Coming to theatres this Friday from director Joachim Ronning and Walt Disney Pictures to continue the story of MALEFICENT: Mistress of Evil.
Aurora (Elle Fanning) is now Queen of the Moor, doing her daily duties and, on this day, being proposed to by Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson). She and Phillip are thrilled until they both realize that they must tell their respective parents. Phillip rides off to talk with his mother Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) and father King John (Robert Lindsey).
Diaval (Sam Riley) over hears the proposal and flies off to forewarn Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) who doesn’t take the news very well. Letting Aurora know how she feels, it is the young woman that pleads with the woman who has been her mother to go to the castle and meet Phillips parents. Wanting her happiness, Maleficent begrudgingly agrees.
The town is on high alert when Aurora, Maleficent and Diaval arrive at the castle gate. Being introduced to the King and Queen, they all sit down to dinner. Almost immediately there is a bit of shade being thrown by the Queen towards Maleficent bringing up the past. Aurora senses it and tries her best to keep the fae calm. Eventually a line is crossed and Maleficent stretches her wings. When the King falls to the ground, the Queen screams out that a curse has been placed on him.
Not willing to wait around for the guards, Maleficent commands Aurora to join her but when that doesn’t happen, she swiftly flies away. Waiting on the roof is Gerda (Jenn Murray) who sends a buckshot into Maleficent. Falling into the sea she begins to sink and unexpectedly rescued by fae Conall (Chitwetel Ejiofor) who takes her to a place where other fae are in hiding. He tells her things she never knew and meets another hot headed fae Borra (Ed Skrein).
The Queen prepares for war with secrets beneath the castle and Maleficent realizes that her Moor is under attack. Trying to save what she can, it is Conall that is now wounded. Not wanting to wait any longer, the Queen decides it’s time for a wedding but Aurora feels as if she is being forced to change.
As the castle prepares, a secret is unleashed on the fae in a battle that can only be won by the total destruction of one side or the other. It is time for secrets to end and an understanding between human and fae to come forward before everything each side holds dear is destroyed.
Jolie as Maleficent returns to a role she has made truly her own. In this film she has a difficult time seeing her ‘beastie’ grow into a woman. Wanting her to stay in the Moor is everything and Prince Phillip is what stands in the way. In this film the character discovers more about her own roots than she ever knew before but still must make decisions that are painful. Jolie is entertaining, tries to be as good as she can but when push comes to Queen-shoving, Maleficent will do whatever it takes to save those she loves.
Fanning as Aurora has grown into a young woman who is ready, after five years, to finally wed the man she loves. Torn between the family she is going to marry into and the family she already has, the struggle is before her when Maleficent loses her temper. Being a smart young woman, Aurora knows that something isn’t quite right and goes about finding the truth that is going to hurt those she loves. Fanning has given Aurora a very strong sense of herself and, like Maleficent, gives her character some bite when necessary.
Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith is just about as wicked as they come who doesn’t really have a reason other than she’s been unhappy for far too long. There is a crazy here that makes Maleficent look like a saint because the Queen is being devious, manipulative and hurts those that don’t deserve it in a very short period of time. Pfeiffer gives it everything she’s got with every evil look she can muster but she looks fabulous in the tiaras!
Dickinson as Prince Phillip is a young man in love with a girl who runs barefoot on the Moor. He wants to bring both kingdoms together to live in peace but can’t seem to get anyone to agree on how to make that happen. With Aurora he knows they can work together but what he doesn’t know is that forces are against him. Riley as Diaval wants Aurora to be happy but also wants Maleficent to keep her cool and he is the one caught in between the ladies.
Ejiofor as Conall is a fae who is a lot like Prince Phillip in that all he wants for his people is peace and the ability to not have to hide away in a cave. He doesn’t want his people to fear humans and hopes Maleficent can be the conduit for that to happen. Skrein as Borra is a bit like Maleficent in that he is full of rage towards humans and can only see attacking them as an answer to what separates them.
Other cast include Juno Temple as Thistlewit, Imelda Staunton as Knotgrass, Warwick Davis as Lickspittle, Lesley Manville as Flittle, Miyavi as Udo, Judith Shekoni as Shrike and Alex Martin as Tundra.
MALEFICENT: Mistress of Evil is a bit of a stretch in the title. The story of Aurora and Phillip takes another step with Maleficent dragging her feet all the way. Funny thing is, she had every right to do it considering the underhandedness and shade thrown by Phillip’s mother the Queen. Jab after jab I’m surprised that it took so long for the green mist and red eyes to appear! Immediately I was on Maleficent’s side and cheered her on the entire film.
That being said, this is totally a Disney movie from start to finish. It has love, family, doing what’s right no matter what the cost and it is all in a beautiful castle setting. I do think that there seemed to be a bit more violence than I was prepared for favoring one side over the other. Of course the kid in me (and it’s still there where Disney is concerned) loves the idea of the Moors filled with creatures of all kinds bringing the silly, cute and loyal to the surroundings.
Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time throughout the film. That’s important because even though there are parts that are intense, it is still about family, friendship, knowing who you are and being ready to defend those that might be defenseless. As I said, all Disney qualities!
In the end – go beyond the fairy tale!