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?



Maleficent

50%

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

33%

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

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