Besides superhero movies, the latest trend seems to be fairy tale retelling. Maleficent tells the story of Sleeping Beauty from the evil fairy's perspective. Even just reading that, it's obvious that she's not as evil here as she was in the original story.
I like these sorts of retellings. The "evil" characters become three dimensional, instead of just the two dimensions that we used to get. Most of the time in real life people have their reasons for doing what they do. Also, sometimes the real villain is not the one you would first pick out to be. Without spoiling too much, I liked her reasons for doing what she did, and I also liked the way they resolved it.
Angelina Jolie was of course great in her role as the title character. She could be great in her fury, and in her soft moments. I didn't expect anything less of her.
Elle Fanning I haven't seen in many things before. Looking at her list of appearances, I saw a lot of shows that I watch, but she wasn't memorable to me. In her role as Aurora she takes a bit of a back seat, since this Sleeping Beauty version isn't about Sleeping Beauty, but I liked her as Aurora. She had genuine smiles and laughter in her eyes.
I like how they did the kiss. Without spoiling the story, I'll just have to say that I never liked that in the original story. In most versions of the story the Prince either only sees her once, or never until he kisses her. He doesn't know her very well. He may feel that he loves her, but it doesn't feel deep. Also, romantic love can fade. However, there is one kind of love that once is born, never goes away. That really is true love.
Overall, 4 stars. I'm tempted to give 5, but the reason why I'm not is that on the one hand it's too short. Maybe because it's meant for children, and they figure that without singing that's the only amount of time kids can sit still. I would have also liked to see more story. However, great movie, definitely recommend it to adults as well.