Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil Movie Review - Angelina Jolie's Film Is A Boring Sequel

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil Movie Review - Angelina Jolie, as good as she is, comes off as just another complicated costumed crusader, one more comic book baddie, like Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck.

 Share
EMAIL
PRINT
COMMENTS
Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil Movie Review - Angelina Jolie's Film Is A Boring Sequel

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Movie Review - Angelina in the film. (Image courtesy: disneymaleficent)


Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Lindsay

Director: Joachim Ronning

Ratings: 1.5 Stars (Out of 4)

Disney's revisionist Maleficent took the Sleeping Beauty story that inspired the studio's own 1959 animated classic and turned it upside down, right on the horned head of its titular protagonist. In that live-action retelling - a sort of supervillain origin story - the evil sorceress Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) became, as described in the 2014 film, both hero and villain. Aided and abetted by digitally enhanced cheekbones that looked sharp enough to fillet a fish, Angelina Jolie delivered a deliciously complex, even sympathetic portrait of a fairy scorned so badly by a faithless lover that the betrayal twisted her morals.

A new sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, picks up, more or less, where the first film left off: in the never-never-land known as the Moors, a CGI paradise now ruled by the former Sleeping Beauty, Aurora (Elle Fanning), and overrun with mythical critters straight out of some version of Tolkien Lite.

Aurora's love interest from the earlier film (Harris Dickinson, replacing Brenton Thwaites) is still in the picture, and, as the film opens, this anodyne Prince Charming - er, Phillip - has just proposed marriage to Aurora.

r3kehtd8

Angelina Jolie in a still from the film.

It's a political union that will bring together two worlds at tenuous odds: the Moors and its magical denizens, and the human kingdom of Ulstead, ruled by Phillip's mother and father. It's also a marriage of love, assuming you're willing to suspend disbelief enough to entertain the notion that the young actors have any actual chemistry. (They don't. But then again, there's no such thing as Dew Fairies, either.)

The nuptials entail a meeting of the in-laws over dinner, a social requirement attended by Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) and King John (Robert Lindsay) and Maleficent, who virtually raised Aurora. (Aurora calls her "godmother." Maleficent, for her part, calls Aurora "beastie." It's kind of cute.)

Such get-togethers are always awkward, but in this case it's especially so. Maleficent, as a fairy - or Fey - is not trusted by Ingrith, and before dessert has been served, all hell breaks loose. Soon there is out-and-out war between the Feys, the hitherto-exiled race from which Maleficent has descended, and the Ulsteaders.

Unfortunately, there is no central relationship here to replace the one in Maleficent, a poignant dynamic that centered on the mixed feelings - hate gradually giving way to love - between Maleficent and Aurora. In its place, Mistress of Evil (whose title, you will discover, does not refer to Maleficent) substitutes the schematics of military battle for character development.

It's a big and busy film, characterised by a focus on fighting and weaponry. If Maleficent was dark - and it was - "Mistress" is positively black. In a troubling scene that evokes unfortunate associations with concentration-camp gas chambers, all manner of adorable characters are rounded up and massacred with a toxic, powdery red poison. Think twice about taking very young children - or even some susceptible adults - to this at-times shocking, if less than graphic, gloom-and-doom fest.

jblka74o

Angelina Jolie in a still from the film.

But the worse sin is: It's boring. Disney obviously spent a lot of money on special effects. The screen virtually overflows with computer-generated wizardry and cutesy flora and fauna, to a degree that cloys. And the war sequences are tedious and numbing.

But unlike the first film, there's no one to care about. And Angelina Jolie, as good as she is, comes off as just another complicated costumed crusader, one more comic book baddie, like Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck, misshapen by society and bent by resentment. Oh there's a happy ending - of course there is - but it feels tacked on: an afterthought slapped onto the last 10 minutes some juvenile edition of Joker.



(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.

NDTV Beeps - your daily newsletter

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................