Photo by Disney
Angelina Jolie has made her long-awaited reappearance as the infamous dark fairy in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil after the release of the first movie, Maleficent, in 2014. The movie was released on Oct. 18 and similar to real life, it fast forwards five years in time to focus on the current conflict between the human civilizations and the mythical creatures that live in Maleficent’s Moors.
The movie picks up after peace has been restored to the land of the Moors, which leads to Aurora being crowned the new queen and getting engaged to Prince Philip (played by Harris Dickinson) despite Maleficent’s initial hesitation about their relationship. At this point, Maleficent is considered a protector of the moors and a noble figure to them, but to the human people of Philip’s kingdom of Ulstead, she is still the same villain she always has been.
While the movies are an interpretation of the 1959 animated production of Sleeping Beauty, it is interesting to see Maleficent’s evolution from an evil queen to a complex dark fairy. Maleficent and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil are both live-action movies that feature CGI enhancements that help portray the complex character that is Maleficent. The most recently-released sequel features far more special effects, which I believe pays tribute to the whimsical nature of the original cartoon.
The most interesting part of this movie adaptation, however, is when we get to look deeper into Maleficent’s reputation, her relationship with Aurora and the discovery of other creatures like her. After the engagement is announced to both Maleficent and Prince Philip’s parents, King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) of Ulstead, they all sit down to dinner where, all hellfire quite literally breaks loose. Tensions are high when Queen Ingrith tries to undermine Maleficent’s motherly role in Aurora’s life and Maleficent inevitably loses control, seemingly cursing the king, which alludes to the original spindle situation.
I enjoyed the movie, though, because the casting and cinematography were breathtaking. As always, Jolie did an amazing job portraying a misunderstood character by winning over the audience with a spectacular and moving performance. Elle Fanning also stepped into her role of Aurora again flawlessly, relaying the essence of innocence with nothing but grace and stellar execution. The ethereal setting was also a selling point of the movie because you can tell how meticulous they were with the staging and CGI, which was prevalent but not overdone.
The movie is expectantly action-packed with amazing visuals that appeal to a wide variety of audiences. With it being an adaptation of a classic children’s film, it is a movie that kids would enjoy. The star-studded cast and themes of parental sacrifice also appeal to adults though, making it a movie the whole family can enjoy. I think there is something in this movie for everyone, from the inspiring underlying message of motherly love to the intricate graphics that make it so visually appealing. In my opinion, this movie was definitely worth the wait and a great complement to both the original Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent.