After seeing Maleficent: Mistress of Evil at the cinema today I can confirm that if I go out for Halloween this year then Maleficent is my number one costume choice. Maleficent was always my favourite Disney villain as a child (She scared me the most and Aurora was my faviourte princess until Tangled was released) and Maleficent is still my faviourte as an adult (she just doesn't scare me anymore). So, my big issue with these live action adaptations is that Maleficent is just not evil enough, I like my villains to be well, villains. So that brings me to Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, a film that builds on the 2014 film: Maleficent (which I felt was poorly paced and narratively floored), now given the title I gave this film a chance because of the word 'EVIL', but there is very little evil Maleficent on show which is disappointing. However, I didn't hate the film, but I'm not sure I enjoyed it. So, read on to find out my thoughts!!
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
Plot wise Maleficent: Mistress of Evil had it all; war, weddings, awkward family dinners, magic, mystery, awkward jokes. Plot wise this film had great potential, but the majority of the film comes off as over dramatic and rushed. The film starts off rather slow, we are introduced to the story of Sleeping Beauty (Elle Fanning) and the curse Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) placed upon her, then the fairies and the other woodland creatures help Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) pull of a proposal, Maleficent is displeased by the match. We are introduced to Philips parents: Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) and King John (Robert Lindsay) and it becomes apparent that Ingrith is the villain of the narrative and not Maleficent. The film tries to make you see Maleficent as the villain at one point, but the attempt is half-hearted at best. As the film progresses Maleficent discovers that she is not the only dark fairy, there is in fact a whole race of dark fairies that live on an island. Maleficent has to choose between fighting the humans and Aurora whom she believes has turned her back on their bond or fighting for peace between the humans and the fairies. Whilst I do really like elements of this narrative, at times it felt like a bad comic adaptation rather than a serious Disney live-action remake and the film was poorly paced, some parts where rushed and others were lingered on which really let the narrative down.
Cast wise Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is full of big names, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville reprise their roles as Knotgrass, Thistlewit and Flittle. We are introduced to Dark Fairies Conall (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Borra (Ed Skrein) both of which are assets to the film, I certainly would have liked to have seen more of Conall. Warwick Davis features in a important but undistinguished role. Sam Riley is back as Diaval Maleficent's loyal crow and confidant, Riley really shines throughout. But the main event is Michelle Pfeiffer, Elle Fanning and Angelina Jolie, Elle is perfect throughout, Michelle is believable and great to watch, she is a villain with motive and just the right amount of brutality, her last scene is the only one I really didn't like. Angelina is once again the perfect Maleficent! I really wish we got to see Jolie as an evil Maleficent, but I'll take what I can get because she is brilliant. You cannot help but love Maleficent, Jolie brings her to life with such complex emotions and expressions, we see her vulnerable, emotional, angry, happy and scary and I think that's why part of me likes this film. This film is a great example of strong female characters in lead roles, and I love that - it is probably the best thing to have come from these movies.
Now I'm not sure is anyone else got a Game of Thrones season 8 vibe whilst watching but I certainly did, two scenes are so similar, the first is when we see Maleficent and another dark fairy fly above the clouds which is similar to the dragon scene in 'The Long Night' and then in the final battle Maleficent takes out the wall defences in the same way Daenerys does (The Iron Throne). But I might be the only one that thought this. One thing besides Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer that I loved about this film is the costumes, they are divine! The attention to detail and the design that must have gone into each costume we see is incredible, and it shines though. Visually I have to admit this film is pretty great, every time we see Maleficent use her magic is perfect, the CGI is believable, and the green shade is the perfect shade of Disney villain lime. Moreover, once you get over the whole Aurora and Maleficent being 'Mother and Daughter' thing the relationship between the two is pretty brilliant and holds so much potential.
Just like the first film Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is let down by misplaced tone and poor pacing which is such a shame when you consider the brilliant performances given by the cast and the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora. I truly went into the cinema expecting to hate it but I found myself engaged at all times and I'm still conflicted between liking it and not. If you loved the first film then you will love this one, if you wanted a more evil Maleficent then prepare to be disappointed. Even writing this review I feel so frustrated by the pure potential this film had, a potential that leaks through but fails to fully materialise.
Thank you for reading, please let me know what you think xx
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