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

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