Disney villains are taking centre stage, and the woman (fey) making us all want to cross over to the bad side is back once again. Maleficent: The Mistress of Evil shoots us right back into the magical world of Sleeping Beauty and we pick up a little while after the first film left off.
Now, as Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and Aurora’s (Elle Fanning) relationship has continued to blossom, they are closer than ever with a heartwarming (albeit unlikely) connection. However, there’s another relationship in Aurora’s life that could cause this one to go awry. We already know from the previous film that humans and the fey have had a troubled past, especially in Maleficent’s case. So a marriage between Aurora and Prince Phillip tying her to humans indefinitely isn’t exactly on her bucket list. But, she does her best, for the love of her “daughter” and arranges to have dinner with Phillip’s parents, King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer.)
However, in an attempt to impress her future in-laws, Aurora makes a pivotal and heartbreaking mistake by providing Maleficent with a scarf to conceal her horns, hoping the King and Queen would feel more comfortable. It quickly becomes apparent that hiding who she is is not Maleficent’s forte.
As this is Disney, of course, there’s more to it. And this scene scratches the surface of what then goes on to a battle between adapting yourself to your surroundings and remaining true to yourself. Obviously, the latter prevails. Every time. The film touches on a real-world topic of overcoming our predetermined differences, breaking away from traditions and out-of-date ideas that hinder us and striving towards harmony. Sounds pretty relevant, right?
Sometimes it takes a little Disney magic complete with mind-blowing visuals and fantastical beasts, to dress up and simplify the complex world we live in and tell us that peace is possible. This is what we’ve turned to Disney for for almost a century – hope.
Unfortunately, as a huge Angelina Jolie fan, my qualm with this film was that there just wasn’t enough of her. Rather than driving the plot forward, she seemed to get swept up in it and have it drive her. The storyline revolved more around Aurora, which felt as though it was an attempt to secure the audience’s relationship with her for future films and potentially passing the horns and staff (metaphorically) onto her. Which, if it is the case, we’re not ready for it.
It felt as though writers kept her away from the action to prepare for that “yaas” moment towards the end. A mistake that seems to be recurring in film this year.
With quick wit, sinister and sassy one-liners, Maleficent’s attitude is the reason we were all so looking forward to the film. No offence, Aurora, but princesses are out and mistresses are in. The comedic value behind Maleficent’s nonchalant and generally cold attitude is what made us fall in love with her in the first place. She just doesn’t have time for nonsense. But, in an attempt to show that even the hardest hearts can be cracked, we lost a lot of the essence of who Maleficent was. And, in a plot that was seemingly about being yourself, that seemed a little contradictory.
Overall, the film left me feeling a mixture of warm, fuzzy Disney feelings with a message that hits you right in the heart as well as a hint of betrayal that the character that we knew and loved had “evolved” from an unyielding force to a passing breeze. There’s nothing wrong with maintaining a touch of evil, Disney!