Hot flicks: Maleficent

A product of Hollywood's recent fascination with gritty reboots of familiar tales (Snow White and the Huntsman, Red Riding Hood), Maleficent sees Sleeping Beauty's villain take her place in the spotlight.

Like Snow White and the Huntsman's Evil Queen Ravenna, Angelina Jolie's (Changeling) Maleficent has been given a sympathetic back story to add to her prominent cheekbones, glowing eyes and devilish horns.

Maleficent is a happy young fairy living in a beautiful forest when an invading army upsets the peace of her land. Faced with this threat, she becomes ruthless in her attempt to save her home, but she is betrayed, and the king's army prevails.

Desperate for revenge, Maleficent curses the king's infant daughter Aurora, condemning her to a death-like sleep upon her 16th birthday. Maleficent keeps an eye on the girl and as years pass, begins to realise her mistake - the princess may hold the key to restoring peace.

Proving that she is by no means an inferior Fanning, Dakota's little sister Elle (We Bought A Zoo) fills Princess Aurora's shoes in this big budget affair. With her long blonde hair and big eyes, Fanning is the spitting image of her animated counterpart.

Stepping into the princess's smaller shoes will be Jolie's youngest daughter, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, making her acting debut as the younger Princess Aurora.

Maleficent is directed by first-timer Robert Stromberg, who has won Oscars for his art direction in Avatar and Alice in Wonderland.

Maleficent is in cinemas from May 29.

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