de facto film reviews 1.5 stars

Five years ago, Angelina Jolie starred in a live action remake of Disney’s classic film, Sleeping Beauty. But this time, the film told the origins of the film’s villain, the titular Maleficent. The film presented a story which didn’t portray from as a villain, but rather a hurt individual who was out to get revenge on those who abused her in life. One such example being the plot to curse Princess Aurora to sleep forever, as vengeance for her father taking Maleficent’s wings.

Now, Jolie is back in a sequel that picks up five years later. Aurora (Elle Fanning) is queen of Maleficent’s home, the Moors. When Aurora’s lover Prince Phillip asks her to marry him, she accepts, to the dismay of Maleficent, who is still torn over what happened in her past. Aurora pleads with Maleficent to reconsider, but a disastrous dinner between them and Phillip’s mother, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) leads to war between the kingdom and the remaining fairies of the realm. Maleficent is the only one who can bring peace, lest she witness the extinction of her kind.

If there had to be a physical representation for an unnecessary sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil should be it. Despite all the money poured  into creating this fantastical world, everything about this film felt slapdash, forced, and lacking any magic that Disney was once known for. It’s becoming annoying that the studio is so occupied on making money that they’re releasing more bad films than good ones.

Even the cast didn’t seem up to the task. Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning both look very uninterested to be back in their respective characters. They don’t fully get back into character in this film, and never make the film anymore interesting. They look like they’re doing as much to warrant being in the film, just waiting for the director to yell “cut” so they can leave. A film isn’t interesting if the actors don’t appear interested.

However, the one truly bad performance, shockingly, was from Michelle Pfeiffer. For such a great actress, it was surprising that she gave a performance so dull, yet so over-the-top. It didn’t help that she was playing a really badly developed character, but she should have taken the effort to make the character believable. She goes from obvious villain to ridiculous villain so fast that you don’t really get the chance to know her.

After having five years to come up with a good story that could improve on the first film, this film’s actual story leaves a lot to be desired. It feels more like a last minute thought. There’s nothing truly deep or complex about the film. What you see is what you get, and there really isn’t much else. People in the mood for a mindless blockbuster would enjoy this, but those wanting a layered story should look elsewhere.

There isn’t much else to say. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is almost laughable in the fact that 185 million dollars was poured into something so mediocre. The studio, filmmakers, and cast all seemed completely uninterested in making a good movie in favor of spitting out the least complex money maker. It’s another example that Disney is becoming the Michael Bay of Hollywood studios, churning out wave after wave of middling, big-budget films that audiences can’t resist eating up.