This weekend seems to be the one for sequels, as two big hits come out this weekend in hopes of making off with a lot of cash this Halloween season. Tonight we start this review with none other than a big Disney smash that is hoping to cast a magical spell on us. The first of the new age live actions, tonight’s sequel is following up with perhaps my favorite of the studio’s reimaginations of beloved classics. Yet, can the vile dark fairy accomplish the task of charming us once more, or have we fallen into the moors of crappy sequel. Robbie K here to cast his thoughts on:
Film: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)
- World Building
- Musical Score
- Story Continuation
- Darker Elements Integrated yet controlled
- Angelina Jolie
- Contained at the Wrong Parts
- Under Utilized Characters
- The Twist
- The Final Battle
Say what you want about the politics of the studio, but Disney certainly knows how to make their imagination come to life. Maleficent 2 is a beautiful display of the power of their animation studios making the fantasy world of Sleeping Beauty shine in all its magical splendor. While last time accomplished this task, part two manages to expand upon the inner dwelling of Aurora’s world and bring new attitude to the mix, impressing those who love to see fake worlds become reality. The animation of all the creatures, alongside their designs, are something best captured in comic book form, and yet blend well into the dark dizzy dreams of the dark fairy. All the creatures you love are back, with a few more to take their place as all of the worlds magic begins to unfold in a new light. For those not requiring full on CGI, their costumes are nice to look at too, not quite as stupendous, but certainly elegant and fitting of the world. Okay, past the visuals, Maleficent’s sound and musical elements really pack the punch in terms of adding to a scene as blaring orchestras drive a thunderous boom into the theater only to give way to the sad soliloquies of more somber moments. It really adds to every sequence and gave me goosebumps at times. When it comes to the story, again the movie succeeds, managing to continue five years from last time to explain the age gaps and offer a reminder of the events that transpired. Maleficent’s tale then further expands, pushing all characters to new levels, but never dropping their core foundations for sudden changes. It works and shows character development is not dead, not only for the dark fae herself, but for just about every character in the cadre as well. An added bonus is the darker themes of the tale. We know Maleficent’s tale is not the lightest one in the bunch, but Disney accomplishes the balance in this film bringing looming threats without dropping into nightmare territories. I can’t say much more to avoid spoiling, but let’s just say the added edge of bad outcomes makes this movie more suspenseful. Hands down though the centerpiece to this movie is Jolie herself. She seems born for this part, mastering look, attitude, and delivery in this character whose spectrum expanded past the usual scale. Jolie’s beauty is utilized well to bring new style to the dark queen, but never exploited or too focused to take away from her acting. Bravo Angelina, Bravo!
For all its worth though, Disney is still not able to trick me much or throw too many curveballs to shake it up. Maleficent 2 is certainly a rather linear tale, whose predictable nature is only overshadowed by the some hasty development of other character and containing the movie too much at the wrong parts. This is especially true for several henchman, and even the prince himself, who have enough bang to their roles, but not quite utilized to the fullest potential that they could have done. While certainly not the worst drop of characters I’ve seen, the movie could have scored more points for mixing these secondary characters into the brew to add their own glow. Past that though, the twist they got me on was okay, it’s utilized well to allow for other plot devices, but it also kind of does not fit into the lore for me given the hasty explanation. More time, or perhaps a book, will explain this connection, but I can’t say I was impressed with the turn. Finally, the final battle. Truth is, it is a fine spectacle of technology, integrates many characters well, and more importantly is an awesome display of action-based story telling. However, it missed the mark on suspenseful battling because of the one-sided approached they took. I can’t say much, but despite the battle having fine length, it was the biggest containment I had issues with and I would have liked to see more battle involvement, despite the added violence it might have brought. This could have been the perfect climax for me had they done so.
Sequels are hard to make worthwhile, but I feel Disney corrected the mistakes from the other live action and delivered a fantastic addition to the Maleficent world. Maleficent 2 accomplishes the storytelling aspect quite well, expanding upon its characters and adding darker elements that give this movie more bit and suspense. Throw in beautiful world building and I can only say I was further impressed by what they brought to the big screen. However, the movie did not unleash the full might of the magic spell they can, still suffering from predictability and containment to keep it kid friendly. A little more expansion on battles, characters, and even the twist and this movie would have been another top sequel of mine. Still, there is enough bang for buck to catch this in theaters, though I will exercise slight caution in taking children who scare easily, they might get spooked.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.5