In Brief: Beautiful to watch — especially in 3D — but boring and butt-numbing to sit through.
Do you want to see a movie that is the perfect example of why sequels ought not be made? Spend the $12 to $15 bucks — and more for popcorn, sodas and such — and see Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
It will tell you all you need to know.
Angelina Jolie reprises the role — as IMDB defines it — of a vengeful fairy who ends up raising the beautiful Aurora. For those not remembering the original movie, she is Aurora of Maleficent’s very loose telling of the tale of Sleeping Beauty and the subject from which this sequel ought not have been derived.
Elle Fanning is cast as Aurora for a second time. She spends her days wandering the Moors. It’s her kingdom and she communes daily with a plethora of colorful and loving creatures. The place is perfect. You suspect the temperature is always just right and it never rains. One day the love of her life, Prince Phillip shows up. He proposes, she accepts. The marriage will unite his kingdom with hers and bring peace to the land.
An unconvinced Maleficent is arm-twisted into attending a dinner to celebrate the upcoming nuptials with the prince’s mom and dad. He’s the very nice King John and she’s the not-so-nice Queen Ingrith. The queen has ulterior motives. She’s secretly scheming and is setting things up for a war on the creatures of the Moor.
Ingrith sees them as the ultimate threat to humanity.
What follows is a predictable Disney fairytale packed with brilliant effects and marvelous colors. It is offered on both 2D and 3D screens but this one will probably look a lot better in three-dimensions.
The only reasons to see Maleficent: Mistress of Evil are the most excellent effects and the who’s-the-baddest-of-them-all duel of Jolie’s Maleficent and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Queen Ingrith. Pfeiffer is as good at being bad as Jolie. What’s unfortunate is that Jolie and Pfeiffer don’t share enough scenes.
Most evil-eye doing is done solo.
Together or not, it’s fun to watch as the film’s director Joachim Ronning (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) goes back and forth giving each actress shots at outdoing the other. Hopefully, the two actresses had as much fun doing this as you’ll have watching them.
Unfortunately for fans of the now fairytale franchise, it’s the only fun to be found in the movie.
The rest of the cast sleepwalk through a story so dull it is likely to lull you into the kind of sleep the beautiful Aurora experienced in the original film. The biggest waste of all is Fanning who is one of the best — if not the best — of the new group of up and coming actresses.
After a betrayal at the ill-conceived dinner, Maleficent is wounded by the queen’s minions and is saved by others of her kind. These are beings she had no idea existed. This, the betrayal by an evil queen, Maleficent’s desire for revenge, Aurora being caught in the middle and the upcoming marriage lead to the overdone, climactic war and the sappy and Disney’s predictable, everyone lives happily ever after ending.
And it only takes two butt-numbing hours to get there.
Director: Joachim Ronning
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer, Harris Dickerson, Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiafor, Ed Skrein, Robert Lindsay, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Warwick Davis
Rated PG for mature themes. This is the perfect example of why most sequels suck. In this case, so did the original. Give this a not-so-friendly 2 on the Friday Flicks with Gary o to 5 scale.
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Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.