is spilling feelings at a Hot Topic counter.” Wake me up inside when it's over.
4. Does Elle Fanning get to be great in this?
I'm worried that Fanning doesn't get much to do here. She's so fabulous in the otherwise un-fabulous Super 8 and Somewhere that I'm always pulling for her triumphs. All I'm seeing here is a rosy complexion and her chasm-deep pupils.
5. How can one human being look so perfect while smiling maniacally?
Check out Ang at 1:29. Even with the added reptilian bone structure, her Mentadent grin is so winning. Only Ang (and maybe Lauren Bacall-in-exactly-1944) can pull that off.
6. Oh, come on, Elle. “Are you Maleficent?”
Yeah, Elle. She is.
7. Where is Miranda Richardson? Bring me Miranda Richardson.
Miranda Richardson plays Queen Ulla, Maleficent's disapproving aunt. Um, WHERE IS SHE? If this movie wants a gay audience, it should pimp out its Oscar-nominated '90s actresses. Richardson gave one of the best nominated supporting performances ever in “Damage.” This is important to actressexuals such as myself.
8. Where is Imelda Staunton? Bring me Imelda Staunton.
Imelda Staunton plays Knotgrass, a fairy. WHERE IS SHE? If this movie wants a gay audience, it should pimp out its Oscar-nominated '00s actresses. Staunton gave one of the best nominated leading performances ever in “Vera Drake.” This is important to actressexuals such as myself.
9. Maleficent's horns: What is that, an ibex?
Maybe? Any ZooBooks subscribers out there to confirm?
10. Is this movie secretly Beowulf 2: Grendel's Mother Gets a Facelift and a Gothic Personal Shopper?
Because that's the level of bewildering insanity I fear we're dealing with. Oh man. Let's all just sharpen our cheekbones and wait, I guess.