Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Movie Review: "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" (2019)

Director: Joachim Rønning
Year: 2019
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes

When Queen Aurora agrees to marry Prince Phillip, his mother, Queen Ingrith, uses their engagement as an opportunity to unleash an evil scheme to destroy Maleficent and all magical creatures of the Moors.

"Maleficent 2" movie still where Angelina Jolie covers her horns with a scarf before meeting the king and queen of Ulstead
"Maybe we can exist with the humans." (Image Source)
The box office has been dominated by Disney this year, but "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" managed to fly under the radar a little bit, at least in the United States. This sequel to 2014'a "Maleficent," the live-action spinoff of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty," is directed by Joachim Rønning, who is known for making the movies "Kon Tiki" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales." The first film offered an alternate perspective on the events of "Sleeping Beauty," taking Maleficent from evil villain to sympathetic, misunderstood anti-hero in under two hours. "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" continues that narrative a few years after the events of the original. In the last five years, all kingdoms have existed in peace. Aurora (Elle Fanning), who is now Queen of the Moors, receives a marriage proposal from Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) of Ulstead. Though Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is wary about the upcoming betrothal, Phillip insists that he loves Aurora. He and his father, King John (Robert Lindsay), hope their union will unite the humans of Ulstead with the Fae creatures of the Moors once and for all. Phillip's mother, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), however, has other plans. She hopes to use her son's engagement party to stir rumors and create animosity that will lead to a war between mankind and magical creatures.
Michelle Pfeiffer's Queen Ingrith dresses in a sparkling white gown and greets Maleficent in a movie scene from the 2019 film Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
"This is no fairytale." (Image Source)
When we first saw "Maleficent," we remember enjoying its fresh take on a villainous (well, not so much now) character. That being said, it wasn't a movie we were clamoring to revisit, and it wasn't exactly in desperate need of a sequel. Still, it made so much money that a sequel was almost inevitable. You know the Mouse House. We weren't really looking forward to watching "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil," but we were once again surprised by how much we enjoyed it. It's a little bumpy and goofy to start, but it picks itself up and dusts itself off towards the end of the second act to finish strong. It's a lot more action-packed and much more message-driven than its predecessor. Angelina Jolie is super charming and surprisingly funny as the titular character, who has a perfect sharp-edged hard exterior and a soft squishy, dry-witted interior. We found ourselves genuinely convinced that she cares for her goddaughter and wants what's best for her. We also learn a lot about Maleficent's tribe of exiled Faes, and it turns out, she might not be the only one left. Maleficent must discover who she really is (the mandated kid's movie message) and what she really wants once Aurora sides with Queen Ingrith and Prince Phillip after a very public duping and conflict. New to the cast this time around is Michelle Pfieffer, who is a pitch-perfect addition to the film (minus the not-so-great accent). Pfeiffer manages to create a truly deplorable character in Queen Ingrith, who is filled with hatred for the creatures of the Moors because of what she went through when she was younger. As evil as Ingrith is, she is not the most despicable person in this movie. That award goes to her henchwoman Gerda, played by Jenn Murray. We absolutely despiiiiiiised this character, which we guess means Murray did her job exceedingly well because we sure as heck wanted her to DIE. Despite all of these strong female performances, one character is left out for long periods: Aurora. Even though the entire narrative involves Aurora's marriage to Prince Phillip, she is relegated to the sidelines until the last possible moment. Elle Fanning does what she can with what she is given, which isn't much. Beyond the acting, this is a visually gorgeous movie that has some cool action sequences that explode on the screen with color and excitement. We thought that Rønning did a great job building up the tension toward the climactic showdown at Ulstead.

This movie also offers some compelling subtext about racism, xenophobia, etc. It shows the dangers of propaganda and how lies and rumors that are repeated and spread enough can cloud the minds of people and change how people perceive moments in history. These moments set certain characters down a path of no return. Their anger and suffering led to hatred, war, and violence, which will only ever lead to more hatred, war, and violence, not peace and prosperity.
Elle Fanning star alongside Michelle Pfeiffer in the Disney movie sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
"Love doesn't always end well." (Image Source)
All in all, "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" is a fun and entertaining watch, and though it wasn't a sequel we asked for, we're glad we got it.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.0/10
RT Rating: 41%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

Please be sure to check out Lolo Loves Films all over the internet!

No comments:

Post a Comment