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Review: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (PG)

Written by Film

In Disney’s break of practically remaking every animated film into live-action, Angelina Jolie and her cheekbones return in the sequel to 2014’s Maleficent, that proves for a second time that our traditional ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ aren’t always what they seem.

Elle Fanning is back as Aurora (now Queen of the Moors), who wishes to marry Prince Phillip and unite their two kingdoms. Maleficent, on the other hand, obviously isn’t as enthusiastic about the engagement, whilst the royal family seems almost too happy to welcome Aurora as one of their ‘own’. And while Aurora is caught up in her new life, Maleficent finds one she didn’t even know existed.

Mistress of Evil, thankfully, doesn’t fall victim to the Marvel curse (the sequels are always the worst: Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 2) – if anything I actually enjoyed this more than the first. There’s some interesting plot points here that could make for a trilogy: it’s magical, but it’s certainly not perfect, and whilst I could’ve done with more of the stronger, feminist Aurora that we saw in the first film, Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer’s characters prove better examples here, outstanding in both action sequences, and conversational pieces.

Special credit especially goes to Ellen Mirojnick, the costume designer for Mistress of Evil. It’s clear that every detail has been considered, from the contrast in colour between Aurora and Maleficent (the first time the two share a scene, Aurora wears pale blue, Maleficent shades of somber brown and black). Even Sam Riley’s Diaval/raven costume seems to be made in Maleficent’s image, as he third-wheels in most scenes as comic relief… same Diaval, same.

It’s a sequel that I’m not sure anyone actually asked for, yet it’s not what you think it’s going to be. Your classic fairy-tale, albeit from the perspective of someone we always considered the ‘villain’, manages to be funny, heart-breaking, and honestly if I’d seen this as a kid, I might have even been a little scared. Ken Loach would probably label this as a “hamburger film” and “not cinema”, but I think it’s worth more than your average McDonald’s on a Saturday night.

Rating: 4/5

Last modified: 31st October 2019

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