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Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the sequel to Disney’s most ambitiously different live-action “reimagining” of an animated classic, firmly establishes Maleficent as the studio’s most gloriously weird franchise. It’s a female-led, wickedly subversive dark fairy tale with a “Frazetta-does-Hot Topic” high-fantasy aesthetic and dominated (occasionally in the most suggestive sense possible) by Jolie, flashing a blinding vampire smile of ivory fangs and blood-red lips as the ultimate 21st century Goth Goddess.

This is Escape to the Movies with Bob Chipman, talking about Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.

Bob Chipman
Bob Chipman is a critic and author.

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    30 Comments

    1. I didn’t like the first one the first time I saw it. I’ll give it another shot, it sounds like I didn’t get it. 😛

    2. YES Bob hell yeah THE BLACK CAULDRON MUST LIVE AGAIN!!!

      1. Crossover? Maleficent: Smash The Black Cauldron? Or would that not work?

      2. Hear, hear. I loved it

      3. I recently learned that 1985’s “The Black Cauldron” was loosely based on the 1st 2 books in a series called “The Chronicles of Prydain”. Disney should adapt all of THAT to live-action. Done right, it could be the next “Lord of the Rings”.

        1. There’s been talk about a live-action TV series based on the Prydain books for years, but it seems to be stuck in development hell.

    3. This sounds pretty rad.

    4. re:The Post-credits stinger:

      My parents completely lost interest in season 2 of Disenchantment about halfway through, and they ate up the first season and like damn near everything. I was more than willing to give the show a couple of seasons to pull together, but apathy from them is a really bad sign.

    5. Regarding Disenchantment, I lost interest after a few episodes in the 1st season. And I was much more into a non-official “Futurama but with gore” called Final Space, so good.

    6. Disenchantment is fun.

    7. Best thing about Disenchantment is the art design. Seriously, it’s witty, it’s lush, it’s fantastic, it’s beautiful.

      1. The sign gags are the only things that get a reliable laugh out of me.

    8. There really needs to be a list of, “It didn’t make it” animated movies that would be fit for live action remakes ahead of the, “it is already a classic, there is no need to fix what isn’t broken.”

      Especially those with franchise potential.

      Like, “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (Easily could be a series of movies), “Black Cauldron” (Is a book series), “Treasure Planet” (Okay, this is a one and done), and “The Sword in the Stone” (which is based on a book series and probably should have had a bunch of animated sequels back in the day).

      1. They are doing live action for the Black Cauldron (technically a more accurate adaption of the book series) and the sword in the stone both going direct to Disney+.

        Can’t really blame Disney though King Arthur films have been done to death with few even breaking even let alone being hits.

    9. Disney will need to be dragged kicking and screaming into acknowledging Gargoyles

      1. There were rumors a few years ago that Disney was planning to do (I think it was to be live-action) Gargoyles with Robert Downey Jr. as Xanatos but I hadn’t heard anything about it since.

        1. On one hand, he would absolutely rule as Xanatos, but on the other, that runs the risk of being “Tony Stark/Sherlock Holmes But Evil” (Even if they keep the moral ambiguity, it still stands) and I don’t think that’s what we need right now.

      2. at least it will be on Disney+… I learned having just spent the money to buy the episodes on itunes.

    10. Oh yeah, this is a thing that’s happening… Not sure how to feel about this new “franchise” honestly.

      Edit: BIG YES TO GARGOYLES REVIVAL!

      1. YES! I want my live action $200 mil remake of The Gargoyles. Spend the next 10 years doing Gargoyles movies. Create a GCU: Gargoyles Cinematic Universe.

        1. It would take a hell of a good casting to match the cartoon. It was always amusing that the show had such a strong casting of alumni from Star Trek series.

          1. Disney has the money for that, get Clive Owen, Cumberbatch, Liam Neeson. Get freaking James Earl Jones and throw money at him until he says yes.
            Get Tarantino to do his last film on this, throw more money at him. Get Neil Gaiman to write the next one, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, his first comic was Naauzika, I’m sure he’ll do great on live action. Get Guillermo del Toro to do the third one. Create a spin off about Asian Gargoyles with a new director from Taiwan and add an all Asian cast. I want think pieces about Gargoyles fatigue before we’re close to getting this done.
            Let’s put that gargantuan almost endless fortune of the mouse to good use

    11. I would LOVE for them to take another crack at Black Cauldron. Stop remaking the popular properties and remake the ones that didn’t do so well the first time out.

    12. Who talks about any TV show honestly? Apart from GoT not a person I work with has ever brought up anything episodic (can’t really call it TV anymore with streaming) films yes but TV aside from sports nope.

    13. Honestly kinda disappointed that the Maleficent sequel’s main villain is a woman that doesn’t really conform to gender stereotypes. Kinda to me seems less like “Maleficent takes on the living personification of internalized misogyny” and more a regress into “Maleficent takes on a woman that dares to not be feminine” and kinda the opposite of the hyper-feminist message of the first movie. LIke, shouldn’t feminism be fighting for women that aren’t into sparkles and fairy dust too? If they were really going for “internalized misogyny” as the thing the villain is meant to represent I think it’d be better if it were a woman forcefully insisting on every woman to be hyperfeminine and subservient to men.

      1. Or maybe Maleficent is going at her like “There’s only room for ONE powerful woman who doesn’t conform to gender stereotypes in this kingdom!” and this is the movie that remembers she’s not a heroine, she’s a villain protagonist.

        1. Except,,,no? She’s not. If this were the original animated Sleeping Beauty Maleficent then yeah I could see that but the entire premise of the first movie was “Maleficent was actually a misunderstood good guy the entire time”. So this movie is either backpedaling from it’s series’ very core premise or backpedaling from its feminist messaging, neither of which are very interesting.

    14. Revive “Gargoyles” and “The Black Cauldron”? That’s a definite “YES!!!” from me.

    15. These two movies are so un-Disney in my mind that I keep expecting a Bayonetta crossover. TO THE FANFICS!

    16. I can’t really agree with the sentiment here. I found M:MoE to be terribly dull; I wanted to leave halfway through (and would have if I hadn’t been with someone). None of the characters were interesting, none of them did anything interesting, there was no nuance to any of them aside maybe Maleficent herself. The movie is essentially “war is bad” without any additional takes, it’s two hours of a movie when all it has to say is that. Nobody grows, at most some go from “WAR!” to “okay, maybe no war”, very quickly I might add. Maleficent herself doesn’t feel mysterious as much as uninterested. Anytime after act 1 someone speaks to her she doesn’t seem to care about what they’re saying one way or the other until the climax.

      “Gloriously weird.” I mean, I guess so, though I wouldn’t say gloriously. The aesthetics are nice, I really appreciated some touches that I guess I won’t spoil, not that I really feel like this film can be spoiled. It’s all just wrapped around a story and script that left me utterly bored and uninvested in what was going on. Despite being weirder than other Disney movies and clearly having a lot of effort going into it, it just felt like the safest, blandest way to do this story and I couldn’t be more disappointed in it. I liked the first movie well enough, but this one just did nothing for me. I don’t generally like when people say a movie or something “doesn’t need to exist”, but I really don’t see anything particularly redeeming about this movie that, had it not been made, would leave the world lesser for its absence.

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