Maleficent: Mistress of Evil picks up five years after the first movie. For the uninitiated, Maleficent is a re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty fable.
However, the evil queen is cast as a sympathetic and misunderstood character allowing an entirely new world to be built around this central theme.
If you want to see the original Maleficent, it’s currently available on Stan. But back to my review…
Aurora (Fanning) is now Queen of the Moors and her godmother, Maleficent (Jolie) is still keeping a watchful eye over her. When Aurora’s boyfriend Prince Philip (Dickinson) proposes, Aurora is delighted. Her godmother, yeah not so much because as we all know, a boy broke her heart and stole her wings when she was just a girl.
Aurora is having none of it and begs Maleficent to behave and come and meet her future in-laws, King John (Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Pfeiffer). Watching Aurora and Maleficent’s familiar Diaval (Riley) coach her in smiling and exchanging pleasantries is actually quite funny.
At the dinner, Queen Ingrith shows her hand as an evil queen and, declaring she now considers Aurora her own daughter, Maleficent cracks the shits, goes all green fire and forbids the marriage.
Aurora, embarrassed by her godmother, defies her and sides with the smug Queen Ingrith.
But that’s not the end of it for we soon discover that nasty Queen Ingrith not only wants Aurora, she wants to destroy all the creatures of the moor and wipe out the Fae entirely.
Should I watch it?
This mythical world is gorgeous to wander into for a few hours. It’s all simply exquisite. The characters and the creatures of the Moor are as random and adorable as you’d expect.
This sequel is much darker than the first. Far darker as Maleficent, wounded by the hurts of her own past, strives to protect the innocent Aurora from the evils she knows lurk close by in the shadows.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to the secret thrill of watching Jolie and Pfeiffer at war with each other on screen.
Pfeiffer as the beautifully aging Queen, always dressed in white and decked out in her finest jewels. And Jolie is at her angular, flawless, horn wearing best – stalking around ethereally.
But the pure Queen is evil, and the evil Sorceress is good. It makes for an interesting juxtaposition. I won’t spoil it for you, but they do go at it.
It’s also interesting watching three women fight it out on screen not over a man, but over their respective countries. Although marriage is the ultimate goal for the young and in love Queen Aurora.
It’s still Disney and they need to keep that Disney Princess myth ticking over for the next generation, I guess.
With the calibre of the actors they’ve assembled for this movie, I must admit I was expecting a little more. It’s not the actors but the story that lets everyone down. Even for Disney, it’s a little light.
Having said that, if you can leave your expectations at the door and just sink back and enjoy this for the Disney fairy tale that it is, you’ll enjoy it just fine.
2 1/2 stars
Running Time: 118 minutes
Release Date: In cinemas now
Who is in it: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, Robert Lindsay