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

rotten spanish language Amazon Prime Video TCM singing competition basketball Animation 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Mary poppins 2019 medical drama cancelled TV series latino The Walt Disney Company Trophy Talk Anna Paquin new york unscripted new star wars movies Marvel Studios Television Critics Association dramedy robots classics docuseries ViacomCBS versus DC Comics YA Comics on TV ABC Dark Horse Comics toronto Film all-time crossover Apple TV Plus nbcuniversal comic book movie Cosplay revenge prank twilight romantic comedy razzies dc Nickelodeon 24 frames satire dragons Acorn TV RT21 DC streaming service TLC hispanic 73rd Emmy Awards Netflix Christmas movies BAFTA tv talk Valentine's Day action-comedy posters Tokyo Olympics comiccon Extras HBO RT History serial killer ABC Signature cooking kong Apple TV+ diversity 99% festivals mission: impossible PaleyFest toy story archives halloween Columbia Pictures doctor who Podcast free movies japan X-Men australia Video Games Walt Disney Pictures Pop TV Vudu adenture 1990s Hulu Mary Tyler Moore Stephen King TIFF romance screen actors guild hist Winners Women's History Month VICE APB justice league Alien Amazon Red Carpet Crackle Pet Sematary obituary First Reviews Academy Awards harry potter Warner Bros. Countdown cops VH1 TV Pride Month Turner Disney Channel richard e. Grant biography young adult comedies Comic Book BBC 93rd Oscars American Society of Cinematographers gangster marvel cinematic universe critic resources 2015 dogs superhero italian Starz technology series Action TV renewals Universal Certified Fresh natural history Character Guide Legendary Toys news period drama Tomatazos Mudbound ID criterion screenings movies book adaptation rt labs MSNBC theme song YouTube Premium batman Broadway festival critics TCA Winter 2020 supernatural Trailer new zealand ESPN Freeform AMC rom-coms debate Calendar spy thriller Awards Tour 2021 war Disney+ Disney Plus CW Seed Discovery Channel space Kids & Family sequels Awards live action Masterpiece Epix Film Festival cartoon Black History Month The Walking Dead know your critic Adult Swim Paramount Horror elevated horror based on movie crime thriller BBC One japanese scene in color Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Ellie Kemper ABC Family heist movie Mary Poppins Returns mcc MCU Food Network Paramount Network Captain marvel Netflix monster movies Lifetime scorecard indie Sundance Now CBS All Access Election Exclusive Video sequel rt archives joker WarnerMedia IFC Films Crunchyroll science fiction sitcom thriller Peacock Showtime VOD Rocketman Oscars Polls and Games dceu child's play travel PlayStation cinemax Bravo comic books golden globes hidden camera Sundance TV animated Fox News Apple Christmas Premiere Dates 45 facebook football spain laika Sundance saw Lucasfilm Reality Competition comic legend indiana jones Classic Film cancelled TV shows Infographic Musicals french Baby Yoda fast and furious CMT video Fox Searchlight telelvision aliens marvel comics miniseries 72 Emmy Awards award winner Set visit Pixar 2017 E! hollywood universal monsters 2020 directors documentaries christmas movies black SundanceTV documentary talk show dexter Watching Series video on demand E3 Spring TV CBS blaxploitation Comedy Central FX on Hulu adaptation Comedy Shondaland USA spider-man ITV Family Teen 2018 disaster MTV royal family pirates of the caribbean Drama scary movies ghosts kaiju movie Tarantino Spike Spectrum Originals GIFs die hard Arrowverse The Witch blockbuster President foreign TCA Trivia Hallmark Brie Larson LGBTQ Disney Plus boxing composers vampires GoT worst movies nature Superheroe WGN adventure TV Land Esquire Pirates A&E Syfy Rock DirecTV LGBT what to watch children's TV Winter TV finale Nat Geo OWN SXSW spinoff San Diego Comic-Con NYCC asian-american The Arrangement south america quibi Cartoon Network Britbox green book TBS police drama canceled TV shows sports BET king kong Mystery target nfl werewolf deadpool streaming movies 4/20 popular Pacific Islander Marathons zero dark thirty TruTV dark teaser mockumentary 90s slashers Marvel Television binge TV movies Tumblr high school Superheroes FX Endgame breaking bad NBA Ghostbusters women chucky reboot Paramount Plus rotten movies we love Turner Classic Movies Rocky Star Trek Biopics Writers Guild of America Summer remakes Tubi Chernobyl A24 CNN jamie lee curtis politics game of thrones Sony Pictures films Pop Super Bowl TV One rt labs critics edition BBC America Quiz The CW strong female leads Emmys FOX Chilling Adventures of Sabrina HBO Max ratings trailers Ovation cancelled DC Universe Star Wars OneApp best Nominations BET Awards cars a nightmare on elm street Best and Worst The Purge sag awards Hear Us Out Thanksgiving History cats international game show YouTube Red stand-up comedy Interview stoner fresh mutant Marvel Elton John Cannes Avengers See It Skip It New York Comic Con Opinion psychological thriller parents streaming Year in Review Logo Holidays Image Comics book emmy awards 20th Century Fox Musical cults renewed TV shows FXX 21st Century Fox PBS golden globe awards Amazon Studios Television Academy TCA Awards SDCC anthology First Look comics godzilla GLAAD Black Mirror television Amazon Prime witnail transformers halloween tv concert Comic-Con@Home 2021 zombie NBC spanish Song of Ice and Fire Holiday Sci-Fi lord of the rings Fantasy Heroines comic book movies TCA 2017 zombies discovery name the review james bond TNT Emmy Nominations Music Schedule franchise crime venice canceled feel good The Academy Disney streaming service El Rey political drama superman hispanic heritage month Disney historical drama true crime Travel Channel Fall TV olympics Rom-Com 2016 HBO Go Grammys reviews suspense Binge Guide 007 blockbusters aapi jurassic park Photos Mindy Kaling Sneak Peek docudrama Lifetime Christmas movies social media slasher wonder woman Country Shudder Hallmark Christmas movies Western worst kids independent YouTube Funimation Lionsgate biopic crime drama Creative Arts Emmys DGA stop motion National Geographic casting cancelled television 71st Emmy Awards Martial Arts boxoffice psycho Reality Wes Anderson USA Network king arthur anime Box Office IFC