I have to be honest. I have not seen the first Maleficent. Sure, I think the villain in Sleeping Beauty is badass and terrifying but I can’t remember why I wasn’t able to catch the film when it came out in 2014. Fast forward to this Monday, when I watched the sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. I had the audacity to accept an invite even if I haven’t seen the first, but I was still able to enjoy it. I thought it was a fun take on a Disney classic.
A quick yet detailed summary by my friend made me understand what was going on. Aurora (Elle Fanning) is the queen of the Moors, where she reigns over a magical forest filled with all sorts of creatures. Prince Philip proposes to her and she accepts, much to the chagrin of her godmother Maleficent. Soon, it ignites a deadly war between humans and fairies.
I was surprised at how dark and brutal it was compared to other Disney films, which are usually sanitized to suit a younger audience. The film had allegories to groups wanting to stay dominant and using violence to maintain the status quo, and those wanting to gain control through force. There was even a particular scene that reminded me of an iconic scene in Game of Thrones. However, it’s done with a light touch so it doesn’t come across as preachy or political. It’s just fun and visually exciting.
The story is complemented by powerful scenes, especially those involving the titular character. Angelina Jolie is perfect as Maleficent, easily portraying the haughtiness, malice, and perceived evil of the role. Fanning is gorgeous and looks like a nymph from the woods. A welcome addition to the movie is Michelle Pfeiffer, who plays Prince Philip’s mother, Queen Ingrith. She is the perfect foil to Maleficent and it’s fascinating to watch two Hollywood legends trade barbs.
I’ve always been partial to villains and I love how Disney gave Maleficent a good backstory that explains what happened in Sleeping Beauty. Without revealing spoilers, Mistress of Evil further explores her history for a great piece of worldbuilding. I’m excited for the origin story of Cruella DeVil, and I hope Disney will do one for Ursula as well. The fun and success of Maleficent mean it’s time to see things from the villain’s perspective.
This story is in partnership with The Walt Disney Company. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opens in Philippine cinemas on October 16, 2019. For more information, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow the hashtag #MaleficentPH to join the conversations online.