maleficent: mistress of evil

DIRECTOR: Joachim Ronning (pirates of the caribbean: dead men tell no tales)
starring: angelina jolie, michelle pfeiffer, elle fanning, and harris dickinson

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

The complex relationship of Maleficent and Aurora continues to be explored as they face new threats to the magical land of the Moors.

I enjoyed the original Maleficent but found that it was a little forgettable, not a Disney film that went down in my all time favourite lists. But slightly 'dark Disney, a new spin on the Sleeping Beauty tale, an earth shattering performance from Angelina Jolie, and money at the box office saw a sequel put into motion. And, I've very happy to say, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is better than its predecessor.

A formidable queen causes a rift between Maleficent and Princess Aurora. Together, they must face new allies and enemies in a bid to protect the magical lands which they share.

 

There's enough of explained at the film's opening to remind you of all the comings and goings from the previous film, and you're caught up to speed. 

 

The film makers however don't play it safe here and add more beauty and depth not just to this world but also to the narrative.

 

This leads to weddings being planned, magical critters going missing, and mysterious and murderous plots being hatched. Which is all glorious stuff of the highest form of fairytale lore.

 

But this film belongs to Jolie and Pfeiffer as they battle it out for control of the kingdom and of their children's affection. It's intriguing to watch two powerful women characters from two very similar backgrounds take very different paths. The scenes where they face off against each other is worth the price of admission alone as a glance, a deathly stare, or a curled lip speaks volumes. 

 

The world that they have expanded is a visual treat and a credit to the CGI artists and production design team that birthed it. It has a real wistful, fairytale feel about it while also feeling lived and breathed in.

 

With two powerhouse performances from Jolie and Pfeiffer and a vastly expanded story and world, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a visual treat even better than the first.

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