Pay attention all you pixies and fairies as well as you Disney fans because Maleficent is back. This is part two and it’s called Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
With razor-sharp cheekbones and big black horns, Angelina Jolie plays up the title role of Disney’s most iconic villain, she also does lots of staring.
In this upside-down tale, the lady in black (Jolie) is really the good guy, but no one seems to notice, and the lady in white (Michelle Pfeiffer) looks good, but in reality, is bad. (Can you say ‘Wicked?’) We also have the ponderous role of the innocent (Aurora, played by Elle Fanning) who only seeks to marry her prince and make ‘nice’ to both ladies.
There’s a war of course and the disenfranchised who are bound to a remote island with their wings and horns get to break out and join the pretty serfs and nobles in a fight to the death at a castle that very much resembles the one at Disney(world/land). The last third of the film is a bit dark, but it’s Disney—so the pixies and fairies are saved—well, some are….
The ever -beautiful Fanning lends a centimeter of reality to this lost screenplay that works hard to tip its hat to every race, creed and gender—even the animals wear ‘rainbow’ colors—ok it’s nice, and hats off to the costumes, make-up and art direction, but at 119 minutes it felt long. Jolie has one expression: contempt, and she uses it a lot. It’s nice to see that Michelle Pfeiffer has perfected her side-eye, and she did give her character a ‘Miranda Priestly’ flavor (think Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada) —until she loses it.
The film was directed by Joachim Ronning and written by Linda Woolverton, Noah Harpster, and Micah Fizerman Bleu. And these writers had lots to say—maybe too much for one movie. They slid in some politics. There was talk of closing borders and rounding up citizens, as well as a smidge of environmentalism: ‘humans often stray into the Fae land and pick the flowers and steal the creatures.’
The animation and special effects are dizzying, and the furniture was pretty. I did, however, worry how Ms. Jolie could sit down and not damage her wings.
My two cents: take the kids to Dairy Queen, read them a bedtime story, may be something by Dickens and re-watch The Princess Bride, or better yet, find a local production of Wicked.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is in theatres now. Stay home.