Disney film continues Sleeping Beauty adaptation
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” hit theaters, Oct. 18th. The film, produced by Walt Disney Studios and directed by Joachim Rønning, is a sequel to the original “Maleficent” film released in 2014, which grossed just under 800 million dollars. The film, like the first, follows the journey of the infamous Disney villain who first appeared in the original “Sleeping Beauty” movie from 1959.
The first film followed Maleficent’s rise to power and evil. It opens with a preface to the beloved tale of Aurora’s curse to fall into an eternal slumber by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel. Maleficent [Angelina Jolie] was once the protector of the Moors, the story’s mythical setting, but after human betrayal she became spiteful.
When the man who had betrayed her, King Stefan [Sharlto Copley], had a daughter, Maleficent arrived at the christening to bestow a “gift” to the child. The one loophole to the spinning wheel curse is that the cursed individual can be awakened by true love’s kiss.
Aurora [Elle Fanning] is sent away to live in a cottage with three fairies to care for her and protect her. Maleficent watches over the young girl as she grows up, and comes to care for her. Realizing her maternal affection for the girl, the dark fairy attempts to undo the curse. She is unsuccessful in her efforts and leaves true love’s kiss as the only solution.
Aurora discovers the truth about Maleficent after growing so close to her. She flees to her father’s castle just in time for her 16th birthday. The young Prince Phillip [Brenton Thwaites], whom Aurora had developed feelings for, tries to kiss her awake, but his efforts fail.
Maleficent then apologizes and kisses her forehead, awakening the young girl. As the fairy’s motherly feelings for Aurora qualify as true love, the Moors are restored from gloom to glory.
The new film continues this story. Five years after the death of Stefan, Aurora rules as queen, working alongside Maleficent who serves as the protector of the land again. With no regard for the fairy’s heroic actions, the neighboring kingdom Ulstead still views her as a villain.
Unfortunately, this kingdom is the land that Prince Phillip [Harris Dickinson] is from. Phillip proposes to Aurora and she accepts, a union which Maleficent warns the young queen against. In order to persuade the powerful fairy that marriage is a good thing, she convinces her to join her and the new in-laws for dinner.
King John [Robert Lindsay] and Queen Ingrith [Michelle Pfeiffer] of Ulstead provoke Maleficent during the dinner by accusing her of violent acts and trying to harm her. Maleficent attempts to flee, but she is wounded as she tries to fly away and falls. She is rescued by a creature similar to her.
In the following tweet, Disney promotes the “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” trailer and encourages viewers to see the film in theaters.
— Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (@Maleficent) October 26, 2019
It is then revealed that Maleficent is a Dark Feys, a species of extremely powerful fairies that are almost extinct because of human persecution. Maleficent is the most powerful one because of her direct bloodline to the Phoenix. She is the one that the Dark Feys need to end the war with the humans, either through peace or violence.
Queen Ingrith’s deep hatred for fairies leads to her plan to massacre them all at Aurora’s wedding, with the help of her faithful servant Gerda [Jenn Murray]. At the start of the wedding, the battle between the Kingdom of Ulstead and the woodland creatures begins. At the same time, the Dark Feys attack but they are quickly overpowered by soldiers.
The battle rages on and leaves the audience on the edge of their seats, wondering if peace will be restored to the kingdoms of fairies and humans.
In the following podcast, Toryn Triplitt discusses the difference between “Maleficent” and “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”.
I viewed the film about five days after it had been released. The film is beautifully made and a wonderful experience. It has suspense, sadness, happiness, takes you on the journey of reconciliation and the division of family. Sacrifices are made and bits of the classic film is even threaded into the new story.
The creator’s special effects are beautiful and the amount of effects utilized in the film provides an exciting experience for the audience. All the fairies and woodland creatures, even the Dark Feys, are all elaborately detailed in texture, wings and effects.
Disney Studios is very well known for its cartoon films, animators and realistic effects in the live-action remakes. For example, their live-action versions of “The Lion King,” “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella,” and others that will be released on Disney’s private streaming platform Disney+ show the mastery of Disney animators.
Despite the film being very well produced, it felt rather slow to me. It seemed like it was dragging on at certain points. For example, the battle scene at the end of the film goes on for a solid amount of time before Maleficent even shows up.
During this time, the same thing keeps happening; Dark Feys keep get shot down and woodland creatures are destroyed while Aurora struggles to escape the castle. There were multiple other times earlier in the film where things or dialogues would go on just a little too long.
The second one is inferior to the first Maleficent film, in my opinion. The first held a more stimulating storyline and was not as dragged out. Personally, I think the storytelling was more well done in the first adaptation.
For anyone who enjoyed the first film as much as I did, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is a good continuation. I highly recommend watching the first film before viewing the new one, as the movie is set five years in the future from where the first one ends. It is good to have knowledge of the backstory, especially for the first hour of the film.
I most likely will not see this film in theaters again, but I own the first one on DVD and will probably purchase the second once it is released.
The film is still being shown in theaters and you can catch a showtime at Regal Edwards Fresno, Maya Cinemas, Sierra Vista Cinemas, and more! Check showtimes on Fandango at theaters near you. All three of these theaters are still showing the film around 15 times per day with varying showtimes. Make sure to check it out!
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