Another Hit for Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie has the most prominent cheekbones in Hollywood history in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. She must have choked on some chicken leg bones that got stuck in her mouth on the way to the set. Most distracting, we say. Other than that, she looks gorgeous, even with the fluorescent contact lenses that flash on and off like the lights in a Thrifty Drug store.
This is another fun fantasy dreamed up by the folks at Disney as a showcase for Ms. Jolie and a reason for her to have catfights with another beauty, Michelle Pfeiffer. The bone of contention (pardon the awful pun) is not that Jolie has better cheekbones than Pfeiffer, (who plays another evil crone in the form of Queen Ingrith) but who will get custody of pretty little Aurora. The sweet young thing was raised by Maleficent and is now coming of marriageable age. The two forces of evil are pulling the poor girl apart like a wishbone (there are those bones again!).
You see, it’s the Queen’s dashingly handsome son Prince Philip that Aurora wants to marry. Philip is tall, handsome as can be, with sparkling teeth that would give a dentist the chills, and a graduate of the Royal Charm School of Medieval England. The lucky actor to get the leading role in this fantasy is Harris Dickinson. He made a big splash in Beach Rats, for which he won the London Film Critics Circle Award as the Young British Performer of 2017. Dickinson is 23, and a staggering 6 feet tall. He will certainly be catnip to the ladies in this new film and his subsequent films The Kingsman, The Medium and The Souvenir II in 2020.
With the two youngsters wanting to get married, it will mean the joining of two opposing kingdoms—that of Maleficent’s and Queen Ingrith’s. Sworn enemies in the past, Maleficent and Ingrith and King John (Robert Lindsay) pledge to put hatred to rest with the joining of the two lovebirds. But will the peace hold or will all manner of chaos break out? For the sake of some action, the movie presents some great war scenes, torture, mayhem and evil doings by both sides. Heads are chopped, garroting is the sport of the day, and arrows pierce bodies as if they were made of English pudding. It gives the film a little uplift.
Cinematography by camera artist Henry Braham is dazzlingly beautiful. He brightens colors when necessary to cheer the scene or darkens the lens when appropriate during war scenes. Colorful costumes by Ellen Mirojnik brighten the day, and all the ladies look splendid in their exquisitely detailed gowns. One off note with the film involves overhead shots of the castle and village that look painfully like scale models. Added to spruce up the film are Disney fairies, flowers, and those dratted chirping birds.
Jolie has another hit on her hands which will enable her to make some bucks for her brood. With her posse of puppies back home, she needs to keep working. Thank Heaven---and Hollywood---that we can enjoy a magical star like Jolie.
(Released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and rated “PG” for intense sequences of fantasy action/ violence and brief scary images.)