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12/12/19

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL (Movie Review)


We all know the tale of Sleeping Beauty. A dark fairy cursed a princess to prick her finger upon the spindle of a spinning wheel and sleep forever. A prince battled against dark forces and a dragon to bestow true love’s kiss upon the princess and thus wake her. Then they lived happily ever after… Or so we’ve been led to believe.

Now, we know from the previous Maleficent movie, that wasn’t quite how it really went down. Maleficent did curse the princess. It was actually her own motherly love for the child that released the girl from her enchanted sleep, not the prince’s kiss.

But somehow, in the human Kingdom of Ulstead, that little detail has been deliberately omitted in the retelling of this now legendary story. No wonder most folks wrongly believe that Maleficent is the mistress of all evil. And frankly, with those huge horns, wings and scarily spikey cheek bones, who could blame them for their trepidation.

Well, it’s time for that to change. Philip and Aurora are going to be married. Philip’s kingdom of Ulstead and Aurora’s fairy kingdom of the Moors will be united. And Maleficent is coming for dinner, courtesy of a surprisingly magnanimous invitation from Philip’s mother, Queen Ingrith.

Maleficent, for her part, isn’t particularly thrilled about Aurora’s choice in husband. As she reminds her adopted daughter, “Love doesn’t always end well, beastie.” But Maleficent is grudgingly willing to make the effort. She practices niceties and even covers her horns with a shawl for the highly anticipated dinner with the King and Queen.

But relationships between in-laws can be prickly things. And so they are here, as everything that can go wrong quickly does.

In a blink, fragile affection morphs into open hostility, old prejudices erupt, and joyful talk of impending nuptials turns to grim talk of war between two kingdoms suddenly at deadly odds with each other once again.

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