[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

A PG-retelling of the Sleeping Beauty legend, where Maleficent isn't bad, she's just misunderstood. And a little hot-tempered, but who could blame her?

The premise is that a human kingdom and a magical fairy kingdom live right next door to each other, and they don't get along well. This is primarily the humans' fault, being all greedy and ambitious and … well, human. Maleficent is the fairy kingdom's most powerful defender against human aggression, which royally pisses off the royals. What follows is betrayal, anger, revenge, and how that all plays out against young Aurora, the human princess caught up in the battle between her father and Maleficent.

Angelina Jolie plays Maleficent, Elle Fanning is Aurora. It's full of special effects. (Angelina Jolie sometimes looks to be a real-life Special Effect, so it's appropriate she's here.)

I liked it a little better than I thought I would, because Disney can still tell a pretty good story when they want to. I was a little surprised by the PG rating; there's a lot of violence, so I thought it would be PG-13. But I guess it's "fantasy" violence. It's OK when fairies do it!