Horrorible Review: “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil poster

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Back in 2014 Hollywood showed how far they’d come from the part live action/part animated world of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (that still has one of the best puns ever in a movie*) with a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that included mutilation of the main character to begin the film. Pretty rough stuff for a kid movie, and super effective. Angelia Jolie played the title character, a larger than life, aeronautically daredevil fairy with horns like bull. The strongest part of the movie was how sweetly the writers redeemed her character through the force of love. The second strongest part was how deviously funny it is. Even in some dire situations, there’s a constant undercurrent of humor as Maleficent glows with a gleeful vengeance.

Set a couple of years after the first movie, everything is running smoothly under the Queen of the Moors while Maleficent is off doing…something else. Aurora is coping, but as more of a Do As I Say Not As I Do leader, unlike Maleficent, who was more of a Just Do It Or Else kinda ruler. The Moor peoples conspire to get Aurora and Prince Phillip alone so he can propose and before you know it, there’s a fraught meeting of the future in-laws.

All the original actors and creatures are back, and Michelle Pfeiffer plays Prince Phillip’s mother Queen Ingrith. She is the mother of all evildoers, the smackdown monster, the meanest person anywhere she goes. Played by Ms. Pfeiffer she’s the most fascinating part of the film, with hate and bad intentions practically oozing from her pores. She’s got game, too, with a really smart plan on how to eliminate all fae from the world forever, aided by a super evil and multi-talented minion played by Jenn Murray.

The new Maleficent is not like the older model. This time around there is more of everything. More fae, more evildoers, bigger schemes, more action, even move makeup. Well, there’s not more of everything because there is very little humor and not much Jolie either.  Where the original film is a visually gorgeous retelling of a classic fairy tale, the new film is a Hollywood blockbuster action adventure. Michael Bay didn’t direct it, but he could have. Maleficent appears in parts of the film, but the bulk of the story is centered around Aurora and what’s going on in the gorgeous castle concealing major evil in its depths. When Maleficent is on screen she’s mostly glaring at everyone, baring her scary sharp teeth and slinging threats. She doesn’t look quite the same as in the first movie, with more prosthetics on her cheeks and shoulders to give her a sharper look to complement the sharper tone.

It’s not a bad film by any means, and if you want a high action battle scene that goes on forever and includes bringing down castle spires like it’s the set of Pacific Rim, then go see it. The animation is still great and the acting is all solid and the plot hangs together just fine. My companion enjoyed it and isn’t happy with me for saying anything bad about it so there’s a good chance you’ll have a better time than I did. Despite all I’ve said above, I didn’t hate the movie, but I did go in expecting something I didn’t get which makes me testy.

LINKS:

Official Trailer: Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – In Theaters October 18!

Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil | “#1 Movie in the World” Spot

*I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way. (Jessica Rabbit)

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