The good news for Disney is that the majority of their films as of late make $1 billion worldwide, or more. The bad news for Disney is that Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (the sequel to 2014’s Maleficent, a spinoff of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty) lacks the Disney magic that seems to appear in most of their films, looks like it was created on a computer by a high school drop out, and boasts the most ridiculous, politically correct cast and screenplay for a family film in a long time. Not to mention, every character speaks in a British accent, even though the movie features mostly American actors and takes place in a fictitious fantasy land.
With future mothers-in-law, Maleficent (Oscar winner Angelina Jolie) and Queen Ingrith (Oscar nominee Michelle Pfeiffer) there is no love lost.
The movie opens with Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) proposing marriage to Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning). As Maleficent appears, she exhales, “Well, well.” Aurora replies, “So, so.” Aurora then exclaims, “Godmother, Philip asked me to marry him.”
“Poor thing,” replies Maleficent, “he’ll forgive you.”
“No, I’m serious,” answers Aurora. The rest of the movie is filled with ridiculous dialogue like that, which is intended to get a chuckle but does everything other than that.
Upon the Prince and Princesses betrothal the kingdoms of the humans and forest creatures will come together. At least that is what everyone except Queen Ingrith has in mind.
Right away it is taken for granted that Queen Ingrith is an evil bitch plotting something nefarious. She enters her larger than life walk-in-closet, replete with mannequins displaying many of her gowns, and turns the head of one. Immediately, the door to the castle’s dungeon opens. She climbs down to its depths to check on her little slave, a midget creature, Licksplittle, played by Warwick Davis. The Queen is so evil that she has clipped his wings and has kept him hostage in her basement, brainwashing him into thinking he is her equal.
The entirety of the nearly two hour painfully boring and poorly directed and written movie revolves around the Queen and her desire to rule the Kingdoms on her own, on her own terms, all while destroying the creatures that live in the forest.
Maleficent is summoned to the castle for a dinner to celebrate the engagement of her god-daughter, Aurora, and the Prince. Before dinner is served, we find out that Maleficent is deadly allergic to iron, which is what the silverware is made of. Yes, you would think that in a castle the silverware would be made of silver. The house cat attacks Maleficent at the dinner table, but isn’t quick enough. Maleficent freezes the cat in midair.
There are some words between Queen Ingrith and Maleficent and King John (Robert Lindsay) lays immobile on the floor. It is supposed that Maleficent is to blame. She escapes out a window but is shot out of the air by one of the Royals’ minions, a young ginger girl that is a dead ringer for Kerri Strug. Falling into the river below, Maleficent nearly drowns until she is saved by one of her own kind, Conall (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who carries her back to his lair. Unbeknownst to Maleficent, until then, there is a whole world of creatures like herself, in the underworld. They have been banished there by humans.
Queen Ingrith is the star of this film that should have been entitled Queen Ingrith. With a straight face she scolds Aurora one afternoon, “Being queen is more than running around barefoot with flowers in your hair.” She then goes on to explain why she hates the forest creatures so much. She blames them for the death of her father, a king.
The three fairies, who also appear in the first Maleficent, Thistlewit (Juno Temple), Flittle (Lesley Manville) and Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton) are given laughable lines. More offensive is the quality of their human looking faces. Hopefully the three talented actresses playing the fairies were paid handsomely for the atrocity they took part in.
One has zero sympathy for any of the characters in the film, save for Pinto and Button, two adorable creatures, one a porcupine hybrid, the other a talking mushroom, both voiced by Emma Maclennan. Whether any of the other characters live or die doesn’t matter, as they are portrayed as uncharismatic, unloveable and stagnant. When Queen Ingrith is turned into a goat at the end of the film, neither her son nor her husband even care. That says a lot.
One can hope that the next Disney film in theaters, Frozen 2, is more on par with the high standards we have come to expect from the studio. And let’s hope that there is not a third.