Movie Review: Revisionist dark fantasy

Film: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Harris Dickinson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Lindsay, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Ed Skrein

Director: Joachim Ronning

Rating: * * * +

Adults and teenagers will enjoy the second instalment of this revisionist fantasy actioner inspired by the classic fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm, though small kids may get unnerved by the battles between horned and feathered “fey” warriors and humans.

In this sequel, the Sleeping Beauty aka Aurora (Elle Fanning) is all set to marry her Prince Charming (Harris Dickinson) with the blessings of kith and kin.

Surrogate mother Maleficent has anointed Aurora as Queen of the Moors following King Stefan’s death, but Aurora’s future mother-in-law, Ingrith, Queen of Ulstead (Michelle Pfeiffer) has a nefarious agenda of her own. Will she succeed, this Luciferian dressed in white, the colour associated with purity and goodness? Interestingly, black clad Maleficent essays an essentially good, but maligned character who truly loves Aurora despite doubts and fears.

Angelina Jolie is a standout as the sharp-boned anti-hero Maleficent who protects the Moors despite being reviled by the Prince’s bigoted mother. Sam Riley plays her sidekick, Diaval, a shape-shifting raven/human who prefers the avian form. Marked by solid performances from the two female antagonists and superlative CGI, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil underlines the need for acceptance, tolerance and friendship. A timely message indeed.