Perhaps the biggest about Maleficent Mistress of Evil is that’s not a documentary about Amanda Holden. Instead it’s a sequel to the unexpectedly huge success of Maleficent which made $758m worldwide and this picks up off the back of the last film with Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) the original Sleeping Beauty now living with her adopted mum Maleficent Mistress of Evil (Angelina Jolie) in the moors a beautiful CGI fest of a woodland with quirky loveable creatures one of which is Pinto something of a prototype Sonic the Hedgehog lookalike who is poached along with what looks like a Rastafarian inspired mushroom by the locals from the nearby royal kingdom. If this isn’t enough to anger Maleficent she finds that Aurora has agreed to the hand in marriage to Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) not a curmudgeonly car crashing racist, but a handsome young Adonis from the same nearby kingdom.
Invited to the Palace by his parents King John, a criminally wasted Robert Lindsay and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) they attempt to bond with Maleficent over a banquet, somewhat ironic as both Pfeiffer and Jolie look like they have been on the same diet as Joaquin Phoenix went on for his role as the almost skeletal Joker. Inevitably all is not as it seems because King John ends up in a coma (yes we’ve been on dates and suffered the same effect). ‘We’ve opened our house to a witch’ cries Pfeiffer in an echo of Amanda Holden’s in-laws on first meeting her. But it’s all part of a plot by Queen Ingrith unhappy at the pending marriage and it is she who has an ulterior motive, regarding Aurora as a traitor to humans for siding with Maleficent and the rest of her woodland friends and her legion of winged wonders out for vengeance who Ingrith regards as freaks. Embarking on a sort of horticultural genocide, it’s all an effort to forge a war against Maleficent and co and in turn wipe them out.
Unlike the first film, Maleficent is a continuation with an original story by Disney favoured screenwriter Linda Wolverton whose credits for the House of Mouse are extensive and include the recent Lion King. It’s a script that embraced the #TimesUp movement as the males very much play second place to the three female leads so whilst Lindsay book ends the film, Dickinson is barely there, Ed Skrein as a half man half, psychotic pigeon continues his run of barely human characters after his cyborg turn in Alita and Sam Riley as Maleficent’s light comedy sidekick potters about as does Chiwetel Ejiofer.
It’s good to see Pfeiffer now taking a more leaf roles again even if this is pantomime baddie and Jolie still looks great with enhanced cheek bones so sharp they could be deemed as offensive weapons and a slash of red lipstick that makes her look like Cherie Blair’s attractive and less evil younger sister. It seems somewhat arrogant to announce the film as ‘A Joachim Ronning film’ and his last film, Pirates of the Caribbean Salazar’s Revenge, was an improvement on the previous installments especially when Maleficent Mistress of Evil is one of those CGI fests which unlike The Lion King’s photo realism becomes a whirl of pixels and swooping cameras throughout especially during the slightly anaemic final battle which is a reminder that those seen in the Lord of the Rings films set the bar high. In light of this Ronning’s films are hardly events movies as say Tarantino’s are and Maleficent Mistress of Evil has none of the gleeful malevolence of this first film.
Here’s the Maleficent Mistress of Evil trailer……..