By: Laura Bennett
When a movie’s called ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ it doesn’t seem like one with sound moral values – but don’t let its dark visuals and fantastical themes fool you.
Following on from the 2014 release, Maleficent (Angeline Jolie) returns as the intimidating protector of the Moors, grappling with the new engagement of her daughter Aurora (Elle Fanning) to Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson). Little do they know though, Phillip’s Mum Queen Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) plans to use the wedding as an opportunity to divide humans and fairies forever.
Loosely based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy-tale, you’ll see remnants of the Disney classic on-screen, but this new story is less about the ‘happily ever after’, and more about how the characters could achieve it.
As the face of evil, Maleficent has garnered a reputation for being unhinged and having a bad temper. Those days are (largely) behind her, but the world around her hasn’t moved on and Maleficent struggles to help them get past who she used to be.
She’s known as a dark force to be reckoned with, but the real source of her angst is a desire to be known, loved, and no longer the outsider.
Aurora’s engagement is an opportunity for Maleficent to build a bridge with the kingdom that’s misunderstood and shunned her, and both families are encouraged to choose peace as a way to reconcile their differences.
A lot of parents will also relate to our horned anti-hero, as she faces ‘empty nest syndrome’ while Aurora gets ready to leave. Having forgone her selfish nature and raised the ‘beastie’ human child as her own, Maleficent isn’t quite ready to let her go.
“She’s known as a dark force to be reckoned with, but the real source of her angst is a desire to be known, loved, and no longer the outsider.”
It’s what motivates Maleficent to consider peace with the other side, but also what triggers her anger when it looks like Aurora’s in trouble.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil relies more on Angelina Jolie’s mystique than its story to attract audiences, but is an endearing tale about a mum trying to protect her daughter, and an outsider realising she doesn’t have to be alone. It isn’t for young kids, but will encourage any viewer to let people overcome their worst moments, and prioritise peace, even if there’s a personal cost.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is in cinemas October 17, rated PG.
About the Author: Laura is a media professional, broadcaster and writer from Sydney, Australia.