AFTER the success of the first movie, which spinned a sympathetic tale on the classic Disney villainess from Sleeping Beauty, it’s no surprise that a sequel would be made.
Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie once again dons the long spiralling black horns and great wings of Maleficent in the Mistress Of Evil. And what a sight she is. Jolie clearly relishes her role as the powerful Dark Fae creature with super-sculpted cheek bones and ruby red lips and a seemingly mean streak.
After the events of the first movie, five years have passed and the young Princess Aurora (a returning Elle Fanning) is the current ruler of the Moors, which is home to a variety of magical beings.
Maleficent, who was the former ruler, now watches over the sprightly and innocent human girl like a mother, together with her trusted minion crow Diaval (Sam Riley). The naive Aurora believes that a time will come when both the human and magical wood folk can live together in peace.
Things get turned upside down for Maleficent when her surrogate daughter falls in love with Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) and says yes to his marriage proposal. This leads up to a meet with the soon-to-be in-laws, the preparation, and eventual wedding ceremony. But like all matters that involve family, not everything is as it seems.
Phillip’s mother, Queen Ingrith of Ulstead (Michelle Pfeiffer), has her own agenda and dark plan to seize power and rule over the entire kingdom. Maleficent then has to go into hiding after she is framed for apparently putting a sleeping spell on King John (Robert Lindsay).
The miscommunication drives a wedge between Aurora and her “fairy godmother” and the girl has to decide whether she would rather live with the humans who are her own “kind”. Along the way, Maleficent learns of her own origins and that the various Fey are now living in seclusion. Realising that she no longer is the only one of her kind, she befriends Conall (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who had previously rescued her from a mortal wound.
The Fey are also deciding to make a comeback to live freely out in the open as they once did before the humans came about. This will then pitt the humans and the rest of the magical creatures against one another in a big war. Can Maleficent and Aurora save the day?
The second live action adventure featuring Maleficent is pure Disney delight and is naturally suitable for the whole family. It takes the already known fairy tale and reimagines it, but here the story is pushed even further into new territory. Granted, not all of it makes sense and can be a little taxing on one’s sense of reality but let’s face it, this movie is an epic in the fantasy genre, so anything goes.
The movie also starts off slowly before picking up the pace and rushes off to a quick finish by the final act with the complicated conflicts seemingly resolved neatly.
No doubt it’s pretty straightforward and predictable as well but shines in its simplicity. What’s important is the chemistry between the characters and Jolie and Fanning gel well as the story explores their uncommon relationship with heart.
As the titular character, Jolie gets to emote in different ways from her snarky evil side through some comedic moments as well as dramatic ones. The viewer will certainly be in awe of her power but also sympathise with her vulnerabilities and her worries for her human daughter who is growing up fast. It’s great to see her character development and how her world has become much bigger compared to the first outing.
Pfeiffer also gives a devilish performance as the fiendish queen with a bone to pick with the fairyfolk.
Norwegian director Joachim Ronning gives viewers a lot to look at and to absorb in terms of the visuals, characters and environments that are showcased in this sequel, which adds to the spectacle of the movie. Coupled with a pretty decent orchestral score, Mistress Of Evil is worth a watch for those who love family-oriented fantasy movies.
Being a product of Disney, the message of finding your identity, expressing who you are and being accepting of everyone despite differences rings out loud and clear.
It’s a fun enough movie with drama, comedy and pageantry that most would enjoy, especially fans of Jolie, who will get to see her maternal side here.
MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL
Directed by Joachim Ronning
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Ed Skrein, Sam Riley, Harris Dickinson, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michelle Pfeiffer
Duration: 119 minutes