Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Maleficent is So-So, But Jolie is Great

Plus, A Million Ways to Die in the West is decidedly short of a million laughs.

by | May 30, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a legendary villainess (Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning) and some silly cowpokes (A Million Ways to Die in the West, starring Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron). What do the critics have to say?



In the past few years, audiences have been treated to a tough-as-nails Snow White, an emotionally complex Snow Queen, and, ahem, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Maleficent offers a more sympathetic take on the evil fairy queen from Sleeping Beauty, but critics say that an outstanding performance from Angelina Jolie and some striking visuals can’t redeem the movie’s slack narrative and uncertain tone. Maleficent (Jolie), a powerful fairy, is betrayed by a childhood friend, who becomes a king; in turn, she places a curse upon his daughter. As the child grows up, however, Maleficent reconsiders her feelings, even as the king plots her destruction. The pundits say Maleficent deserves credit for putting a feminist spin on an old tale, but the movie can’t quite live up to its thoughtful premise — or Jolie’s inspired work in the title role. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Jolie’s best-reviewed movies, as well as our video interviews with Jolie and other members of the cast.)

A Million Ways to Die in the West


Some comedies fail because they’re short on gags. On the other end of the spectrum, critics say the problem with A Million Ways to Die in the West is that it has too many — writer/director/star Seth MacFarlane packs so many jokes into this Western spoof that the most inventive comic moments are often elbowed aside by scatological smuttiness. MacFarlane stars as Albert, a cowardly rancher in a wild west town who falls for Anna (Charlize Theron), who’s handy with a gun. However, Anna is married to a wanted outlaw, and soon Albert is in his crosshairs. The pundits say A Million Ways to Die in the West has an appealing cast and some really big laughs, but overall, it’s a few notches below its obvious inspiration — Mel BrooksBlazing Saddles. (Flip through our gallery of memorable Western comedies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

sports IFC Films E3 Western 21st Century Fox A&E Fall TV Action cooking Calendar Writers Guild of America hist Character Guide ratings Awards politics Valentine's Day ABC NBC FXX romance Pixar See It Skip It Disney Channel based on movie social media Set visit festivals Sci-Fi harry potter supernatural ABC Family 24 frames thriller vampires Video Games GIFs Teen Trailer Ellie Kemper TCA 2017 VICE GLAAD Star Trek SDCC Cartoon Network dceu Starz Extras cinemax Best and Worst Bravo discovery spy thriller Polls and Games serial killer Oscars American Society of Cinematographers Winners technology Nickelodeon BBC Disney Musicals TV Land crime drama Logo GoT Red Carpet Toys zombies Year in Review crossover TV The CW Fox News Shondaland Trivia Nominations Drama Spring TV DC streaming service AMC Premiere Dates Dark Horse Comics Infographic MSNBC Warner Bros. golden globes TCA Sundance Now 45 E! DirecTV justice league Paramount dc Opinion Mary Tyler Moore Amazon Summer ITV Certified Fresh Hulu DC Comics TLC Masterpiece 2016 Britbox Winter TV Acorn TV Lifetime Election 20th Century Fox Marathons El Rey USA Network APB OWN CNN Lionsgate Star Wars comiccon Sony Pictures PBS Reality CW Seed historical drama crime CMT dramedy ESPN period drama Ghostbusters unscripted singing competition Emmys Crackle robots IFC Adult Swim Comedy Central diversity Thanksgiving Box Office Sneak Peek Showtime X-Men Comic Book Nat Geo Animation Paramount Network Kids & Family Musical cops TBS Christmas TCM 2015 Creative Arts Emmys transformers Podcast BBC America binge Music Food Network Pirates National Geographic war Mystery FX Fantasy PaleyFest CBS All Access CBS sitcom Netflix police drama WGN Holidays Freeform Rom-Com Syfy SXSW Super Bowl Reality Competition cults adventure YouTube Red 007 Lucasfilm Spike Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Esquire Horror talk show RT History Photos DC Universe Superheroes boxoffice President HBO MTV USA 2017 SundanceTV travel Cosplay NYCC science fiction composers Rock Martial Arts Universal Pop Grammys BET Sundance political drama zombie First Look what to watch YA Mindy Kaling Comedy Tomatazos crime thriller Schedule Superheroe docudrama Countdown TruTV Country finale Biopics biography aliens TIFF LGBTQ psycho VH1 History Interview TNT FOX cats medical drama Tumblr Marvel Watching Series Rocky The Arrangement