October 16, 2019 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Movie Review)
A good lesson in life to learn, there are two sides to every coin. Good and evil are usually not mutually exclusive, and while Fantasy films can often help you to escape a cluttered mind, like any art, they often mimic real life. Such is the case with the new Dark Fantasy flick Maleficent: Mistress of Evil which is set to hit theaters everywhere on Friday, October 18th through Disney Films.
Five years after the original Maleficent debuted in 2014, Joachim Rønning (Kon-Tiki 2012, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 2017) comes on to direct the sequel along with key cast members – Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning – returning to reprise their roles. Additionally, veteran film star Michelle Pfeiffer (Scarface 1983, Batman Returns 1992) joins the cast as Queen Ingrith, while Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats 2017, Trust 2018) gives a layered performance playing Aurora’s love interest, Prince Phillip.
As implied in the title, the main character, Maleficent, played by Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted 1999, Changeling 2008), is that of a horned bird like fairy creature filled to the brim with magical powers, and plagued by evil thoughts. Her story always involves a struggle to fight for a pure heart, and her tendency is to prevail. That said, as dominantly apparent in the first film, the bond of love between a mother and her child can not be broken, but this time that bond is put to its ultimate test.
With the five year gap between each film, a certain growth in all aspects is quite apparent upon viewing Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. For example, there is a dedication to the aesthetic of the world originally created, but the costumes, special effects makeup, and overall production design step it up tenfold for the sequel. The storyline begins where it left off, and runs away with the suspense which keeps the audience engaged the whole time.
The goddaughter of Maleficent, Aurora, portrayed by Ellie Fanning (Super 8 2001, Neon Demon 2016), is once again the center character in which the suspenseful plot is based around. While war is once again brewing between kingdoms, some new creatures emerge from the darkness. These new creatures are led by noble performances from Ed Skrein (Deadpool 2016, Alita: Battle Angel 2019) as Borra and Chiwetal Ejiofor (Serenity 2005, 12 Years a Slave 2013) as Conwall. Then there are returning fairy aunties who are back with all charm as well. A balance of compelling and developed characters, they all come together in a story that is slightly more evolved cruel take on the world as a whole.
Then of course there are the special effects and with the prevalence of more quality CGI spreading its wings all over films today, some of the suspension of disbelief can get lost if not perfectly combined with the tangible. Fortunately this is the case with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil which is a delicate balance reality and CGI enhancements that work magnificently well as seen in such films such as The Lord Of The Rings series. Not always the case, the virtual reality in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil created along with the cinematography offer audiences a adventurous ride right from the start.
All these factors in mind, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil speaks to the modern era in a very important way. In fact, it contains the moral key to how all humans should be living in harmony and peace, although, it seems that is a far cry from any foreseeable reality at this point. Still a very valuable lessons for all, the entertainment value also wins out with this sequel. Above everything it is all brought to life by the cast – Jolie gives a specially crafted and heartfelt performance really pushed her character to new boundaries and Fanning only seems to get more charming with age.
Overall, Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil is brought from a sly darkness into a blindingly enthralling momentum that serves as promise for more sequels to come. A job well done on all accounts, Cryptic Rock gives this beautifully dark fairytale 4.5 out of 5 stars.