Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (PG)

Starring Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson

Directed by Joachim Ronning

The horns, the cheekbones, the wings — Angelina Jolie, as Maleficent, the dark fairy, is spellbinding.  But there’s just one problem: her character just isn’t evil enough. Listen, when the movie is called Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, you’d expect Maleficent — can I call you Mel? — to be, well, evil.

The 2014 revisionist spin on Disney’s animated classic The Sleeping Beauty  made it abundantly clear that Maleficent isn’t evil, she has a beef with the humans because of what they’d done to her (recap: her boyfriend roofied her and then sliced off her wings… gnarly).

But with a little TLC and some good old-fashioned revenge, Mel gets to be good again — she got her wings back, she’s the guardian of the enchanted forest, and she’s a dotting mum to her enemy’s daughter Aurora (Elle Fanning). How’s that for redemption?

Here, in this uninviting and inessential sequel, Mel is the Coke Zero of Evil; beneath that scary exterior is a softie inside. The only ‘evil’ thing she did is opposing Aurora’s marriage to Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) because she doesn’t trust men in general. But mothers veto everything — it’s their job.

The real meanie is Philip’s mother, Queen Ingrith (sounds like ‘ingrate’), played by Michelle Pfeiffer. She’s a discount Cersei Lannister, who’s using the wedding as a pretext to invade the moors, oppress the people, take over the world — you know, megalomaniac stuff.