Movie Review of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Posted on October 25, 2019

 

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL MOVIE REVIEW

Have you ever wondered what Disney’s rendition of “Meet the Fockers” and “Avatar” would look like combined? Well the wait is finally over; “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is now in theaters. 

Whether or not it is a cash grab from the Walt Disney Studios, who knows? Although being the number one film for the weekend, the sequel compared to its forerunner fell short of industry speculations by earning only half of the $69.4 million which the 2014 film made.

It seems like in the midst of all these Disney live-action reboots of classic films like “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” “Dumbo,” “The Lion King,” “Aladdin” and now the continuation of the “Maleficent” franchise, Disney is sure to be using the nostalgia factor to sell tickets rather than the attempt of creating something original.

The upcoming slate of remakes includes “Mulan,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Snow White,” a spin-off based on the origins of the notorious villain from “101 Dalmatians” entitled “Cruella,” along with many more films set to fill the Disney slate for years to come. 

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” the sequel to the highly successful 2014 film, “Maleficent” which previously grossed over $758 million at the worldwide box office, is not what fans would have expected or yet anticipated despite its hard push from its promotional campaign. 

When a union between two royal lovers, Aurora and Prince Phillip, is proposed, it leads into the royal kingdoms of the fairies, the Moors and the kingdom of Ulstead to clash in a rigorous dispute after the mothers of the betrothed clearly cannot see eye-to-eye with a tease at what could possibly be a further exploration of the species of Maleficent-like beings. 

At least that’s what fans were promised. 

The sequel very much plays like a typical Disney fairy tale. There is a protagonist, an antagonist, a story about the good versus the bad with a very generic and clicheéd message of finding one’s true self, which negatively affects the overall film since it is practically a different variation of its predecessor. 

Throughout the film one would realize that the main title, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” has absolutely no relevance to the general arch of the film. 

The leading force of the franchise, Academy award-winning actress, Angelina Jolie, much like the first film, carries some aura with the character which makes her presence on-screen seem menacing and large, but unfortunately her reprisal is undercut by the choices made by the filmmakers and the film’s screenplay. 

She has very little screen time with hardly any dialogue, and when it comes to her interactions with other characters, she is only used for comedic effect, the complete opposite of the villainous take in the original 1959 “Sleeping Beauty.” She is not evil and is partly a leading force in the sequel. 

Although her physique is quite mesmerizing to look at, one must realize that her redemption character arch in the prior installment completely juxtaposes not only the title but the character’s actions throughout the movie. 

The film leans heavily on the performance of Aurora, played by Elle Fanning, so much so that it might as well be titled, “Aurora.” 

And it is not to say that the acting is flawed, there are wonderful and powerful performances all around; the actors make the best with what they have. 

To spice up the sequel it is only evident that the foe of the protagonist, Maleficent must be of the same acting caliber as Jolie, so it comes as no surprise that Michelle Pfeiffer would take the helm as the antagonist.

Rarely, however, does it live up to expectations. 

Norwegian director of “Pirates of the Caribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Kon-Tiki,” Joachim Rønning promised an emotional core to the film which is only seen in the final scene. 

Much of the decisions Rønning makes falls short of expectations and becomes a complete debacle in the third act. 

Whether it is due to my admiration for 2014’s “Maleficent” or whether I am part of what has become Disney’s dogmatic vision, the film was intriguing and has a re-watchable factor to benefit it.

Even as it may seem like the doors are shut on a third entry, it did have audiences asking for more. 

The VFX team truly outdid themselves once again taking the most beloved elements of the first film and enhancing them even more in the sequel. 

There are particular shots, mainly in the third act that will get fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe excited to see the possibilities of what Jolie and the VFX team can bring to her upcoming role in Marvel’s “Eternals.”

Maleficent might not be back with full vengeance as promised, but her return is something worth revisiting. 

RATING-

3.5/5

Director- Joachim Rønning

Cast- Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer, Elle Fanning, Chitwetel Ejiofor

 

Sebastian Guzman

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