When a movie only focuses on the emotional change of a single character (the hero), you’ll likely get a mediocre or bad movie. That’s the problem with “Maleficent.” Angelina Jolie is perfect as Maleficent but beyond her perfect appearance as the character, the script lets her down
Watch any good movie and you’ll notice that the hero changes. Then you’ll notice that the secondary characters also change in similar ways as the hero. In “Legally Blonde,” the hero is looking for love, her hair dresser is also looking for love, her mentor (a law professor assistant) is falling in love with her, and her law professor wants to have sex with her, which is related to love.
In “Maleficent,” the hero has been betrayed by a man she thought she could trust and love. Yet while the hero changes from evil to good, none of the other secondary characters seem to have any goals or manage to change in any way. Sleeping Beauty doesn’t seem to have any goals and doesn’t change. The three fairies protecting Sleeping Beauty don’t seem to have any goals and don’t change. Even the villain doesn’t seem to have any goals and doesn’t change. “Maleficent” focuses on one character and neglects to give the other characters goals and a reason to change. That’s why “Maleficent” feels flat as a mediocre movie. When the secondary characters have no reason to exist other than to support the hero, there’s little reason for the audience to care about anyone else or the rest of the story.
Now think of a good movie like “Rocky.” Rocky changes, his trainer changes, and his girlfriend changes. They all have different goals to grab that one last chance at life before it’s gone for good, so “Rocky” is a much more interesting story than “Maleficent.”
When your hero changes, your secondary characters must also change. Not only does this make your story richer, but when your secondary characters have similar goals, these multiple changes and goals strengthen the overall theme as well. When only your hero changes, then your story is far weaker and less engaging, which creates a mediocre or bad movie that all the special effects and A-list actors can’t overcome.