Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, starring Angelina Jolie, is now in theaters. This movie takes place several years after the original. As Prince Phillip and Aurora prepare to wed, there one thing that must be done: meeting the parents! Aurora and Maleficent join Prince Phillip and his parents for a dinner to celebrate the union. It should come as no surprise that things don’t go perfectly. Soon, everyone finds them facing new challenges with new enemies. As the conflict rises, both Aurora and Maleficent find themselves questioning who they really are. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil isn’t just the next chapter of the story of Maleficent and Aurora, it is a movie about love, introspection, tolerance and the definition of strength.
To review this film, I was given tickets to experience it at a 4DX Theater.
Check out my thoughts below on both the movie and the movie-going experience!
I reviewed Maleficent: Mistress of Evil at the CGV Buena Park 4DX Theater. This theatrical experience bills itself as the “absolute theater experience.” It most certainly is an experience! Arriving, I had never experienced 4DX before. I really didn’t know what to expect. I took my 3D glasses and made my way into a theater.
Along the way, there was a sign with a height requirement and guidelines for the theater. A sign also showed where each seat could be found inside the theater, which really wasn’t that large. Inside, the rows of theater seats were lifted off the ground. Each had a footrest. Sitting down in them, I quickly realized this wasn’t going to be a reclining luxury seat. Instead, it felt more like an attraction seat in a motion simulator. The handicap seats in front of me even had a seatbelt! Noticing these things, I started to wonder what exactly an “absolute theater experience” really was! I was about to find out.
As the previews began in the theater, the entire experience fired up! The seats rocked and rolled. They also vibrated. Fog could be seen blowing into the theater. Wind could be felt blowing. It was if MuppetVision 3D had been taking the complete next level! The movement was not subtle at all. In fact, it was much like a mix between Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Star Tours at Disneyland. The seats REALLY moved! A friend, who was reviewing for another site, even had his popcorn thrown all over!
The movie began and the effects continued in earnest. Throughout the course of the film, there were many effects to be experienced. Just like the previews, the seats moved and vibrated. Fog was utilized as well. At one point it even rained! Wind was a regular effect. I actually had mixed thoughts on it as when the fans were utilized for the wind, it really was kind of loud and a bit distracting to the film. There were lightning flashes throughout the film, some even seemed to be coming from the seats! We THINK we could smell the utilization of the scent feature but we weren’t sure. If it was used, it really didn’t change the experience that much. We didn’t detect the use of snow at all either. All of these were shown as options for the 4DX experience.
Overall, the experience really was a heck of a ride and a lot of fun. It definitely took some getting used to though. I would say the first third of the film there was still definitely a novelty factor. Then, I sat back and just enjoyed the experience for the rest of the film. However, when the rain finally arrived we both cheered for it as we were wondering if it would be utilized or not as there had been some opportunities where it hadn’t. The 4DX experience really was a fun way to watch a movie. It was very different than anything I’d done before. The best example I have is what I mentioned before with the two Disney attractions, Star Tours and Flight of Passage. It really does move THAT much! It would be great to see some action movies in this type of theater. Immediately we both thought of how awesome Star Wars would be in a theater like this!
One word of caution I would give is that if you are susceptible to motion sickness, this might not be the way to see a movie for you. There is a lot of motion happening and it definitely can be disorienting. Either take some Dramamine or get one of those wrist bands if you have a hard time with motion. Overall though, it really is a lot of fun and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it!
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was a very enjoyable film. It moved the story along in a logical way. The characters made sense, as did their motivations and relationships with each other. The pacing of the film moved along at a fairly steady speed as well for the most part. There were a few scenes that could have been shorter, but that is probably nitpicking. What is important is that there is a believable story of love and personal identity that is told.
One of the reasons this film did work was that there was a wonderful balance of characters. Philip and Aurora were centered in the middle and added the predictable love story and heart. Built around them though were three very different parents. King John was a delight to watch and when he was on screen, he almost always made me smile. Prince Phillip’s mother Queen Ingrith brought in a solid performance as she went about protecting her son and kingdom in the way she saw fit. Angelina Jolie as Maleficent really is surprisingly believable. When she was first announced for the role for the first movie, it was hard to imagine her as Maleficent. However, she really does own the role and the bond she helps create between Maleficent and Aurora is one of the highlights of the movie. There were also some supporting characters that really added moments of humor, heart, and even threats throughout the movie.
The film itself looked quite nice in 3D. Sometimes films like this feel too digital to me. However, with this full experience, I didn’t find myself distracted by the on-screen effects at all. The audio was also great. Although, sometimes it was lost a little bit due to the sound of the wind being generated.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil does one thing that is very important. It takes the audience on an emotional journey. To me, that is always a huge win for a movie. If it can make me feel multiple emotions throughout the course of the story, it is going to pull me in that much more. This movie did that and with a nice variety of emotions and moments. Overall, this was a story I enjoyed and I wouldn’t mind seeing again. While it isn’t going to end up in my top tier of Disney favorites. It does feel like Disney and it is a movie that I’m quite glad to have seen.
Sleeping Beauty is one of the great animated classics to come out of the Walt Disney Animation Studios. It is beautiful in so many different ways and is a wonderful representation of Disney magic. Now, six decades later the story has been revisited and retold in a completely different way. It is almost impossible to not compare the two, but it also really doesn’t do any good to try. These are two completely different stories and mediums that happen to have some of the same characters. All that being said, I enjoyed Maleficent: Mistress of Evil more than I enjoyed 2014’s Maleficent. I highly doubt it will win any awards. However, it is an enjoyable film that has a dose of Disney magic (and some connections to the original film) and some heart. It does have some things that could have definitely been better but overall, it is a movie that is fun to watch. And isn’t that why we go to the movies?
Seeing in the 4DX Theater just added to the experience. It isn’t absolutely necessary to see it in 4DX, especially if you are prone to motion sickness. However, it really did make for a fun afternoon experiencing a movie in a different way. It also opened my eyes to the possibilities of what this type of theater could do and made me want to come back in the future. It was fun, intriguing, and a great adventure! I would easily give a hat tip to this type of experience and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil gets a hat nod! Go and check the two of these things out together. It’ll definitely make for a memorable experience!