Maleficent: Mistress of Evil starts up pretty much where the last film ended. Aurora (Elle Fanning) is now the queen of the fairylands and Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) watches over all, and everyone is happy. In this time period there is no news or social media, so even though Maleficent is now good, and their land is at peace, that doesn’t mean other kingdoms know this. So, in their eyes, Maleficent is still the mistress of evil. Enter Queen Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), she hates the magical creatures, and after her son Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) proposes to Aurora, she sees her way to destroy all magical creatures.
Genocide seems to be an unusual story-line choice for a kids movie, but that’s the direction the filmmakers went in here. I understand that magical creatures are easy characters to use as victims, but in our Hobbit/Harry Potter/Star Wars galaxies, magical characters are not expendable. Since none of these creatures do any harm, it once again makes ‘Man’ the bad guy. Maleficent was clearly the bad one in the first film, now Man has to destroy everything he doesn’t understand, or that scares him. Lovely moral lesson for all of the children who are watching to be mesmerized. On that note, the film is gorgeous with lush scenery, fantastic makeup, and incredible special effects work.
Jolie gets to give a bit more of an emotional performance, since she is the hero this time around, and that was refreshing. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the “real” evil queen with such vile perfection that it may be one of her best performances. It reminded me of Imelda Staunton’s Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter films, and that is a great compliment coming from me. The filmmakers need to hope that the target audience doesn’t see past the bright colors and action to the ugliness of this story of hate and murder that is really at the heart of this film. Too bad. because it was so pretty.
Swanner: 1 star