A review of ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
When it comes to Disney’s live action remakes, I have no love lost for them. To me, they are cash grabs of the worst kind. Disney is simply recycling a script from the past. However, one of the bright spots of this live-action remake renaissance of Disney is 2014’s Maleficent. Maleficent was an outlier because instead of merely making an almost shot for shot remake of the animated version, Disney went with a more original idea, centring the film on the evil Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.
The film may not be a classic, but Angelina Jolie dons the wings of Maleficent well, and focusing the film on the villain made it feel different than other Disney adaptations. Of course, because the film made a worldwide box office gross of $758 million dollars on a $180 million dollar budget, a sequel was practically guaranteed. Thus, we have Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
After seeing this movie at an early screening, I must say that whoever thought that this was a good idea should have taken a long nap to think it through.
There is very little to like about this movie. While the production shows glimmers of Disney magic through some set pieces, every other part of this movie is terrible. The previous movie ended with Maleficent as a hero, and Aurora (Elle Fanning) unifying the two kingdoms and seemingly starting a relationship with Prince Phillip (played in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil by a re-casted Harris Dickinson).
How does the movie get around the fact that Maleficent is no longer evil? Simple, the story is just retold in a fairy tale style game of telephone, with the story being altered and warped with each telling. This movie is set five years in the future from the first movie. Phillip was there for what happened. He would surely tell his kingdom that Maleficent is a hero, as the most credible storyteller. Also, does this kingdom not have any contact with Aurora’s people, who would also tell the story of the hero Maleficent? It is later explained why the story turned against Maleficent—but again, it was only five years ago.
Along with this glaring issue, if you have seen any movies in your life, you can easily figure out where every part of this story is going. There is little imagination to be had in this story.
As for the cast, everyone is sleeping through their performance in this movie. Despite being in the title, Maleficent barely feels like she is in the movie. Jolie is hardly in the movie, and when she is, it feels like she is a side character. The worst performance must be Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith though. Pfeiffer overacts the hell out of this movie. As for the other actors, their performances are completely on auto pilot. Seeing such lackluster performances, I’m surprised that someone saying the phrase “That cheque’s not going to bounce right?” didn’t make it into the film.
Of all the sins this movie commits though, the biggest one may be simply that it fails to justify its own existence. There was no need for this movie. Maleficent was a standalone movie, and a good one at that. The movie tries to make a reference to not judging people based on one bad experience and hearsay, and there may be some illusions to modern day racial tensions—but in the end this is a boring and unnecessary sequel.
I fail to understand why Disney thought that this was a story that had to be told, outside of the huge profit intake of the first movie. This movie is a one hour and 58-minute curse that can only be broken when the credits start to roll.