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

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