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

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