The real mistress of evil in this movie is not who you think it is; it’s the three female co-leads, whose careers together give all generations unrealistic beauty standards, and even in this Disney product right here, send the message that dressing really good is ideal outer sophistication. Hopefully Elle Fanning’s future will remain intact despite being in this product intent to corrupt children. But Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is dangerous not just for its flaunting of three beautiful actresses, it’s more for literally every other motivation behind its production process. Even if it came out within a year after the first Maleficent premiered, it still would have come too late, for it shouldn’t have come out at all.
It’s one of those cheap entertainment pieces that attempts to throw in fake commentary to fool the gullible ear into thinking it’s deep and teaches strong moral values. In this case, it pretends to comment on war, when it really tries to make high authority look deserving to be straight-up murdered. Part of its commentary is the queen at one point saying, “This is no fairy tale…” even though it most certainly is. This character portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer has a room full of mannequins wearing dresses but doesn’t bother to explain why exactly; highly doubtful even director Joachim Rønning (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) could explain why. Some joys of summer attempt to liven the spirits with a cat chasing a cute little porcupine creature, but because the eyes of these CGI creations always appear dead, there’s no thrill of hopscotch, there’s no relaxation of ice cream cones, that little moment just further holds back Maleficent’s story arc.
Aurora’s betrothal to Prince Phillip needed to be further focused on in the story, more so than seeing two small critters chase each other, not that her story is interesting anyway, as it’s ridiculously familiar. Basically, Aurora’s godmother Maleficent, surprise, disapproves of the prince, then blah, blah, blah, parents bickering, tension across dinner, vile curse, yadda-yadda, long story short, war begins. In the midst of all the boredom, there’s a huge IMAX fantasy world, romance between a ridiculously attractive young couple, a twist villain, bad CGI, disrespect to parents, kids saving the day, cute little comic relief animals, the dumb cliché of a door locking the protagonist inside a bedroom, for every single set piece, costume, creature design, and line of dialogue, at least fifty motion pictures did it either exactly the same or better. No matter how angrily a field of orange flowers glows on the fairies’ little kingdom, none of these copied elements work.
It’s not made any better that the two editors behind this project refuse to slow down their efforts, the order of the scenes feels randomly all over the place, which when combined with the weird camera tricks turns nauseating. Case in point: shortly after the title card, the screen spins 360 degrees right before throwing in some slow-motion macrophotography effects that follow pixies. It’s a complete contradiction of Ferris Bueller’s famous slogan, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Only one scene manages to be decent, when Maleficent stumbles upon a hidden fairy isle. It stages a grand scope of diverse lifeforms and ways of living in a massive landscape full of snow and desert. Yet even then, the setup still makes no sense; the inhabitants of this safe underground paradise somehow want to leave.
There are many more logic holes that the writers behind this atrocious script missed, as the captain obvious dialogue re-explains plot information, and falls to a level of predictability where the average moviegoer starts to think, “Oh great. Here comes another exposition dump.” These screenwriters rush through the plot so hastily, they never even bother giving time to take Elle Fanning’s ridiculous crying seriously, and not just because the cinematographer doesn’t know how to properly light her face, or anyone else’s face. Heck, nothing in this movie is taken seriously, not even the sets or costumes! Even if the color choices of the designs land closer on the “okay” spectrum, it matters none. One of Maleficent’s dresses is adorned with crow skulls that even little kids could tell is made of plastic, practically fresh out of Party City. The same goes to several sets that are obviously molded out of plaster.
Those of moral behavior must keep their beacons shining for all to see, shining like a campfire to help others remember their origins. Remember that Walt Disney founded his studio to find new innovative storytelling techniques? That explains the start of countless animation techniques including storyboards and the “squash and stretch” animation technique. Although now, Disney is dishonoring their founder’s legacy, which is why they should quit empty cash-grabs to exploit viewer nostalgia. How sad that Maleficent: Mistress of Evil has now joined the Mickey Mouse Club of brainwashing subscribers. Go see Onward instead.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Disney Movies. Disney. Web. <https://movies.disney.com/maleficent-mistress-of-evil>.
Rothman, Michael. “Angelina Jolie returns to the big screen in 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil'.” Digital image. ABC News. 14 May 2019. Web. <https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Culture/angelina-jolie-returns-1st-maleficent-mistress-evil-teaser/story?id=63025711>.