Monday, January 18, 2021

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” Visually Decadent, Mildly Wicked

Don’t let the title of Disney’s revisionist fairytale sequel fool you. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, played by Angelina Jolie, is hardly “evil” in this film. But her mortal nemesis, Queen Ingrith of Ulstead (Michelle Pfeiffer), does assume the villainous mantle in her scheme to annihilate all Moor magical beings and seize their verdant lands. Although the trailer alludes to Maleficent returning to the dark side of magic, it’s more about her role as an outcast and wounded mother-figure coming to grips with an adult child’s struggle for independence.

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Equal parts dark fantasy and royal family drama, after a brief kidnapping scene of a Moor creature by human thieves, the scene cuts away to a naive Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) of Ulstead proposing to the equally gullible Aurora (Elle Fanning) with Maleficent at odds with the union. As godmother and guardian to the former “sleeping beauty,” Maleficent still harbors distrust toward her human counterparts and with good reason as the narrative unfolds.

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Transfixing and ageless, Jolie and Pfeiffer command the silver screen at the uncomfortable in-laws dinner introduction. When Pfeiffer’s character wickedly provokes Maleficent by claiming how Aurora will “finally get the love of a real mother,” the green flames ignite and the epic battle between maternal powers begin. The CGI landscape and adorable creatures enchant and charm viewers, but the real star of this production is the costume design and make-up. Unfortunately, the script underuses Jolie’s intoxicating presence. Instead, the audience is treated to occasional flimsy dialogue, tedious battles, and a pipe organ “death” recital so agonizing, I literally cringed in my seat.

But, my 8-year-old guest with an affection for furry fliers, thoroughly enjoyed this Disney film and “loved Maleficent’s magic and bat wings.” And to a target audience of candy-obsessed youngsters looking for a family-friendly frightening flick (say that three times!) for the Halloween season, this visually decadent and mildly wicked film might be the perfect complement.

Movie times: click here

Actors: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Harris Dickinson

Director: Joachim Rønning

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Adventure, Family

Runtime: 118 minutes

Rated: PG for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and brief scary images

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Andrea Kade
Andrea Kade
Coastal waters have always been home to Andrea, who grew up in Texas and resided in beach communities along the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, and Pacific. Always the explorer, Andrea enjoys California camping and stumbling across small towns in her travels with her spouse and three children who attend Village Elementary. Sometimes you can glimpse her admiring the architecture and distinctive plant life that makes Coronado extraordinary.She received her BA in English from Old Dominion University and her MA in English from San Diego State University where she taught for two years. In those rare moments of solitude, Andrea indulges in southern novels, far too much coffee, and biking off the beaten path. Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: