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

54%

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

Comedy E! The Arrangement Sony Pictures AMC Disney dceu Biopics Film Festival Hulu The Witch SDCC Spike golden globes TIFF television Polls and Games 2018 Box Office thriller blaxploitation Song of Ice and Fire 2015 Photos Election Star Wars The CW TruTV comiccon Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt DC streaming service based on movie adaptation science fiction TV crime crossover sequel TCM Rom-Com Oscars Trophy Talk diversity elevated horror IFC Films nature Spectrum Originals jamie lee curtis Food Network Sundance 007 DGA Mary poppins transformers Acorn TV Amazon facebook sitcom cults anime Mystery Writers Guild of America discovery BET Tomatazos adventure Heroines Esquire FOX TBS APB 24 frames Adult Swim Countdown Summer SundanceTV mockumentary Ovation talk show First Look mutant Watching Series Cannes YouTube Red Sneak Peek Pixar Marvel PBS National Geographic 45 Awards MTV hist Awards Tour Christmas cooking USA President Cosplay Rocky Paramount Network richard e. Grant social media Year in Review Creative Arts Emmys Country Western E3 Warner Bros. Certified Fresh Pop ABC Family finale Bravo Star Trek docudrama space Britbox Interview San Diego Comic-Con psychological thriller cats spy thriller WGN Action strong female leads Trailer RT21 Mudbound TNT Starz miniseries Women's History Month technology VICE Horror SXSW ITV Grammys Extras Fox News CNN American Society of Cinematographers Vudu medical drama PaleyFest war Super Bowl harry potter Animation YA TLC aliens Rocketman Rock Reality Competition Pet Sematary Tarantino crime thriller natural history unscripted A&E FXX NBC RT History X-Men teaser zombies Nickelodeon Kids & Family Winter TV Thanksgiving DC Universe Toys LGBTQ biography Paramount Shudder Comic Book VH1 2019 police drama Captain marvel Fantasy Mindy Kaling Sundance Now Infographic casting Valentine's Day spider-man ESPN dramedy comic Epix Music Marathons Black Mirror Crackle Schedule supernatural Trivia Teen cinemax CBS Lionsgate political drama Syfy boxoffice composers Musical travel GoT festivals Sci-Fi Set visit Video Games disaster Brie Larson Reality TCA DC Comics GLAAD See It Skip It Masterpiece Winners HBO dragons New York Comic Con Musicals 20th Century Fox Comedy Central green book zombie Martial Arts GIFs Calendar CBS All Access Character Guide CW Seed Red Carpet Apple CMT History period drama ABC TCA 2017 justice league true crime anthology Superheroes USA Network Anna Paquin crime drama serial killer Podcast Ellie Kemper OWN singing competition MSNBC robots what to watch Stephen King ratings Universal El Rey Cartoon Network 21st Century Fox Chilling Adventures of Sabrina award winner Comics on TV Columbia Pictures Pirates Lucasfilm Disney Channel Premiere Dates MCU Lifetime Quiz Elton John Netflix Logo cops Freeform dc BBC America NYCC Nominations 2017 Showtime Drama Opinion witnail vampires theme song Fall TV Spring TV Superheroe Tumblr FX binge politics Nat Geo 2016 Walt Disney Pictures Amazon Prime DirecTV zero dark thirty IFC Holidays Shondaland Mary Tyler Moore historical drama TV Land BBC streaming psycho Dark Horse Comics Best and Worst doctor who sports romance Mary Poppins Returns Ghostbusters Emmys YouTube Premium