Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Starring Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgard, Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera, and Helena Bonham Carter
Yeah, I’ve always been a bit of a Disney geek. I was kind of entranced with the teaser materials for Cinderella, focusing on the icons of the original Disney animated film. Then, when it hit theatres, it got phenomenally good reviews, and applause for not going dark and gritty, like so many fairy tale reboots these days. The next town over had a good ol’ fashioned one-screen small-town movie theatre that I’d been dying to try, and when I saw that Cinderella was this week’s offering, I said, “Why not?”
Really? Do I have to? Are one of the few who never read the fairy tale as a kid or seen one of the countless movie adaptations? OK. Ella is a young girl with a loving mother and a loving father. Her mother dies, and her father re-marries to the wicked Lady Tremaine. The Lady Tremaine and her two spoiled and vain daughters move in. Ella’s father soon dies, too, and Ella is treated as little more than servant girl by her step-family. One day, the Prince hosts a ball in the kingdom, and Ella’s stepmother forbids her to go. However, Ella’s Fairy Godmother intervenes, and with a little magic, Ella gets to go. Will she find true love with the Prince?
What I Liked
Blanchett really plays up the “wicked” part of the Wicked Stepmother, and it really makes her more evil and cruel to see how scheming and manipulative she is. We even get some proper hints at what made her so cruel. Lily James is an angelic Cinderella, who manages to be so kind and pure no matter the dire circumstances. And Helena Bonham Carter is just the perfect blend of flighty and magical for the Fairy Godmother.
What I Didn’t Like
Well, it is Cinderella. It doesn’t deviate too far from the source material, so the familiarity can leave you checking your watch.
A truly magical film and a wonderful retelling of the classic tale.
And I should mention that the film did open with Frozen Fever, a new animated short featuring the characters from Frozen. Now that Elsa has her new found confidence and mastery of her powers, she’s dedicate to giving Anna the perfect birthday party. But, Elsa comes down with a cold, threatening the whole affair. It’s cute. It’s almost a music video, as at least 90% of the film revolves around an original song. But it was a fun little expansion of the Frozen universe. 3 Nibs.