Story and art by Scarlett Hatton
The 2014 film, Maleficent was a fantastic retelling and origin story of the beloved Disney classic Sleeping Beauty told in the villain’s perspective. The film captured the dynamic character development of Maleficent [played by Angelina Jolie] and the magical world she lived in. Throughout the movie, Maleficent became a motherlike figure to Aurora [played by Elle Fanning], ultimately being able to save her from her eternal slumber with “true love’s kiss.” This character shift made for a very happy ending to an amazing, complete story. Then, Disney decided to give us a totally unnecessary sequel that seemingly no one asked for.
Theoretically, a continuation of this story could have been interesting. However, in this instance, the film was barely a continuation of the first movie at all. Not only did it have an entirely unrelated storyline, but the writers seem to have forgotten the ending of the last movie. While the first film ended with Maleficent rid of her evil ways, the second movie began with her as the villain. This came as a surprise because the entire first movie was about the character growth and development of Maleficent. Ultimately, it was not necessary to have any prior knowledge of Maleficent to understand this movie. Whether that was their intention or not, the film was less enjoyable to watch and felt unnecessary to the original story.
As mentioned previously, the storyline of this film was lacking. The movie began with Prince Phillip proposing to Aurora, Queen of the Moors. Once Maleficent heard of their engagement, she argued with Aurora against this future marriage. After some convincing, Maleficent agreed to have dinner with Phillip’s parents, King John and Queen Ingrith. During dinner, Ingrith began insulting Maleficent by bringing up her past and even claiming that she was not a good mother for Aurora. By this point of the movie, it was painfully obvious that Ingrith was the main antagonist. Unfortunately, the entire movie was badly written in a predictable manner. Maleficent got so mad at Queen Ingrith that she cursed King John in a fit of rage. Because the main antagonist needs to be conscious for the entire movie, the writers chose for King John to be cursed instead of the logical choice of Ingrith. This is one of the best examples of poor writing choices.
After the dinner scene, the plot became very messy. Maleficent was shot by the Queen’s iron bullet, fell into the ocean, and was rescued by a fairy. The fairy took her underground, where she encountered many creatures just like her. This storyline is redundant, predictable, and can be found in many kids’ movies. The last main portion of the movie was the battle scene. This lasted for a long time and was quite different from the first movie which did not have as much violence. Coincidentally everything worked out in the end. It was a happily ever after, somehow, despite the death and destruction that the battle caused.
Despite its flaws, the movie was stunning to look at. The incredible special effects and detailed costumes showed throughout, proved the high budget and effort that was put into the film. Compared to the first Maleficent, the visuals improved tremendously. Each setting and character were so much more believable and realistic in this movie. The beautiful visuals even distract from some of the strange dialogue. It is a shame, however, that the writing could not live up to its image.
No one else could play the role of Maleficent better than Jolie. Her character was convincing and had depth, which most characters lacked. During the movie, it was clear who was written as a main character opposed from a background character. Small roles were very one-dimensional and did not really add much to the storyline. It seemed like the movie introduced almost too many new characters for the writers to handle. However, even smaller roles had incredible detail that did not go unrecognizable.
With its mainly younger audience, the predictability and plot holes are forgivable. Yet there was so much that could have been done to improve the story. There is no doubt that the film was full of different side plots and characters. As a whole, the movie was unnecessary. However, Jolie’s talented acting and the beautiful visuals were its redeeming qualities.