“Well, well”. Five years are gone by since the world found out that Angelina Jolie is the perfect Maleficent. Now, she is back as “the bad witch” of the Sleeping Beauty, in the sequence of the Disney live-action ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’. At This Time, Aurora (Elle Fanning) is a bit older and she is about to marry Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson).
The new queen of Moors, that was raised by the evil witch who cursed her on her baptism day to sleep forever, is now mostly adopted by her mother-in-law to be. The queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) takes the role of the queen mother in this new movie-oriented by Joachim Ronning, also the director of Pirates of the Caribbean – Salazar’s Revenge.
The initial dilemma of the movie is based on how humans are fearful about Maleficent and her reputation due to the actions of the first movie. The good motherhood relationship between Aurora and queen Ingrith makes Maleficent angry, causing more ruptures in the already fragile relationship between humans and the creatures of the enchanted forest. This is the initial conflict that kicks off the movie to its greatest history about the worlds of humans and charming creatures.
Aurora has grown to be independent and queen of the Moors. She lives in peace with both sides and doesn’t understand why the world can’t follow her good trusting in the enchanted creatures. She learned how to make her own decisions, stepping out of the familiar nest Maleficent offered her from an early age.
While the first movie used King Stefan, Maleficent’s former and first love, Aurora’s father, to reincorporate the greed and the violence of masculine aggression, this second movie use queen Ingrith to explore different and subtle forms of manipulation. Mistress of Evil calls the women’s role to recognize that the face of tyranny isn’t always a man or an obvious outsider. In this case, it is a rich, blonde and powerful role woman who hides her prejudice behind her politeness and status.
Contrarily to the first movie, in Mistress of Evil we find out that Maleficent is not the only one of her kind. As Aurora attempts to fit in with her beloved’s family, Maleficent finds her heritage as a Dark Fey, a race of fairies who went nearly extinct and went into hiding for a long period of time. That retcon helps explaining why Maleficent is different from the rest of the species of the Moors, even though the movie explains how she got to the Moors in the first place.
The movie claims a strong position between contrasts. The brightness of Aurora to the darkness of Maleficent and the evil queen Jolie, against a not so good heart queen Pfeiffer. The contrast between human coldness and cruelty and the power of nature among all the different species of the movie is something else that the movie director got highlighted to this new Sleeping Beauty different kind of a story. By the end of the movie, the most delightful feature of it is seeing two majestic actresses fighting against each other: Angelina Jolie as the evident dark queen and the manipulative Michelle Pfeiffer, as the protector of the royal boundaries of the kingdoms.
However, the movie fails in leaving Angelina Jolie out of the screen for too a long time. Instead of being about the Mistress of Evil, it is a little bit too much of everything else. Nevertheless, the metaphor of the movie for the family boundaries and the need for letting the children fly away from the nest is the praise of the movie.
Sometimes, in life, family roles seem to be at stake and threatened by the appearance of new members. However, family doesn’t end with blood and Maleficent movies always evoked that message to the audience. Love conquers all.
Mistress of Evil isn’t unwatchable, but it is far from what the fans were expecting the tale to be. If the first movie was as exciting as watching the contenders in the Kentucky Derby horse race, this movie is just not as thrilling and does not make justice to the first chapter.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein and Harris Dickinson.
Author: Inês Marinho