Usually within the first few minutes of a film, I have a general sense of whether or not I’m going to like a movie. And I didn’t have a good feeling at the beginning of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Luckily, the feeling quickly subsided and I spent 1 hour and 58 minutes re-immersing myself in the imagined world of life beyond the Sleepy Beauty fairy tale. It was a thoroughly enjoyable movie, full of visually stunning scenes, beautifully intricate costumes, and, of course, a happy ending. All the makings of a solid theater-going experience, if you’re an average theater-goer, that is.
If you’re like me and can’t help but lend a critical eye to everything you watch (seriously, it’s annoying sometimes), you might want to read through and decide for yourself if Maleficent, Mistress of Evil is worth seeing in the theater.
What’s Maleficent 2 All About
Without giving you any spoilers, it’s been five years since Maleficent and Aurora strolled off happily into the sunset. Aurora is now Queen of the Moors with Maleficent seemingly acting like a very moody advisor. She’s also referred to repeatedly as Aurora’s godmother.
The reality is that it has been five years since the release of the movie, Maleficent, which I actually adored. And you may have forgotten the ins and outs of the movie unless you rewatched it recently (which I didn’t). So I was going into the film with a rusty memory and my now 12 year old didn’t have much of a recollection of the movie he saw when he was 7.
It’s definitely not necessary to have seen the first film, although it definitely helps to know why we like Maleficent and why Aurora is living happily ever after with her in the woods. But if you have seen it and have forgotten most of the film, you’ll get enough reminders of the original story to pick it right back up.
In this film, Aurora has come of age and is courted by Prince Philip, he of the usually curse-breaking kiss. (In the first film, it was the “mother’s love” that Maleficent felt toward Aurora that broke the curse). The role has been recast so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t recognize Harris Dickinson who plays Philip.
Side note: He’s looks incredibly similar to Josh Dallas, who played Prince Charming on ABC’s Once Upon A Time.
With an impending marriage that will unite their kingdoms, the in-laws get involved and let’s just say it doesn’t go well.
What You’ll Love About Maleficent, Mistress of Evil
Much like the first film, this feels less fairy tale and more fantasy. And you won’t hear any complaints from me. In this day and age when we’re used to a shot for shot live action recreation of fairy tale films, Maleficent is refreshingly creative.
The story dives deeper into Maleficent’s origins and helps her to figure out her place in the world. All with an incredible cast (including Chiwetel Ejiofor) and amazing costumes. Seriously, this entire film sometimes feels like a costume designer’s thesis.
There’s also a lot of action – in fact, I’d say more action than story. So if you’re worried about your kids not wanting a mushy love story, don’t worry. They’ll be plenty entertained, as my 12 year old son was.
And it’s Disney so, of course, you’ll get your (mostly) happy ending).
What Was Not So Great about Maleficent, Mistress of Evil
This movie was heavy on costumes, action, and special effects, and not so much on the story. But that’s okay. Sometimes you don’t need a deep, think piece when you want to be entertained. But I do have just a few things to nitpick – because that’s what I do.
Why is it that every single British actor can sound more American than an American and yet Americans simply cannot do a British accent. Sure, we gloss over the Rs and call it British but the accent were just no good (I’m talking to you, Michelle Pfeiffer).
I may be premature on this but there are plenty of creatures in the film that seem placed there just to make people go “aw” or giggle. They are the Jar Jar Binks of the film and I found it distracting. Then again, little kids may love them and ask for a stuffed Pinto for Christmas (it looks like a more animated version of a hedgehog).
Overall Thoughts on Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
I wasn’t pleasantly surprised nor was I disappointed. The movie gave what I was expecting. The actors were well cast and we all collectively loved the heroes and hated the villains.
I’d give the movie a B rating or a strong 7.5 out of 10. Proceed with caution with your young children but otherwise prepare for a visual spectacle.