The only good live-action Disney adaptation aside from The Jungle Book is returning to the screen in October of this year with Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil, and we are blessed with a new poster to celebrate the news.
This poster is fantastic in its simplicity because it banks on its best asset, which is the performance of Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie, as the best person other than a young Vivian Leigh to physically embody the evil fairy from Sleeping Beauty.
Returning to the film are, of course, Jolie as the titular character and Elle Fanning as Aurora, who will be Queen Aurora in this film. Joining them will be Michelle Pfeiffer as a rival queen Queen Ingrith, Ed Skrein, Harris Dickinson (Prince Phillip), and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
The sequel synopsis goes: “a fantasy adventure that picks up several years after Maleficent, in which audiences learned of the events that hardened the heart of Disney’s most notorious villain and drove her to curse a baby Princess Aurora, Maleficent II continues to explore the complex relationship between the horned fairy and the soon to be Queen, as they form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within.”
Having recently rewatched the first movie, I can say that, despite my mixed feelings on the “rape metaphor” and the Flanderization if the good fairies, I enjoy Maleficent quite a bit. It’s not a shot for shot remake of the original, save for that one glorious scene that highlights just how good Jolie is at embodying the character, and even with the rape metaphor, that is not unusual in the Sleeping Beauty mythos if you have read some other versions, especially the Italian one.
With both the live-action Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, I found that the biggest problem with them is that they want to modernize the stories without actually changing their cores. Movies like Ever After and Maleficent work because they take enough creative leaps to create something different. While I, of course, like the evil villain from the Disney animated Sleeping Beauty, there is really no way to make a full movie based around that character just … being evil—unlike something like, say, 101 Dalmations starring Glenn Close; while she may seem like the star, Cruella de Vil is not the lead character.
I’m looking forward to seeing what they do in this sequel. They have plenty of room for growth, and this will be Angelina Jolie’s first onscreen appearance in several years, which is exciting to me as a longtime fan, and for the potential for her to square off against Michelle Pfeiffer.
Can one camera capture that much cheekbone? We will find out soon enough.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opens in theaters on October 18, 2019.
(via /Film, image: Disney)
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