The peaceful lives of Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and her goddaughter Aurora (Elle Fanning) in the Moors are about to change. When the kingdom of Ulstead's Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) proposes marriage to Aurora, she accepts. A dinner to honor the upcoming union at the castle of King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) doesn't go as planned. A clash between future in-laws ends with Maleficent storming off and finding herself in danger. With the wedding in question, a war between humans and fairies is forthcoming.

Fans of the revisionist "Maleficent" (2014) will be enchanted once again with wondrous sets, costumes, effects and a sensational lead performance. This sequel, released 60 years after the debut of Walt Disney's animated "Sleeping Beauty" (based on Charles Perrault's tale "La Belle au bois Dormant"), suffers from
a highly predictable story by the 2014 original's screenwriter Linda Woolverton (with screenplay help from Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster). But director Joachim Rønning, co-director of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales", fills the screen with eye-popping sights and action to keep the audience engaged. The primary attraction is still Angelina Jolie, with her distinctive pointed cheekbones, who expertly blurs the line between villain and hero. A capable supporting cast gives her a little help. The scenery that isn't chewed by Ms. Jolie is gobbled up by Michelle Pfeiffer, who is ferocious as the determined queen. Elle Fanning and Harris Dickinson provide some of the appeal and excitement as the endangered royal couple. Sam Riley returns as Maleficent's servant Diaval. Also back are Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville as Aurora's three guardian fairies. Among the newcomers are Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ed Skrein as Dark Fey (Maleficent's species) warriors. There are several nods to the 1959 cartoon classic that won't be revealed here. This fantasy gets too dark at times for young children while delivering messages about tolerance and race relations. "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" has just enough charm to keep from becoming sleep-inducing. (3/5 CAMS)

Rated PG (for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and brief scary images)
Running Time: 118 minutes

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