Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Review: Angelina Jolie is terrific but the Game of Thrones inspired story is not

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Review: Angelina Jolie is reduced to a supporting act but still pleases us with her stunning performance as the devilishly wicked Maleficent. The Joachim Rønning is the representation of the nasty, evil stepmother in fairytales that you would want to kill off, eventually.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is slated to release in India on October 18, 2019.Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is slated to release in India on October 18, 2019.
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Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Director: Joachim Ronning 

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil cast: Angelina Jolie, Sam Riley, Elle Fanning, Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, Juno Temple

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil stars: 3/5

Twice upon a time, we're welcomed into the majestic land of the Moors, filled with mysterious yet adorable creatures to coo over, as the devilishly wicked Angelina Jolie delves into the role that was tailor-made for her - Maleficent! It was only recently that I came across the surprise hit of 2014 and it won't be an understatement to say that I was pleasantly blown away by the shades of gorgeous grey that is Angelina's character. Retelling Sleeping Beauty through the eyes of an otherwise antagonist character? A powerful concept! Does Maleficent deliver this time around though? For me, she did but it was only during the last few minutes in the final battle which felt awfully reminiscent to the iconic Battle of Blackwater from Game of Thrones. Speaking of Game of Thrones, did I happen to mention that the writers of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil were mighty inspired by some iconic moments of the series - one of which just happened to be the Red Wedding. While the original RW gives you nightmares, the squeamish homage in Maleficent 2 feels forced and unnecessary.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil continues where the 2014 installment left us as Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), now Queen of the Moors is engaged to Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson), much to the dismay of Aurora's godmother and member of the Dark Fey, Maleficent and Phillip's mother, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer). The fight between the Moors and the humans is palpable and causes a serious rift between Maleficent and Aurora. While Ingrith transforms into the true villain of this story, we see Maleficent find out about her true heritage and who she really is. First things first, Angelina and Michelle's antagonistic chemistry is surely a treat to the cinematic eyes and something to look out for. The dinner scene in paticular is just the perfect mix of drama and heightened tensions. Jolie sinks her teeth deep into another brilliant performance and makes us realise that we miss watching the actress in more movies. Cinematographer Henry Braham found the perfect muse in Angie as she owned every frame no matter how breathtaking the picturesque background was. There's a moment when a bruised Maleficent awakens and we get a side-angle shot at the actress looking straight out of a fairytale. It's also the attention to detailing in terms of the makeup and the costumes, that essentially helps to elevate Jolie's performance, however, limited it was! A special mention to the Marchesa-ish dress worn during the final battle, with the chiseled cheekbones, red lips, black horns and wings that won me over. 

ALSO READ: Angelina Jolie gives us a glimpse into her family life at her gorgeous LA home; WATCH VIDEO

But, it's nerve-wracking as a Maleficent fan to see the character reduced to a supporting act when the title of your story has Maleficent in it! Elle has her moments at times, especially during her sequences with Angelina but the one-dimensional princess is in full force, as opposed to the groundbreaking retelling in the first installment. Michelle as the actual 'mistress of evil' is a knockout, which really comes as no surprise. The costumes and makeup by Ellen Mirojnick and David White paid homage to the personality of each character whether it be the beautiful diamonds adorned by Pfeiffer or even floral gowns by Fanning. Sam Riley steals the show yet again as Diaval and adds the breath of fresh air moments alongside Angie while Chiwetel Ejiofor as Conall and Ed Skrien as Borra is heavily disappointing. It's neither actors' fault! Blame it on their anything but entertaining characters. Similarly, Harris Dickinson and Robert Lindsay as Phillip and King John are suckered in by the weak storytelling in spite of earnest performances.

Linda Woolverton, Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue's screenplay are inspired by pop culture, to such an extent that every sequence is a deja vu moment. Game of Thrones is the biggest inspiration for these writers as well as director Joachim Rønning as we're almost given a summary of all the eight seasons in 118 minutes, which seems way longer. Just like the Battle of Winterfell, the lighting is so pitiful during the night sequences, that only Angelina could be seen. That too, barely! Even the soundtrack was deeply unmoving as opposed to the Disney movies soundtrack that we are accustomed to. The VFX is extremely efficient in giving you a pleasing picture that is further accentuated by the 3D effects. But, no matter how palatable the visuals looked, the storyline was too weak to really prosper and fly. Even Angelina and Michelle's brilliant performances could not keep me satiated enough.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil had its moments too. We get to see Maleficent's maternal instincts in full force as she transforms into the "helicopter mom" desi kids are accustomed to. There's a funny yet heartwarming sequence where Aurora asks her godmother if she will give her away, during her wedding to Phillip to which Maleficent with striking innocence says that she never will let go. It's the maternal instincts in Maleficent that should have been worked upon more, but what we got was a battle that no one asked for, instead.

The thing about fairytales is that they all live happily ever after. Maleficent's story had its happily ever after, in 2014 itself, whereas the sequel almost feels like that nasty, evil stepmother who could have been killed off in the final draft.

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