Most people have watched the Disney fairytale “Sleeping Beauty”. Disney remade that same fairytale back in 2014 focusing on the evil villain Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning.
The 2014 version is different from the original film, where Maleficent is evil and is eventually killed at the end of the film by Prince Phillip. In the new 2019 film “Maleficent-Mistress of Evil” Phillip and Aurora get engaged and ask Maleficent for her blessing not out of fear, but because she’s family and they love her.
The film has three strong female leads that butt heads throughout the course of the plot. The conflict surrounds the queen, played by Michelle Pfeifer, and her desire to control everyone and everything in the kingdom. Her desire misses that the fairies and beings of the Moors (where Aurora is queen of) are living and deserve to live. These creatures were trapped in a room thinking they were at a wedding, but were instead pelted with dust that would kill them all under the hands of the Queen.
This film was very fantastic in its set design and animation and the themes still resonate with its audience. This film spins the original story with one where the villain is actually the hero, and the innocent becomes the villain. I enjoyed that there were only female leads. They didn’t need a man to come and save them. The men were there to support and guide, but didn’t do any of the heavy lifting.
One thing that this film went a little overboard with was the number of dark scenes. This film is shot mostly in the dark, which makes it hard to see what the characters are doing. It gives a sense of suspense and evil lurking.
However, because this is a fantasy land and the only way the audience can be fully emerged into this story is to be convinced that this place really exists. The only way to do that though is through seeing the fantastical parts of the Moors, such as the creatures, the castle, and Maleficent in her fullness. The audience wasn’t able to see that until a bit into the film and then it switches back to dark.
This film succeeded in making it an original tale. There were many well established characters that were completely new to the franchise. This allowed the story to further and expand the plot in a way that I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney made another film in the future. The world created reached farther than just that one kingdom. More creatures like Maleficent were introduced and her origin was somewhat explained. However, her origin was not fully explained and I wouldn’t doubt that would be exposed in future movies.
I would give this film a 4/5 for the uniqueness of its plot, the amazing world that was created through animation and set design, and the ability to cast extraordinary female leads. However, I wouldn’t give it a full five because of the number of dark scenes that could’ve been better explained in the daylight.