In many respects “Missing Link” is the slightest film in LAIKA’s impressive slate of stop-motion animated films. “Mistress of Evil” alsocompletely contradicts the story and message of the original, making both films worse as a result.
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Angelina Jolie returns as the horned antagonist in the Maleficent sequel. Despite the excellent source material and a decent cast, Bill Condon’s remake of Beauty and the Beast” has the unfortunate distinction of being the only live-action Disney remake that has absolutely no new interpretation of its material. It’s just the exact same story but longer, and only because of unnecessary additions that arbitrarily pad the running time, confuse the characters’ motivations, and shoot holes in the already thin plot. Add in some ugly character designs and an utterly forgettable new song, and you’ve got a film which made Disney a lot of money, but artistically has no particular reason to exist.
Angelina Jolie and her kids kicked off the magic of the “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” red carpet at Monday’s LA premiere. Jolie’s son Maddox is off to college. But the rest of the gang was there giving moral support. From left: Pax, Shiloh, Vivienne, Mom Angelina, Zahara and Knox.
The newest part of the Maleficent story begins years after the story of Maleficent” and recounts the complex and multi-faceted relationship between the evil horned villain and the soon-to-be Queen. The two will face new challenges and adversaries and will form new alliances as they strive to protect those that matter most to them.
Joining them in the film is a seriously star-studded array of names including Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith, Robert Linsday as King John and Sam Riley as Diaval, Maleficent’s companion. Chiwetel Ejiofor will star in a yet-to-be-unveiled main role, with Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville and Juno Temple appearing as key fairies. Prince Phillip, Aurora’s true love, will be played not by the first film’s original actor Brenton Thwaites, but by newcomer Harris Dickinson.
Jolie’s Wicked-esque revisionist Maleficent was wry and playful, a glint of devilishness in her eye mixed in with the vulnerability of someone who’s been betrayed by love. Jolie made the 2014 Disney movie such a great experience — it had something new to add to a well-worn classic and anchored it with such a winning performance.
The sequel “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” would seem like a perfect complement to the first film, because it’s built around a clash between Jolie and another great ’80s and ’90s star, Michelle Pfeiffer But having set up this potentially juicy conflict, and having detailed a scenario that would put it front-and-center while deepening Maleficent’s relationship with her human goddaughter Aurora ( Elle Fanning ), the movie repeatedly fails to get out of its own way. The result is a disappointment that’s more crushing than an outright bad movie would be. The original, despite its flaws, had moments of primal power and deep understanding of what drives people, qualities that are mostly lacking here.
Aggressively silly but, at least, somewhat aware of its camp value, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” finds Angelina Jolie returning to her iconic role. Unfortunately she’s written out of significant chunks of the movie, forcing the preposterous storyline (involving faery-poisoning flowers and, in the film’s most baffling moment, its pipe organ delivery system) to struggle, and fail, to capture our imagination without her. Michelle Pfeiffer, as the villainous queen, appears to be having fun, and the scene where she and Jolie trade catty barbs over a dinner table is an undeniable highlight.
Angelina Jolie is back as Maleficent, the villain who becomes enraged at the castle when a royal holiday is proclaimed and the entire kingdom is invited to come and pay homage to the newborn daughter or King Stefan and the Queen-everyone but Maleficent. In her rage, she curses the infant princess, setting into motion a series of events that may lead to the princess’s death when she’s only 16.
The cinematography was spot on as well as sounds and visual effects. There are also many iconic scenes which are straight out of the original classic animated movie which greatly impressed me. Overall, I enjoyed watching it. It’s a fun-to-watch movie. The narrative of the film can easily appeal to the young audience. However, it is best to watch the 2014 Maleficent film before watching this movie so that you will understand its story better.
Female villains have long been useful scapegoats, repositories for social and cultural anxieties about men, women and power. The original Maleficent” pushes against that stereotype with a protagonist who’s at once hero and villain, which means that she’s finally neither. Much like Frozen,” it insists that women can be complex and that even a princess doesn’t need a prince to justify her life. Women can work together, love one another, find their own way. In 2014, when Maleficent — rather than the prince — delivered the kiss that roused Aurora, it felt like an awakening. This new flick doesn’t just feel like a retreat, it also feels like a poisoned, candied invitation to sleep.
James Bobin’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland” certainly looks like an improvement on the original, with vibrant production design and weird visual effects, and a tone that’s mercifully less grim. But the time-travel storyline, which sends Alice back to the early days of Wonderland (sorry, Underland”) to become the cause of all its miseries (including a genocide), retroactively injures the original film, which had a boatload of problems in the first place.
Up until this weekend, Disney’s Dumbo” held the unfortunate distinction as the studio’s worst opening of the year with $46 million in North America. However, the Maleficent” sequel bested that movie’s $71 million launch overseas and could continue to outperform director Tim Burton’s remake abroad. Dumbo” cost $170 million and ultimately earned $353 million globally, numbers that would be cause for celebration among most studios but became the rare disappointment for Disney at a time when billion-dollar grossers have become the norm. It also means that Dumbo” failed to make money, another black mark for the studio.
Jolie’s magnetism, plus the way she toes the line between being a fairy version of Batman and a menacing mistress of not-quite-evil-but-pretty-close, is why these Maleficent” movies work. She fits the character as well as her endless cycle of evolving costumes.
On the other hand, Maleficent, the main character, comes back as a even more debauch person, funny and imposing. She has strong opinions and decisions, showing the reasons of her actions. Maleficent is, although considered a villian, really empathic. Angelina Jolie does a good acting job on bringing the best version of Maleficent, a big highlight on the film.
A behind the scenes look at the feature changed that, however, with both returning stars and brand new cast member Michelle Pfeiffer showing off what appears to be an epic battle that will pit Jolie’s complicated fairy against a brand new adversary: Pfeiffer as a queen determined to make Fanning’s Princess Aurora her own.
The first Maleficent movie wrapped up the revisionist history of one of Disney’s biggest villains, turning Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) into a tragic figure and true love’s kiss into an expression of maternal love. Disney’s sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, gets around the problem that there’s no real story by shedding almost every connection to the original Sleeping Beauty, crossing high fantasy with hijinks-filled romantic comedy, and adding in just a sprinkle of self-insert wish fulfillment.
One of the biggest pulls for me with the trailers was the addition of Michelle Pfeiffer to the cast. Pfeiffer and Jolie staring each other down in the trailers looked fierce and powerful. The two heavyweight actresses could not find better opposites. The dinner scene where they square off across the table is positively electric.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is likely to have its fans given their admiration for the original but when compared to the aforementioned films, it’s sorely lacking. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is an excessive CGI fest that relies far too much on effects and grand battles, not to mention a disturbing genocide and biological warfare plot line that may be hard to explain to younger kids.
Maleficent retreats into the Moors, transforming it into a place of darkness and her former lover becomes king. Listen to Maleficent 2 Mistress of Evil Soundtrack now. There’s no final confrontation between Maleficent and Ingrith, but Aurora does find love for her dark godmother again.
WOOLVERTON: It was really important to me. I honestly didn’t even know it, at the time, but now when I look back at it, every single female protagonists that I approach, be it a princess or Alice, or whatever it was, it was always in an effort to nudge the culture forward and to nudge the perception of what a woman is forward. Luckily, I was able to convince the Disney folks and, luckily, I had the power of an incredible organization, who has worldwide reach, to push that agenda. So, when I look back on it, I can say, That’s what I was doing, all along,” but I didn’t really know that.
Screenwriter Linda Woolverton once again makes you feel compassion and empathy towards one of Disney’s darkest villains. Aurora and Prince Phillip’s wedding aside, “Mistress of Evil” puts a message of tolerance and peace between two warring nations front and center. A few dark moments during the film may scare little ones, but the sequel itself isn’t frightening.
Maleficent 2 starts similarly to the first movie. From an offscreen narrator, we learn that the kingdom has not changed its outlook at all on Maleficent. They still blame her for cursing Aurora and have conveniently forgotten that she was the one who broke the princess’ curse.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is the official name of the sequel. The film reunites Angelina Jolie with her Princess Aurora, Elle Fanning. This is Jolie’s first sequel since Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, all the way back in 2003. And since she passed on sequels for Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Wanted, and Salt, this is kind of a big deal.