Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

FILM REVIEW: Stunning animation makes Maleficent a pretty good sequel

Published on

When Angelina Jolie strapped on black horns in 2014 to play the Disney villain we knew the least about no one could have imagined Maleficent would go on to earn more than $700 million.

When a movie brings in that kind of cash in this day and age a sequel is inevitable – who knew fake cheekbones were so profitable?

So the winged beast is back for another round – this time Princess Aurora (who Maleficent raised as her own child and made Queen of the Moors in the first film) wishes to marry her sweet Prince Phillip and unite not only their hearts, but their two countries.

Ulsted and the Moors will be at peace and humans, fairies and other magical beings will live in harmony. Oh, the innocent dreams of youth.

Michelle Pfeiffer joins the cast as Prince Phillip’s ambitious and bigoted mother who decides to use this upcoming union to her benefit and ultimately twist it into an opportunity for massacre. She can’t allow mixing between two different groups of people.

Angelina Jolie continues to have more fun with a pair of fake cheekbones than anyone knew was possible as Maleficent. She can do more with a forced smile or flick of an eyebrow than many can do with an entire monologue.

As a result, she once again makes Maleficent crackle despite a reduced role in this film. Michelle Pfeiffer proves to be an adequate if not wholly original foe for her to shoot glares at. She owes a huge debt of gratitude to the costume designers whose breathtaking gowns elevate not only her look, but her character.

Elle Fanning’s deadpan innocence was made for this role, which calls for Princess Aurora to be as blonde and gentle as possible.

It’s in the Moors where the magic creatures live that the film comes alive – the animation creates a forest of creatures from talking mushrooms, to tiny hedgehogs that can speak, to giant trees. All the foliage living among them sparkles and delights. A new species and world is introduced, and the detail and thought put into it is breathtaking.

Is Maleficent: Mistress of Evil an absolutely necessary addition to the Sleeping Beauty canon? Probably not, but it’s a completely adequate, visually stunning addition, and for a sequel these days, that’s not bad.


Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia

More like this