“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” (Disney)
By Catholic News Service
This routine follow-up to the 2014 live action reworking of the classic fairy tale, and 1959 animated Disney feature, “Sleeping Beauty” reverses the anti-traditional thrust of its predecessor by having its young heroine, the once-cursed Queen Aurora (Elle Fanning), accept the proposal of her longtime suitor, Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson). But the course of true love fails, predictably, to run smooth since both the morally complex title character (Angelina Jolie), whom Aurora regards as her fairy godmother, and the groom-to-be’s thoroughly nasty mom (Michelle Pfeiffer) object to the match.
Returning screenwriter Linda Woolverton, joined this time by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, delivers worthy but heavy-handed anti-war and pro-environment messages as director Joachim Ronning diverts from the overly-intricate plot with colorful visual treats. Though free of any genuinely objectionable material, his film is too frightening for little ones.
Much stylized but sometimes harsh combat violence. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.