In the recently released Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is invited to the castle of King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), the King and Queen of Ulstead, to host a dinner welcoming Queen Aurora (Elle Fanning), ruler of the Moors and Maleficent’s god-daughter, to the family as their son, Prince Philip’s (Harris Dickinson) bride.

The story unfolds as Aurora’s dark godmother is openly insulted by Queen Ingrith and chaos lands King John under a curse supposedly brought on by Maleficent. More turns follow and we see a whole tribe of Dark Fae’s — Maleficent’s kind — hiding from the humans for generations in fear of being hunted and forced to extinction. Eventually it is up to Maleficent, Queen Aurora and Prince Philip to fight or make peace, making an allowance for each other’s differences.

Jolie is magnificent in her portrayal as Maleficent and the chemistry between her dark fiery personality and Fanning’s angelic calm is a treat to watch. Too bad that the two are separated for the most part.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil gives more insight into the supposed-ness behind the evil of Maleficent’s character and takes further the notion that what may have been initially relayed as moral corruption in the earlier 2014 film Maleficent, actually has its roots in how a woman scorned by the patriarchal ways of the world can unleash her fury.

The other side to her venomous reputation is bringing up a human god-daughter and making her the queen of the same lands of which she herself was previously the queen, and is now happy to serve as a protector of all. The film works to breakdown her feelings of estrangement and otherness, especially with the revelation of more of her kind in existence.

More feminine force dominates the movie in the face of Pfeiffer, the arch-villain who is camouflaging her own devious designs behind Maleficent’s known ugly storminess. Pfeiffer’s portrayal as well as her dialogue exchanges with Jolie and Fanning add good depth to the movie and the CGI characters are well-executed, along with the costumes and sets.

Other welcome characters include Diaval (Sam Riley), an empathetic and comically driven raven who is given human form by Maleficent and Conal (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a Dark Fae who rescues Maleficent and makes her aware of her true spirit.

The movie touches upon the ideas of genocide and the impact of intolerance towards those different from us can have on our own selves, while encouraging teamwork and what can be the merits of rediscovery for a person. What pulls down the charm of the movie is the seemingly unending battle sequence between humans and Dark Faes, which is a drag to sit through.

It does give a feeling of the 2009 movie Avatar, but does not bring anything new to the table. It made the sequence feel like a rerun and gave the impression that the filmmakers ran out of ideas on how they can add more depth to the characters.

Published in Dawn, Young World, December 14th, 2019