Angelina Jolie and her cheekbones of steel are back in this sequel to Disney’s 2014 twist on the Sleeping Beauty story.
It’s five years later in fairy land, and Aurora (Fanning) is queen of all the woodland creatures on the Moor, and engaged to Phillip (aka the blandest prince in fantasy land). He wants her to meet his parents, King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Pfeiffer), and suggests Aurora brings her godmother Maleficent to meet the potential in-laws too. Bad idea, Phillip.
Ingrith turns out to be quite the schemer, and has no intention of her land and Aurora’s being united in wedded bliss. Her plans include getting rid of Maleficent but little does she, or indeed the chisel-cheekboned one, know that there are other winged creatures hidden from the world who are just spoiling for a fight, too.
Slickly done, with an impressive feathered battle sequence and some stunning landscapes, this works best when the three female leads take centre stage – Fanning’s Aurora is no wimpy princess who needs rescuing, while Jolie and Pfeiffer’s queens are a great match for each other, squaring off in gorgeous costumes (Angelina managing to make a bandage look couture) and making you wish they both made more movies.
On the negative side, their face off isn’t nearly long enough. And Sam Riley, as Maleficent’s crow/human friend, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, as leader of the winged fairies, are woefully underused.
But this is still a luscious looking, smartly paced and enjoyably dark continuation of a classic tale for older kids and grown-ups.
Is Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Like the first Maleficent, this is a dark twist on the Sleeping Beauty story, so may not be suitable for very young (under 8) or sensitive viewers.
There is an intense action sequence featuring winged creatures in battle but no blood or injury is shown in detail.
Maleficent and the winged fairies have horns and unusual facial features that make take very young viewers a few minutes to get used to.
There are some (non-violent) deaths and scenes in which characters are in danger.
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