Cool costumes and good acting aren’t enough to make “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” a good movie


Jorge Figueroa, Flickr, Creative Commons

Angelina Jolie plays Maleficent in “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” which does not live up to the hype.

Quinn Elsenbast, News Editor

Despite the director’s strong attempt at a riveting plot, I often found myself more interested in finding the M&Ms in my popcorn than the actual storyline of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Although my disinterest could be related to confusion due to not seeing the first movie, I felt overwhelmed with action and had trouble differentiating the many subplots. Yet, despite my disorientation, I was kept entertained by the over-the-top costumes, clever ca­mera work, and exceptional acting.

The film starts off with Aurora (Elle Fanning) accepting a marriage proposal from Prince Phillip (Harrison Dickinson), leader of the neighboring kingdom. This sparks conflict amongst their relatives, leading to a tense dinner party­­–one of the most exciting scenes of the whole film. From there, the tension only escalates, building to a classic Disney climax scene that thoroughly entertained me–even if I wasn’t sure how we got there.

What the film lacks in plot, it certainly makes up for in stellar acting. Angelina Jolie, starring as Maleficent, yet again kills the villain role. She pulls off the icy persona brilliantly, sending me flashbacks of the original cartoon Maleficent. While Jolie is certainly the star, she is supported by many wonderful actors. Fanning exudes the innocence and charm associated with Disney princesses, creating a beautiful juxtaposition between herself and Maleficent. Furthermore, Michelle Pfeiffer nails the part of Queen Ingrith, mother of Prince Phillip. However, Dickinson fell a bit flat in his portrayal of Phillip. Despite his large role, Dickinson got lost in the action and I found myself still questioning who he was by the middle of the film.

Along with strong acting, I was captivated by the wonderful animation and camera use. The film features many animated characters that, surprisingly, add a lot to the plot. In addition, the animated characters keep the film colorful and interesting to watch when the story gets too hard to follow. The stellar angles also kept me entertained, specifically, the tracking of Maleficent as she flies almost directly downward. While highlighted greatly in trailers, watching that shot in the theater reminded me of the unique experience of seeing movies in the theater. Furthermore, the movie makes use of many wonderful tracking shots on Maleficent’s face, specifically during the dinner party scene. These bone-chilling shots again reminded me of the cartoon Maleficent, and the terror she evoked in my seven-year-old self.

I was captivated by the wonderful animation and camera use.”

— Quinn Elsenbast

The director also expertly employs lighting to emphasize the power of Maleficent. The light, magical garden transforms into a dark, shadow-filled venue when Maleficent confronts Aurora about her engagement. And after a strange turn of events at the dinner party, the powerful change of lighting revolutionizes the dining room into a grim battlefield and places the power in Maleficent’s hands.

Overall, I did enjoy this film. While the plot fell short, I was able to thoroughly appreciate the wonderful acting and cinematic aspects of the film. I was truly brought back to my childhood watching this film, whether it was due to the aesthetic or the fact that I couldn’t follow the plot.