All I could picture as the closing credits began for "Maleficent," the big-budget fantasy picture that Walt Disney Studios is releasing on Friday, was a whole generation of women explaining how deeply and permanently broken their view of men was by Angelina Jolie when they were just princess-crazy little girls.
It is safe to say I will not be taking my kids to see "Maleficent," a film that is so swollen with psycho-sexual subtext that I felt like I was watching a true hijacking of the mainstream. But… by who? Robert Stromberg, who directed the film, is a production designer who has been involved in creating some of the richest, most detailed fantasy worlds on film over the last decade, and who worked in visual effects for 20 years before that, and he certainly brings that skill set to bear on how he establishes a sense of time and place in "Maleficent." This is a world divided into the half that is run by men and the half that is protected by a much older magic, filled with powerful creatures, and it is lush, almost every frame packed with something new to see.