I don't consider myself a fan of Disney princess movies. They're nice, sure, but they're not exactly directed towards my particular market. I'm also not a big fan of reboots or remakes. Ironic, I know, considering that's all everything is these days. And lastly, I am a huge disbeliever of live-action re-tellings of originally animated movies. Oddly enough, Cinderella is all three! Surely I should be protesting this movie, and honestly, that's what I did when I first heard of it. I was completely against this movie! I thought it was pointless for Disney to spend time and money on a film that had already been done before. And not only that, but it's a film with a fairy tale story that EVERYONE has heard of time and time again!
So what changed my mind? Well actually, the first trailer. I didn't know what it was about that trailer that made me want to see it. I mean, it had all three of my personal "no-no's"! And yet, I felt compelled to actually anticipate it.
But now, I think I do know why I wanted to see Cinderella, despite it having everything I was pretty much against. It was because Disney performed an act they were oh so masters at, they grabbed my childhood memories by the strings and tugged on them! Disney manipulated my incredibly large and adept senses of nostalgia and filled my brain with thoughts of Disney wonder. I was completely powerless against their technique!
But in this case, perhaps it was a good thing. Had they not marketed their trailers toward the kid in me, I would have never wanted to see Cinderella, and I would have surely missed out on such a spectacular film. Now close your eyes and click this tab off if you haven't seen the movie yet, as from here on things are going to get very spoiler-y!
First off, I feel I should talk about the short film that came on before the movie, Frozen Fever.
In this sort of pre-Frozen 2 sequel to everyone's favorite feature length 'Let It Go' music video, it's Anna's birthday! And Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven are planning a spectacular surprise party for her! Elsa goes to get Anna while the others stay at the party site. But Elsa suddenly comes down with...a cold.
Yes, because even though you basically control winter, you're still subject to the common cold...apparently. Oh but this cold isn't common, not in the slightest! Elsa not only has a serious case of the sniffles, but those sniffles cause her to conjure up tiny little snowmen. Which, now that I think about it, hints that Olaf was most likely created in the same way.
There's nothing particularly great about this short film. It's not bad, but it's not exactly an eye-catcher either. It was a bit annoying how it sort of just played on how popular Frozen was, rather than make itself interesting. It was quite clear that Disney was saving it's Frozen energy for Frozen 2: Freezer Burn!
But anyway, let's talk about the movie everyone went to the movie to see: Cinderella!
First off, if you've seen the original movie, you already know the story. Young Cinderella, after the loss of her mother and father, is forced to live with her cruel step-mother and her evil step-sisters. They force her to cook and clean and do just about everything in the house, treating her like a slave. But there are a few noticeable differences. For one thing, we get to see Cinderella's mother and father prior to their untimely demise. Something I didn't know, perhaps because they didn't promote it enough or maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention, but Cinderella's mother is played by Hayley Atwell!
Anyway, like I said, the movie is pretty much the same; but with some minor changes. Usually that'd be a bad thing in my book, changing up the source material, but these little changes not only make this movie really great, they actually improve upon the original! Such an improving change is the step-mother. In a way, she's not so evil. Don't get me wrong, she's still an incredibly cruel and heartless woman, but this movie gives her an excuse. It's not a good one, but it's one more than she had in the last film. In this movie, we actually hear more about her previous marriage, and the father of her daughters.
It's obvious even in the original film that her husband died, but in this one we get to see the toll it took on her a little more. We see that her cruelness comes from the loss of her beloved husband, and the revelation that her new husband will always love his previous wife more than her. It's also insinuated that she is jealous of Cinderella's beauty, youth and innocence, mostly because she believes that she has long since lost those. Add all of those elements together, and you can sort of understand, not sympathize with or justify, her cruelness.
But while the minor, but appreciated look into the life of the evil step-mother is a great thing, the greatest thing this movie has done, is make it so that the prince isn't a total idiot.
The main problem I've always had with the original is the prince's sheer obliviousness towards the identity of a woman he had danced with closely for several hours! You'd think he'd be able to identify her right away thanks to her unique features, like her blonde hair, her blue eyes, etc. But nope! He's got to go and fit a glass slipper on every single woman in the village, in the hopes that none of them have a slightly larger or slightly smaller foot than Cindy's and manages to slip it in the glass slipper!
In this film, the Prince and Cinderella meet prior to the ball, and have a good look at each other's dashing faces. So much so that the Prince, Kit his name was, can't get her out of his mind. Then, after the ball and Cinderella's fateful flee, he thankfully still remembers what she looks like; but he's never told who she is or where she is from. Instead, the Duke, not wanting the kingdom to be led by a simple farm girl, joins forces with the evil step-mother and concocts a plan to keep Cinderella and Kit apart! While the evil step-mother locks Cinderella up in the attic, the Duke goes on a wild goose chase, going to every woman in town and letting them try on the slipper to see if they are the girl. Making this tedious and useless task an act of mischief from the Duke, rather than it just being an "act of true love" from the prince was definitely an improvement to the story overall.
Well then, now on to the final thing I have to say about this movie, a look at
I usually have a problem with a certain casting choice in any adaption. For The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it was Dane DeHaan (great actor but I couldn't and still can't see it), for The Hunger Games, it was (at first) Josh Hutcherson, and for The Last Airbender, it was the entire cast! But I honestly have to say, this movie has the PERFECT cast! Everyone plays their part well! Lilly James as Cinderella? Does it well!
Richard Madden as Prince Charming? Does it well! Cate Blanchett, Holliday Grainger, and Sophie McShera as Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Drizella respectively? A little too well, in that I truly believed they were cruel, heartless, and in the sister's case, daft. But that's a good thing! But the best person in this film is by far the Fairy Godmother, portrayed so cleverly by Helena Bonham Carter! Though she was only in the film for roughly 10 to 15 minutes, she did a spot on job!
So the verdict? Cinderella is a magical and incredibly well-done film! Despite being a live-action remake, it somehow brings something original and wonderful to the table. From its lovely story to its stupendous cast, Cinderella is a film for all ages!
Now I know it seems like I'm just saying all positive things about this film, but it really is worth the praise! At least in my opinion. But I will say, the CGI...very terrifying. Really, it's scary.
Cinderella is out in theaters RIGHT NOW! So go check it out and decide for yourself how you feel about it!