By Esther Kim
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil reunites Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and Aurora (Elle Fanning) as they face their biggest challenge: growing up.
Sure, there are the fey people wanting to come from behind the shadows and a potential battle between them and humans, especially with an evil queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) pulling the strings from behind the throne. But the main story is really the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora.
“I feel the huge part of the success from the first film is that it had a strong emotional core,” said director Joachim Rønning during the global press conference in Beverly Hills. “I think that was the most important to me to continue telling that story. The story about Maleficent and Aurora. That’s what I can relate with as a parent, myself.”
In the film, Aurora has just gotten engaged to Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) and would like Maleficent to meet Philip’s family. Let’s just say, it is not the best family dinner. Maleficent and Aurora are torn apart due to suspicious circumstances and go on their own individual journeys of self discovery.
“I love the family theme in the movie because it’s very realistic to real life of growing up and separating from leaving the nest and making her own choices in her life,” said Fanning. “Love wins… Aurora stands up to Maleficent. Aurora is taking charge of her own life but with kindness.
Pfeiffer, who plays the villainous mother to Philip, loved the first film because of the dynamics between Maleficent and Aurora and the grey area between good and evil. She agreed that Aurora is the strongest between the three women characters in the film.
“Aurora’s character in many ways is ultimately the strongest and wisest of all of us.” Pfeiffer revealed. “My character is brilliant and diabolical but I wouldn’t consider her terribly wise. I like the way it plays out.”
Jolie said the movie has many themes for her, but agreed family was an important theme. “Aurora and Maleficent were first brought together and became a family,” said Jolie. “They weren’t really expecting it. Maleficent was harmed in her life and lost herself and lost the ability to be soft and feel love. The love of a child, which certainly happened for me in my life being a mother, brought out something out in me that transformed me.”
Jolie continues by saying that there are many metaphors in the film, especially with Maleficent and Aurora being pulled apart because people are telling them that because they are different, they aren’t family.
“That certainly strikes a cord with me,” said Jolie. “I think Maleficent questions if she is good enough to be a mother or be her mother… we go through the film where it focuses how different we are and we goes back to our own backgrounds… then there is a real push that says this is not how we should be. This is not how to live. Diversity makes us stronger. There must be a better way forward. We must come together.”
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opens in theaters on October 16.