Mistress of Evil satisfies Disney fans with a new prequel

Erin Astfalk '21, Staff writer

As the years go on, it seems you can always count on Disney to remake live action versions of beloved childhood tales. While the public often has had mixed emotions over the remakes of original movies, there is something so tempting about experiencing childhood favorites in a different light. Disney released its first live action remake of the 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty” in 2014, but unlike its predecessor, this remake focused on the villain, Maleficent, instead of the original story. “Maleficent” did so well, the sequel was produced and released 5 years later. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” premiered Oct. 18, 2019.

These movies take the angle of showing the life of Maleficent, the woman commonly viewed as the villain of the story. While most of her backstory was touched upon in the first movie, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” showcases the personal battle of good versus evil going on. In the beginning of the film we realize Maleficent has adopted the princess Aurora, she is happy and cares deeply for her surrogate daughter. They live blissfully in a magical land populated with fairies and good-doing citizens.  I was a bit surprised at this early representation of Maleficent, as she seemed to be very far from being a mistress of evil. 

As someone who loved the first “Maleficent”, it is fair to say I had high expectations. The cinematography and visual effects of the film were spectacular. The shots of the scenic fictional land alone were award worthy special effects. The costumes were great too, from the feminine dresses worn by Aurora (Elle Fanning) to the black feathery gowns Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) sported. If this movie was anything, it was visually pleasing. 

The movie begins 5 years after the initial movie, and the young Aurora is determined to marry a prince called Phillip, against Maleficent’s wishes. Despite her strict disapproval, Maleficent agrees to comply with Auroras wishes. After a scene of an uncomfortable and intense dinner with Phillips parents, Queen Ingris (Michelle Pfeiffer) and King John (Robert Lindsay), it is made clear that Maleficent’s past will likely get the best of her. The scene is filled with sassy one liners between the women but also a clear indicators that Maleficent will, once again, be returning as the villain of the story.

The manipulation of Aurora by the devious Queen Ingris offers a sense of motivation for Maleficent, with Disney clearly leading viewers to question whether the good guys are really the good guys. While the plot was slightly predictable due to the typical fantasy story arcs most characters are given, that’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable to experience. There was excitement throughout , an entertaining movie for those who enjoy fantasy. Despite this, the film seemed to lack a dramatic climax, a moment were all the conflict was solved and explained. It seemed to only scratch the surface when coming to a resolution and bringing everything together for how action packed the film was.

With excellent performances from both Jolie and Pfieffer and impressive cinematography, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” proves itself an enjoyable movie, the somewhat unfocused plot may leave viewers a little unsatisfied.