“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is a fantasy adventure that picks up several years after “Maleficent,” in which audiences learned of the events that hardened the heart of Disney’s most notorious villain and drove her to curse a baby Princess Aurora. The film continues to explore the complex relationship between the horned fairy and the soon to be Queen as they form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within. The film is directed by Joachim Rønning from a story by Linda Woolverton and a screenplay by Linda Woolverton and Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster, the film is produced by Joe Roth, Angelina Jolie and Duncan Henderson with Matt Smith, Jeff Kirschenbaum and Michael Vieira serving as executive producers.
Okay, we have thoughts. Would you expect otherwise from us? Scroll through, kittens.
First, we’ll say that the Maleficent films are easily some of the most visually rich and well-designed of the Disney live-action remakes. That’s because, unlike The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast, these films aren’t interested in retelling the exact same stories told in the original cartoons. These are continuations and expansions on Sleeping Beauty, not mere retreads of the story. That’s both their best argument for existing and partly why this trailer doesn’t hold an overwhelming appeal for us. It all looks spectacular, but we groaned a little at the reveal of Maleficent’s … race, we guess we’d call them. Nothing wrong with continuing a story, but this has all the clear markings of an undying Disney franchise. While it looks like a spectacularly interpreted fairy tale, the story beats all come off exactly like a Marvel superhero movie.
And to that we say, have fun with it all, Maleficent fans. We’re not here to pee all over what looks like a pretty fun and creative interpretation that centers the agendas and adventures of women characters. It’s just that mainstream films all seem to be heading toward some sort of creative event horizon. Eventually, they’re all going to tell the same story in the same way.
Harrumph. It looks pretty. Michelle Pfeiffer is slaying. We’ll shut up now.
[Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios – Video Credit: Walt Disney Studios via YouTube.com]