A Ball: Midnight is Just the Beginning
Cinderella is the next live action remake in the Disney universe. The film is directed by Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) and is written by Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass, About a Boy). 'When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella's fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger'. Cinderella stars Lily James (Downton Abbey, Wrath of the Titans), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, The Hobbit), Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech, Harry Potter) and Sophie McShera (Downton Abbey). Will Cinderella live up to the heights of Maleficent even though it doesn't include any form of twist?
Lets get what I didn't like about this film out of the way. I found the beginning of the film quite slow and it was a little boring and I was really worried this would foreshadow the performance of the rest of the film. Also, I still don't really understand the point in this as there was literally no twist or new knowledge learnt about the tale - it is basically just a money grabber. I would have also liked it if the film was a musical but recordings of 'A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes' and 'Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo' by the original cast are played during the end credits. However, once you get all of them minor issues out of the way, Cinderella is a brilliant treat!
I was never a huge fan of the original animated film but I actually liked the plot here - I thought it was really warming and emotional. The director was able to turn a fairytale into a drama that could potentially be an Oscar-contender. My favourite scenes include when the Fairy Godmother (Bonham Carter) grants Cinderella her wish to go the ball and when the shoe fits at the end - even though these are key moments of the original film, I think they were done justice here. They were really iconic moments. Cinderella is a really elegant film - it can appeal to all ages - from children to the elderly. The film also had many humorous moments which helped lift the tones of the deep and darker moments.
The film also has some really nice messages for its viewers - to be kind and have courage. The film also teaches audiences that they don't need to be 'the special one' to have good things happen to you - be yourself. The film also fixes some of the issues of the original Cinderella - in this edition, the prince really emphasises that it is not just the appearance he likes about Ella but her personality too. However, there has been controversy about the very small waist of Ella - this isn't too prominent in the film. The film also teaches people to forgive no matter how much someone has hurt them.
The soundtrack is really elegant and beautiful to listen to - it almost creates a 'period' kind of feel to the film. The film is also very visually appealing - from the special effects to the costumes, it is eye candy! I predict right now that it will get an Oscar nomination for Best Costumes.
Finally, lets talk about the performances. Lily James is a fantastic Cinderella - I haven't actually even seen her act before so for me, this is an outstanding big screen debut! Even though she doesn't have the star power like Jolie did for Maleficent, she still held the film really well and was a perfect casting for the World-famous princess. She was really likeable and was able to make the audience connect with her. Cate Blanchett was a wickedly brilliant evil stepmother. She was able to create a sense of tension every time she was on the screen (Similar to Steve Carrell in Foxcatcher. Her outfits were also always green which suggests that she was envious of Cinderella. Blanchett has proven once again that she is a really diverse actress - she was nearly unrecognisable in this film and she didn't even have any special makeup on. Richard Madden was a charming prince - it was also nice to see the Prince get a name ('Kid'). This is another improvement on the original animated film. Even though her role was small, Bonham Carter almost stole the show as the fairy Godmother - she was perfectly cast. She was witty, humorous and really likeable - Bonham Carter is a 'character' actress and she always puts a unique personality into her roles. Finally, Sophie McShera played one of the ugly stepsisters as was honestly one of my favourite characters in the film. She provided some of the biggest laughs and really outshone the other sister.
Cinderella is not as magnificent as Maleficent due to a slow start and a little less magic. However, it has wonderful meanings, brilliant acting and is really visually appealing. The film provides both humour and emotion and balances the two really well. Cinderella is one of my favourite films of the year so far (I wouldn't have predicted this at the start of the year) and could be a contender for the smaller awards at the Oscars. I can't emphasise enough how well James did and even though there are still traditional Disney issues with their representations of gender, Cinderella is a huge improve on the animated classic. Cinderella is elegant, beautiful and really is a ball!