by Sudha Sudhaker ‘21
On October 18, Disney Pictures released its highly anticipated film “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.” The dark fantasy adventure film is a sequel to the 2014 “Maleficent” film. Returning in her lead role as Maleficent, Angelina Jolie makes her return to the big screen after five years.
In the original “Maleficent”, the story follows the events that shaped the Maleficent into the dark character that she is. Maleficent is a powerful fairy living in a magical forest realm known as the Moors. As a young girl, she falls in love with a peasant boy named Stefan, but his selfish ambition causes the two to grow apart. Maleficent eventually becomes the protector of the Moors, while Stefan becomes King of the Moors through betraying Maleficent. Devastated by Stefan’s betrayal, Maleficent curses his newborn daughter Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), but she also takes on a secret role in raising her. Eventually, Aurora falls in love with Prince Philiip of Ulster (Harris Dickinson). It is revealed through the course of the movie that Maleficent’s protective bond of true love that she has with Aurora is what reverses the curse and frees the princess.
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” takes place 5 years after the events of the first movie, as Aurora is now trying to handle the responsibilities of being queen. Aurora’s upcoming wedding to Prince Philip sets the scene for the conflict in the movie. Maleficent meets Aurora’s future mother-in-law Queen Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), who is an evil queen hatching a devious plot to destroy the land’s fairies. In an attempt to stop her, Maleficent joins forces with a seasoned warrior and a group of outcasts to battle the queen and her powerful army.
Although the movie has interesting subplots and excellent cinematography, the lack of direction with many of the characters’ story resulted in overly done movie.The first movie had a unique retelling on the classic fairytale, which allowed the viewers to feel sympathetic towards the villain. In the sequel, the views are already familiar with Maleficent’s character, which takes away from her mysterious nature and causes the movie to overextended the storyline. The movie was more of a showcase of its highly budgeted effects than a continuation of the classic fairytale.
The most rewarding experience of the film is seeing Jolie’s performance, as she perfectly captures the persona of a protective, yet misunderstood parental figure. Jolie still manages to evoke sympathy in the audience, even through her wicked laugh and outspoken demeanor.
Ultimately, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” does not live up to the success and quality of its predecessor. Although the movie does have its strengths, the overly complicated plot and confusing storyline made for an unnecessary sequel.