Before I start on Cinderella, I would like to thank Moviepilot staff @Andrew Marco for giving me an awesome opportunity to see an early screening of Cinderella in my area.
When you want entertainment, you go to Disney. Disney has embellished everyone's childhood into something beautiful and great. To this very day, I still enjoy watching their animated movies and going to their theme parks. It is quite literally, the happiest place on earth. Disney's films make us laugh, cry, and most of all, happy. Disney makes us believe in the magic
Disney is most famous for their animated movies, specifically their princess movies: Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, etc. and they've all been great. Now Disney is trying something new; live-action adaptations of their classic animated movies. So far, the list is short, but ever-growing.
We started off traveling into the creative mind of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Which is technically a sequel to the animated version back in 1951. With this new adaptation we see Alice return to Wonderland, only to fight the Red Queen and bring peace and harmony to Wonderland. With this film, we get a medieval twist, being very action driven. The film is dark and rather brooding and although it earned mixed reviews, it is an enjoyable film (at least for me).
The next live-action adaptation we are given is Maleficent, which is a twist on the animated film Sleeping Beauty, where the story is told from the antagonist point of view. This is clearly a dark fantasy, but a good one, and although it did earn mixed reviews, Disney was praised by this approach, proving that more live-action adaptations are on the way.
Now that I got those two films out of the way, let me talk to you about Cinderella and how it is actually the best live-action adaptation so far.
***Potential Spoiler Ahead***
Today, we have seen a rise in female protagonist, with Katniss, Maleficent, Triss, etc. and they have been the lead in the action. Which believe me, I think is a wonderful thing, but don't expect that in Cinderella. Expect, a story about kindness, endurance, and most importantly, love.
There aren't any twists in this movie, no action scenes, no huge climatic battle. Cinderella is what it's supposed to be, a princess movie.
Just to get all the negativity out of the way, the one thing that rather bugged me was the kingdom. We didn't get our traditional castle, as we see in Disney World's Orlando Florida. We just saw a large building that looked similarly to the White House. That's about the only thing that I didn't like about the film.
Now to start positive, what I do love are the visuals. I have to praise the visuals as there is nothing quite like it. By far the most beautiful visuals in any Disney movie. The film is heavily adorned with vibrant colors and magical effects. The effects are simply fantastic, watching the pumpkin turn into a coach and seeing the mice turn to horses, and lizards into men, put a smile on my face. It was funny and it left your mouth gaped open in awe. All the little animals, the mice and the lizards are just adorable and funny to see on screen.
Cate Blanchett, as the wicked step-mother, Lady Tremaine, is something wonderful. Her performance was great as we see how someone can be so cruel and wicked to another human being. Clever, beautiful, and wicked are the traits that define Lady Tremaine. The same can't be said about her daughters.
Cinderella's step-sisters, Anastasia and Drizella Tremaine, acted as those annoying little siblings who got away with everything. Both actresses play their role great as they are really there to back up their mother and to become a comedic relief. There are several scenes in the film where the sisters make me laugh because they work well with one another.
Cinderella herself is just a gorgeous, sweet, kind woman, who wants nothing else but to have happiness for herself and everyone around her. Lily James, certainly gives justice to Cinderella, as she shows that Cinderella is the embodiment of good will. She shows us the characteristic it takes to be a (Disney) princess. Despite all the hardship given, she continues to push and stay strong. However, not for herself, but for her mother, who passed away when she was young. Her story is about kindness, love, and endurance. We've all heard about Cinderella's story at some point in our lives. One of my favorite moments in the film, is in the end, when she leaves her house and her step-mother for Kip (get to that later), she forgave her step-mother. Despite all the living hell, Lady Tremaine put Cinderella through, she had the strength to forgive her. She chooses to do better and to become a woman with a strong set of values and respect.
Of course, there can be no princess without a prince (charming), or better said in the film, Kip. Not much can be said about him and his supporting cast, because they didn't have enough screen time, but what I did see was great. Richard Madden gives us a young man, who has so much weight on his shoulders. Every decision is made for him, but when it comes to true love, it's a decision he will make on his own. Instead of marrying a woman from royalty to make an allegiance with his kingdom, he'd rather marry someone for who she really is. The dynamic between the Prince and his father, The King, is interesting as he wants his son to have happiness, but questions whether that should be sacrificed for the greater good of the kingdom. A little bit of politics is played here in the prince's story, but nothing much that one really needs to dive into.
On the Prince's side, we have the Archduke who's really his foil. The Archduke will stop at nothing to prevent the Prince from having his true love, all for the greater good of the kingdom. We also have the Prince's friend who happens to be the Captain of the Guards, who will always come to the aid of his prince.
It's rather interesting because for our two characters, the antagonist are the step-mother and the Archduke. While the characters who lend the most support is the Captain and the Fairy Godmother
Speaking of Fairy Godmother...
You can't talk about Cinderella, without talking about her Fairy Godmother, Helena Bonham Carter, is a very familiar face in pop culture and seeing her as beautiful as she is in this film is great. Who better to narrate us the story, than the Fairy Godmother. Although, she only has one scene in the entire film, what we see is beautiful, hilarious, and simply magical.
This is a princess/love story and it is beautifully told by the actors and the director, Kenneth Branagh. It's just a fun, enjoyable film for the whole family. Disney is known for many things, but it's most famous for making magic and that's what they did as we are submerged in a film filled with it.
"The greatest risk we'll ever take, is to be seen as we truly are." - Cinderella