Maleficent: Mistress of Evil 2019 | Movie Review

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🎥 Cinematography by Henry Braham

👗 Costumes by Ellen Mirojnick

🎬 Directed by Joachim Rønning

🎞 Edited by Craig Wood & Laura Jennings

🎼 Music by Geoff Zanelli

📋 Produced by Angelina Jolie, Duncan Henderson, & Joe Roth

📝 Screenplay by Linda Woolverton, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, & Noah Harpster

🌟 S T A R R I N G

🗣 Aline Mowat as the Narrator

✨ Angelina Jolie as Maleficent

🧚🏾‍♂️ Chiwetel Ejiofor as Conall

💂🏾‍♂️ David Gyasi as Percival

🧚🏼‍♂️ Ed Skrein as Borra

👸🏼 Elle Fanning as Aurora

🍄 Emma Maclennon as Button & Pinto

🤴🏻 Harris Dickinson as Prince Phillip

🧚🏻 Imelda Staunton as Knotgrass

💂🏻‍♀️ Jenn Murray as Gerda

🧚🏼‍♂️ John Carew as Jungle Warrior Fey

🧚🏾‍♀️ Judith Shekoni as Shrike

🧚🏼 Juno Temple as Thistlewit

🧚🏻‍♀️ Kae Alexander as Ini

🧚🏻‍♀️ Lesley Manville as Flittle

👑 Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith

🧚🏻‍♂️ Miyavi as Udo

👑 Robert Lindsay as King John

🐦 Sam Riley as Diaval

🧚🏻‍♂️ Warwick Davis as Lickspittle

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Up next on my movie review list is Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the 2019 sequel to Maleficent. This was my first viewing:

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Appropriately, the Walt Disney Pictures logo is the classic Sleeping Beauty castle. When the camera pans to the sky, the intro transitions into the Moors where we see three men sneaking around. This opening scene gives me Once Upon a Time vibes. Time for a rewatch because it’s now on Disney Plus. 😉

There is a narrator again, but Aline Mowat replaced Janet McTeer. There is no indication she’s still meant to be an older Aurora telling her story.

I didn’t think it possible after the beauty of Maleficent, but the sequel is even more colorful & vibrant, the Moors absolutely stunning. I’m ready to book a flight & visit. It’s somewhere in France, right? 🌺 Speaking of the Moors, the pixies are back! Their CGI looks about the same as before, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m not really sure how much better they could look as heads edited onto little fairy bodies. 🧚🏼 🧚🏻‍♀️ 🧚🏻‍♂️

Prince Phillip is played by a different actor, Harris Dickinson, who replaced Brenton Thwaites due to a scheduling conflict. For the short time that he was onscreen, I liked Brenton as Aurora’s prince. Normally I hate actor changes within a film series, but I’m about to surprise everybody. I ended up liking Harris better, not only as the prince but also as a match for Aurora. They had great chemistry!

Once again, we find ourselves looking at Maleficent with suspicion. Has she returned to villainy, or is she the antihero she was set up to be at the end of the first film? Wait & see . . .

First impression: King John has a sweet relationship with his son Phillip & wants to leave behind the days of war. Queen Ingrith is colder than her husband & has a fondness for weapons.

Aurora continues to call Maleficent her “godmother” & the three pixies her “aunties.” So sweet! They are the only family she has left besides Phillip. 💕

In the beginning of the first movie, we saw young & adult Maleficent wearing greens & browns while protecting the Moors. In the beginning of the sequel, adult Maleficent moves away from villainous black & returns to her earthy roots with a headpiece & dress that match her dark brown wings. The rest of her costumes alternate between a dark color palette & an earthy color palette, an accurate representation of a multi-layered character.

Queen Ingrith has a secret area in the castle which she accesses by twisting the head of a mannequin in her closet. RED FLAG! Underground she has some kind of lab & weapon-making operation going on. ANOTHER RED FLAG! We get a glimpse of something else in a corner of the laboratory: a spinning wheel. A THIRD RED FLAG!

When the queen meets Aurora & Maleficent for the first time, it’s revealed that she’s allergic to flowers which grow all over the Moors. Interesting! When she directs one too many verbal jabs at Maleficent, the fairy displays her power. At the same time the king falls victim to a curse which the royal family & Aurora blame on Maleficent. She swears it wasn’t her & leaves the castle with Diaval. As she’s flying back home, Gerda, the queen’s loyal sidekick, shoots her. Back at the castle, Phillip & Aurora suggest the Queen try true love’s kiss to wake her husband. She expresses doubt that it will work but tries anyway. She leans in & whispers “You wanted peace. Now rest in peace forever.” before kissing him. Surprise surprise, it doesn’t break the spell. All signs point to a villainous queen framing Maleficent.

After she’s shot, Maleficent falls into a body of water but is swiftly rescued by a mysterious, winged creature. When she wakes up, she looks absolutely stunning with all her hair down. I wish I looked that gorgeous while injured or in pain. 😂 Where did she end up? She was rescued & taken to the hidden home of the Dark Fey; they are the same species of fairy as Maleficent. Their leader & Maleficent’s rescuer Conall is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, the voice of Scar in The Lion King remake. He is in favor of peace, but other Dark Fey want to declare war on the humans. It’s also revealed that there’s a reason Maleficent is so powerful: She’s the last remaining ancestor of the Phoenix, a Dark Fey ancestor. Yes, that is the mythological bird who regenerates, rising from the ashes of its previous body. That detail is very important later on so take a mental note.

There are little magical creatures introduced in this movie that look like animals. Although they’re cute, they bring the movie down to a child’s level. It makes me feel like I’m bouncing between a fairytale & Trolls. Their scenes, though few & far between, feel too young & out of place.

Having said what I just said, the horrible laboratory scene near the end of the movie is so awful & sad. Lickspittle, Queen Ingrith’s appointed lab worker, tests a new weapon on a tiny magical creature. It is a success, killing the little guy instantly. NO!! 😭

During the wedding festivities, the other two pixies scold Thistlewit for eating the rice rather than throwing it. She retorts that it’s a waste to throw rice rather than eat it. That is definitely something I would say about any kind of food! 😂

Finally we find out the queen’s backstory: Growing up, her family had a kingdom that bordered the Moors. One winter, the humans struggled to survive while the fairies thrived. Ingrith & her brother believed they should take what they needed to survive, but their father was adamant that they keep the peace. He sent his son to the Moors, but the son never returned, leading the kingdom to believe he’d been killed by a magical creature. Out of fear, the citizens overthrew the king, & Ingrith was exiled. Later on when she married John, King of Ulstead, she still held hate in her heart toward the Moors, determined to declare war & get revenge.

Part of Ingrith’s evil plan was locking the wedding guests from the Moors in the chapel. The deadly poison developed in her secret lab was then released into the air through an organ played by Gerda. Flittle, the beloved blue fairy, sacrificed herself to clog the organ & save her friends. NO! I’m not crying, you’re crying!! 😭

During the final showdown between Ingrith & Maleficent, Aurora steps in & calls Maleficent something she never thought she would call her: “Mother!” Right after that beautiful moment, Maleficent shields Aurora from from a poisoned arrow shot by the queen. Ingrith then reveals she spread a false story about Maleficent throughout the kingdom, painting her as a villain after the sleeping curse five years ago. She thinks she has accomplished her goal by defeating the most powerful fairy. The problem is those pesky ashes that Maleficent’s death left behind. Yes, she does indeed rise from the ashes in the form of the Phoenix she is descended from. Ingrith throws Aurora off the castle tower in anger, but Maleficent is right there to save her daughter. When she returns to her fairy form, she’s wearing an absolutely stunning all-black, velvet dress with lace details. Never accuse her of being unfashionable! The best part is what she does to Queen Ingrith; she turns her into a goat. 😂

• Diaval & Maleficent still have some great banter:

✨ Maleficent: “I missed you.”

🐦 Diaval: “Did you bump your head, then?”

✨ Maleficent: “I did.” 😂

• You’re probably wondering what happened to King John. Well, the spinning wheel in Ingrith’s laboratory was the same one that Aurora pricked her finger on five years ago. The evil queen used the spindle to stab her husband & put him to sleep, only to wake from true love’s kiss. Her kiss didn’t work because she never loved him, thinking him weak for wanting peace with their magical neighbors. After the queen is defeated, Lickspittle presents the spindle to Maleficent who swiftly destroys it, breaking the curse & awakening King John. Happy ending!

I noticed an interesting parallel between the first movie & its sequel: Aurora had an evil dad who was a king, & Phillip had an evil mom who was a queen. Both parents were blinded by their own agendas, sacrificing everyone & everything else in their lives.

• In the beginning of the movie, Aurora wears a blue dress then changes into a pink dress to meet her future in-laws. This a nice nod to the “make it pink, make it blue” scene which was omitted from Maleficent. At the end of the movie while Aurora is walking down the aisle at her wedding, Knotgrass & Thistlewit argue over the color of her dress. “Make it green! Make it pink! Make it green! Make it pink!” Flittle, now a beautiful blue flower, steps in & makes the dress blue. *sigh* I’m crying again! 😭 💙

• If you thought the prince & princess’ blue wedding outfits were the peak, you were wrong. Their final white outfits are even more stunning, illuminated in golden sunlight. The cherry on top is Maleficent flying away as she says she’ll be back for the christening. They’re having a baby! 💕

💬 Closing Thoughts: I hate to be the viewer that can’t suspend belief & enjoy a film. However, I must admit I struggled with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Initially I was unsure about the changes in the first movie so the sequel was even riskier in my eyes. Obviously the second film required more creativity because the the original fairytale didn’t have a second part. I liked some of the things the crew did with Aurora & Maleficent’s story but never reached a point where I felt fully immersed. I think the two main characters were just too familiar to believe an entirely new tale about them.

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🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 40% Critics | 95% Audience

🏆 Major Awards: Best Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar nomination (Arjen Tuiten, David White, & Paul Gooch)

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0OFH4xpPr4

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Aladdin 2019 | Movie Review

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🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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