By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A- (3 stars)
In the tradition of live action Disney remakes of animated films such as Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent, we have Cinderella, inspired by the Walt Disney animated classic and fairy tale of the same name. Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Thor, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) and starring Lily James (Downton Abbey) as the title character, this new take on Cinderella manages to capture the Disney magic of the Walt Disney film and still be fresh and new with certain ideas.
I’m sure we all know the story of Cinderella by this point, but I’ll sum it up briefly for the…two of you who have never seen the Disney classic.
Once upon a time there was a young girl named Ella (Lily James), living with her mother and father in a cozy farmhouse. At first her life is absolutely perfect, until her mother suddenly passes away and her father remarries to the wicked stepmother, Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett-Blue Jasmine, The Monuments Men, How to Train Your Dragon 2) with her troublesome daughters, Drisella (Sophie McShera-Downton Abbey) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger-Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, Anna Karenina).
At first it doesn’t seem so bad, Ella’s father seems to love Tremaine's company, that is until he goes away for a while and unfortunately is reported dead. Once Ella, Lady Tremaine, and the stepsisters hear about the tragic news and that they will no longer get money, Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters decide to make Ella their servant and have her do all the work around the house without getting paid, thus making her life miserable, you name it from cooking to cleaning and sewing, everything is done by Ella with no help, except for these cute little mice that live in the attic.
One day Ella accidentally runs into the dashing Prince Charming (Richard Madden-Game of Thrones) and the two of them ride off with their horses and they immediately know that they are in love and need to see each other again.
So the next day, the prince decides to hold a ball in the palace so he can pick a bride to marry. When Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters hear about it they plan to go to the ball and get him to marry either Drisella or Anastasia, so Tremaine can inherit the riches.
But Ella really wants to go to the ball, so she knits up a dress so she can come with Tremaine and the stepsisters. Unfortunately they don’t take it well as they rip apart her dress and forbid her to go to the ball.
Heartbroken and in tears, she cries in the garden about the catastrophe that occurred, but she is then greeted by her Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter-Corpse Bride, Dark Shadows, Harry Potter franchise) and she magically turns a pumpkin into a carriage, the attic mice into white steeds, two lizards and a goose into carriage caterers, and a beautiful ball gown with glass slippers, and Bippity Boppity Boo! She shall go to the ball.
But before she goes to the ball, the Fairy Godmother warns Ella that on the stroke of midnight the spell will be broken and everything will return to the way it was before. She dances with the prince and has a wonderful time, unfortunately right before midnight she flees from the palace, drops one of her slippers, and makes her way back to the farmhouse, the prince is determined to find her and express his true love, can he find her in time so they can both live Happily Ever After or will Prince Charming be renamed Prince Tremaine?
Overall, Cinderella is a very solid new take on the classic story, the Disney magic translates well to live action and the cast is very engaging. Cate Blanchett is a great Lady Tremaine and she’s just hamming it up and enjoying every minute of it, Lily James as the beautiful peasant girl does a good job in the role, the stepsisters are absolutely hilarious, especially their fashion taste, the prince is very dashing, but what really took me by surprise was Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother, I thought she would have made a better Tremaine but when she appeared in the movie, she was very amusing as the character.
Besides the acting and story execution, the visuals are very appealing, especially when the Fairy Godmother transforms the pumpkin into the carriage and when she turns Cinderella’s ripped dress into a ball gown, it’s like visual glitter to the eyes. But as much as I enjoyed this new Cinderella, I still prefer Walt Disney’s version a little more, it’s the one I watched when I was little and it’s the timeless classic that pretty much describes Disney.
But with that said, this is a nice way to bring the story to a new audience, if you love the story or Disney animated film, chances are you’ll probably find something to enjoy in this film. Not to mention it’s a wonderful family film to take your little princes and princesses to, it’s Disney magic brought to life and it’s executed well with these three words, Bippity Boppity Boo.