Film Review: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Release Date: 18 OCT 2019
Runtime: 1h 58mins
No, we still haven’t quite gotten over JOKER, but there is another villain on the big screen that we do need to think about and focus our attention on just for a sec. This review will contain spoilers so readers be aware. Coming 5 years after the original Maleficent live-action was released to the world, the second film delves into the next stage of Aurora’s life and into more family feuds.
Angelina Jolie returns in this second instalment of the Disney Sleeping Beauty spin-off. She is joined alongside an ensemble cast made up of, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sam Riley and Chiwetel Ejiofor. It is noteworthy to point out that if nothing else you should see this movie just to watch Angelina, she is utterly stunning as the Disney villain and is ever the movie star.
We all know that Aurora was cursed by Maleficent in the first live-action movie because of one snubbed invitation to the celebration of the year, King Stephan (a lost tragedy from Maleficent’s past) had a treasured new baby daughter. But having gotten over all of that and understanding her love for Aurora, she crowned Aurora Queen of the Moors and lived harmoniously. Mistress of Evil kicks off where the first movie ended. When Maleficent learns that her precious beauty has just blissfully arranged to marry Prince Phillip she agrees to “meet the family”. Things take a turn for the worst as one might imagine and Maleficent discovers a new rival in Queen Ingrith, Prince Phillips mother and Aurora’s new mother-in-law to be.
The problem with this rendition is that the Mistress of Evil doesn’t actually fit Maleficent but instead appeals more to Michelle Pfeiffer’s character, Queen Ingrith: killer of fairies and hater of moor folk. The Queen uses Maleficent as bait and frames her for cursing King John, this would get rid of Maleficent (temporarily) and spark a war with the Dark Fey (Maleficent’s kind). Another issue is that Angelina isn’t really a huge part of this story rather, Queen Ingrith.
We have Maleficent’s face all over the marketing and yet, when we watch the movie, she doesn’t really have all that much involvement. This was quite disappointing as Angelina breathes so much life into these films and is in fact a huge part of why they succeed. There is a story line that draws our attention onto the Dark Fey and their history but, we still don’t really get that quality time with Maleficent and her real opinion on the matter with Aurora. Nonetheless, she does pitch up at the end. Unfortunately, the film does end up becoming a bit muddled because of all of this and there is fairy dust literally everywhere. Dark Fey, Moor Folk, Fairies, Queens, Wars, and a Phoenix – no, not Joaquin. But be that as it may, there are some tender moments between Maleficent and Aurora that would actually bring a tear to a glass eye. Like, they had us at “hello beastie”. Although this is sweet, we still don’t think the film was all that exciting.
Overall, this movie didn’t really hit the spot in terms of storytelling and did get a bit wandered in the middle. With a whole host of special effects to distract and strange looking fairy like creatures, there is no escaping the fact that this film is a chromatic spectacle. The makeup department deserve a gold medal for dressing up all of those Dark Fey, especially Maleficent. When Angelina does make an entrance she completely captivates and owns the screen. That being said it didn’t excite our imaginations enough, it was too cluttered, and very predictable. If you are a fan of the franchise it might be worth taking a trip to the cinema but you probably won’t leave feeling that impressed.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – 2.5/5
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It might be worthy to note that Disney have inserted a clever array of Disney references in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. This is a technique that can be sourced in other Disney films as well that the company ingeniously insert deliberately in order to keep their audiences focused on the Disney brand, subconsciously. A few examples in Maleficent are:
1) Cinderella: Aurora calls Maleficent her fairy god mother and Maleficent uses her magic in this movie to transform Aurora’s grubby dress into a magnificent wedding gown.
2) The use of the word “beastie”, thus keeping our attention focused on Pirates of the Caribbean and the infamous Jack Sparrow. It is no secret that Disney are thinking about re-vamping the swashbuckling franchise and that they also have Pirates themed attractions at their theme parks.
There are probably a lot more to be discovered, can you pick out any? (Leave a comment below)