Film: Mal­e­fi­cient mistress of Evil

Slogan - - Contents - By Syeda Areeba Rasheed

Build­ing upon the pre­vi­ous theme of ‘Malef­i­cent’, a live-ac­tion fan­tasy drama, the new ‘Malef­i­cent: Mistress of Evil’ is more com­plex, deal­ing with ob­sta­cles of fa­mil­ial ties while of­fer­ing new char­ac­ters and back­ground to its fairy­tale world. With An­gelina Jolie as Malef­i­cent, the horned crea­ture from Dis­ney’s 1959 an­i­mated clas­sic ‘Sleep­ing Beauty’, the se­quel has no con­nec­tion to the clas­sic any­more. The screen­writer Linda Woolver­ton, along with scriptwrit­ers Noah Harp­ster and Micah Fitzer­man-Blue, adds a fem­i­nine touch to the story por­tray­ing An­gelina Jolie (Malef­i­cent), Michelle Pfeif­fer (Queen Ingrith) and Elle Fan­ning (Aurora) as three con­trast­ing archetypes of fem­i­nin­ity. The film is a melo­dra­matic anti-war tale and is much more ac­tion-packed than the first in­stal­ment.

Five years af­ter the events of the first film when Malef­i­cent’s adopted daugh­ter Aurora was de­clared as the Queen of the Moors, Aurora and Prince Philip (Har­ris Dick­in­son) are plan­ning for a wed­ding. They both are of the view that their en­gage­ment will unite both the hu­man king­dom and mag­i­cal forests of Moors that is un­der the pro­tec­tion of Aurora and Malef­i­cent. But things take a wrong turn when the two at­tend an en­gage­ment cel­e­bra­tion din­ner at Prince Philip’s cas­tle with King John (Robert Lind­say) and Queen Ingrith of Ul­stead. Though Malef­i­cent tries hard to plas­ter a smile and im­press Philip’s par­ents, Queen Ingrith’s be­hav­iour makes it all worse.

While the first film shows Malef­i­cent’s former love King Stephan as the one who tries to de­stroy her, the se­quel shows Ingrith as a geno­ci­dal hate­mon­ger who wants to rule the Moors. From serv­ing squab, which re­quires one winged crea­ture to eat another, to fur­nish­ing the din­ner ta­ble with uten­sils made of iron (fairies are al­ler­gic to iron); Ingrith’s ways of in­flam­ing Malef­i­cent proves her cru­elty. The clash be­tween the two re­sults in an ugly spat be­tween Aurora and Malef­i­cent that might al­ter their re­la­tion­ship. Also when Aurora tries to warm up to her new in-laws, Malef­i­cent dis­cov­ers her her­itage as a dark fae, a race of fairies who went into hid­ing af­ter be­ing hunted nearly to ex­tinc­tion. Fur­ther, it ex­plains why Malef­i­cent looks dif­fer­ent from the rest of the Moors crea­tures but fails to clar­ify how she gets to the Moors in the first place.

Di­rected by Joachim Røn­ning, the se­quel per­fectly com­ple­ments the first film and all the char­ac­ters, the pre­vi­ous and the new ones, are ter­rific. With An­gelina Jolie repris­ing her role as the winged dark fae, she proves once again that she is the key in­gre­di­ent, mak­ing it all work with her pow­er­ful pres­ence and per­for­mance. She bal­ances her en­raged out­burst finely, even though it por­trays how dan­ger­ous and un­con­trol­lable her power can be­come. Her ra­zor-sharp pros­thetic cheek­bones, el­e­gant horns and vel­vety wings along with her husky voice add more depth to her char­ac­ter. Elle Fan­ning re­turns as Aurora, the de­mure hero­ine, who wants to set things right with­out realising that blind trust and rush­ing to judge­ments will only have con­se­quences. Her char­ac­ter can be best put into words as ‘a mix­ture of youth­ful naivety and im­ma­ture rash­ness’.

Michelle is a new ad­di­tion to the film, which is won­der­ful, as she jug­gles be­tween be­ing the Queen and pro­tec­tor of her king­dom and the power-hun­gry per­son who de­sires to con­quer the Moors with­out think­ing about her own fam­ily and loyal ones. Prince Philip’s char­ac­ter, ear­lier en­acted by Bren­ton Th­waites, is played by Har­ris Dick­in­son in the se­quel. He has a heart of gold and very beau­ti­fully man­ages to ful­fil his com­mit­ments to both Aurora and his king­dom. Chi­we­tel Ejio­for as Con­all is another new­comer who plays a short but im­por­tant role as one of the horned winged dark fae who res­cues Malef­i­cent from the en­e­mies. Sam Riley too re­turns as Di­aval who trans­forms from a raven into a hu­man form along with the three comic fairies Thistle­wit (Juno Tem­ple), Knot­grass (Imelda Staunton) and Flit­tle (Les­ley Manville).

The film shines through­out with its broad ar­ray of colours and ter­rific imag­i­na­tive de­signs, giv­ing view­ers a pre­mium vis­ual ex­pe­ri­ence along with Ellen Miro­jnick’s stun­ning work as the cos­tume de­signer. How­ever, it lacks in pre­sent­ing proper Malef­i­cent-Aurora scenes to­gether. There is also a scene where Malef­i­cent keeps stand­ing silently with­out con­tribut­ing much while the two fae lead­ers Borra (Ed Skrein) and Col­lan de­bate over the mer­its of war and peace. The act is re­ally weird, keep­ing in mind the pow­er­ful char­ac­ter she is play­ing.

Malef­i­cent: Mistress of Evil is far more im­proved than the first in­stal­ment. It talks about is­sues of diver­sity, prej­u­dice, dis­crim­i­na­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and the na­ture of good and evil. While Malef­i­cent cares first and fore­most about women, it of­fers a warm cel­e­bra­tion of male ally­ship in the form of Sam Riley’s char­ac­ter Di­aval along with the hum­ble and good-na­tured Prince Philip.

Cast: An­gelina Jolie, Elle Fan­ning, Michelle Pfi­ef­fer, Har­ris Dick­in­son, Sam Riley, Chi­we­tel Ejio­for, Ed Skrein, etc. Di­rec­tor: Joachim Røn­ning Writ­ers: Linda Woolver­ton, Noah Harp­ster and Micah Fitzer­man-Blue Run­ning Time: 118 min­utes

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