By Nikki Jones
Where to begin…let me preface this piece with the fact that I enjoyed the story of Sleeping Beauty (Disney, 1959) as a child and then as the mother of a daughter who loved the story during her childhood years. With that said…. Aurora was not my favorite princess, nor was Maleficent my favorite villain (Queen of Hearts girl over here…another story for another review). Flash forward to the 2014 Disney live-action film Maleficent starring THE mesmerizing, wickedly talented (Girl, Interrupted anyone??) oh so lovely Angelina Jolie as Maleficent and the cherubic, brilliant Elle Fanning as Aurora. The fairytale that in my humble opinion, the world needed…the story of a good girl who suffered trauma and grew up to let it get the best of her…. until she learns that her love for another CAN be reciprocated in a TRUE pure form. I remember sitting in the theatre while the credits rolled, listening to Lana Del Rey’s haunting version of Once Upon a Dream and thinking “I hope this isn’t the end of Maleficent’s story…I need so much more” and that’s when Maleficent knocked the Queen of Hearts out of the top spot.
5 years later and dreams DO come true! Maleficent: Mistress of Evil directed by Joachim Renning is visually breathtaking and back in a BIG way with the addition of Michelle Pfeiffer (I cried when her casting was announced as she is my all-time favorite actress…queen of MY dreams) as Queen Ingrith, the mother of Prince Phillip and the true Mistress of Evil. The tale continues with Aurora’s engagement to Prince Phillip and the fierce protection of Maleficent over Aurora and Queen Ingrith’s EVIL ulterior motive for this union. This pending union, which could be a progressive step towards unity, between the Moors and the kingdom of Ulstead instead causes a divide between Aurora and Maleficent and as war is waged between the two powers that be (Maleficent and Queen Ingrith), Aurora is caught in the middle.
We are introduced to more of Maleficent’s kind…. dark fairies that have been driven underground because of man’s hatred, who have come to aid Maleficent in the battle to keep her beloved Moors safe and wage a war of their own on a humanity that wanted to destroy their existence. There is so much takeaway to THIS particular fairytale that I could go on for days and days and parallel the tale to present WORLD problems that we face as a society today…but I don’t want to spoil for those who have not yet seen the film. I feel that this particular film is much more than a typical “happily ever after” Disney fairy tale…it is a lesson on the human condition and acceptance. As the credits rolled THIS time, I sat gently weeping thinking about how Maleficent is not a villain but more of a heroine…MY kind of heroine anyway.
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” hits theaters on October 18, 2019!
(All images courtesy of Disney)