Reviewed by Alicia Glass
As Maleficent’s goddaughter Aurora prepares to marry her childhood sweetheart and the families and kingdoms of humans and Fae try to come together, hidden dark forces attempt to tear them apart!
Who doesn’t love a wedding? Many of the to-be in-laws, that’s who. King John (Robert Lindsay) seems fine and dandy with the idea of a Fae-raised daughter who was declared Queen of the Moors, royalty in her own right. But his frosted-white wife, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), can’t stand the whole Fae society, or the idea that her daughter-in-law to-be Aurora (Elle Faning) was raised among them, and is determined to crush that under her perfect slipper heel as soon as possible. Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) knows perfectly well where his fiancé comes from, and espouses a proper level of respect for her loving if terrifying guardian, Maleficent. And how does Maleficent feel about all this nonsense? For her ‘Beastie’, as she had nick-named Aurora in the first film, she would suffer just about any and all torments, including a strained meet and greet dinner with Philip’s parents.
Trusted crow-man servant Diaval (Sam Riley) tries his level best to help Maleficent act normal-ish in preparation of meeting Philip’s parents, but truly, those horns and fangs are all but impossible to hide. The headdress that Aurora pleaded for Maleficent to wear, to cover her amazing Fae horns, might hurt, but anything for Aurora’s happiness.
The meeting dinner goes from fine to bad to worse at a rapid clip, as Queen Ingrith smiles and lashes out repeatedly, showing who the truly evil one at the table is more than once. If the iron in the cutlery wasn’t intentionally bad enough, nearly being attacked by that damnably familiar cat was all but the final straw, and in the midst of chaos, the white Queen takes the advantage to show her true colors and start an all-out war of extermination against the Fae of the Moorlands!
Devastated, blamed for a bunch of crimes she didn’t commit as per usual, wounded and left for dead, Maleficent is rescued by the most unexpected of saviors, Conall (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who introduces her to a hidden world and long-lost family. Tensions mount as humans gird themselves with hideously effective iron weapons and ghastly stolen Fae death magic, whilst the innocent folk of the Moorlands prepare to go to a wedding they were, after all, invited to. And Maleficent, the supposedly evilest one of them all, has to make a choice about who her real family, and enemies, are, before its too late!
The cinematography for the sequel is outstanding – all those wings, so many bright motley Fae folk running about, even the purported nobleman Fae slave-working for the white Queen, Lickspittle (Warwick Davis), gets enhanced shiny colors that make the movie really pop visually. As she so often does, Michelle Pfeiffer plays a truly excellent villain, so much more evil than the title of the film applies. And of course Angelina Jolie as Maleficent is another fun sharp-cheekboned jaunt through misunderstandings and the chaotic situations that can arise from them when people just won’t talk to each-other!
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm