“I have to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. Have courage and be kind.”
Plot: 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.
With the annual event of a live animated Disney film, we know what to expect: the knowledge that a dress and pretty shoes will help you find your Prince. I mean, who needs personality or brains or kindness? Nope, just have your dress, shoes, evil stepmom, fairy godmother and mouse ready, coz you are going to find that handsome bastard and marry him within a first few days of your meeting. Oh, there will be some challenges, but because you are nice and everything it will all work out in the end.
Now that I’m finished with those nasty thoughts, I was really excited for this film and that it didn’t pay off. I had hoped for something more than the classic fairytale, but Kenneth Branagh produced what can really be called a reinforced version of Disney’s favorite fairytale.
Kenneth Branaugh really worked his material to the best of its ability. Cinderella is shot beautiful with such colourful style and just a slight hint of flamboyance and is able to carry the movie when the plot slows down.
The casting of Richard Madden. Can the world just stand still with me and marvel at Robb Stark’s incredible beauty and talent. This guy is a phenomenon in the “Zoë and Natasha’s eternal debate on the need of male facial hair” debate – we both agree that Rob’s little moustache is delicious and should be kept in a hall of fame. The news that he was cast as Prince Charming made me so excited but he was sadly devoid of facial hair in the trailer, which disappointed me a bit. Well, Madden apparently works with either option because he is the perfect Charming to James’ Cinderella. He also does a really good job as Kit and his acting is impressive. I enjoyed the looks you got at him with his father – there was love and the acknowledgement of their duties between them. The insight into his kind heart justifies why a woman would just accept a man’s hand at the blink of an eye.
Background on Cinderella. I am naturally suspect on truly sweet people – it seems so unnatural for a person to always be kind and nice, a foreign concept in our world. James as Cinderella is then naturally suspected because that kind behavior to such wicked people seems very incomprehensible. The childhood factor helped to show that Ella was always taught to be kind to people even when they didn’t deserve it and that shaped her to become the doormat for the wicked Stepmother and her loony daughters. (I still don’t trust Cinderella, she’s too nice)
Some background on stepmother, although not enough. Cate Blanchett handles this role with ease; she’s done much more with just such excellence before. It is criminal that she wasn’t more used. Some insight into her deplorable activities were given – why would a woman openly hate a young girl the second they met? It has been on my mind lately how bitter women become so bitter and cruel and this was just another case study how such things happen. I enjoyed Lady Tremaine’s attitude, her sarcasm and her constant irritation with her silly daughters, and yet you could tell that she loved her daughters despite the fact that she wanted to kill them.
The first dance between Kit and Cinderella at the ball. Call my heart soft and squishy but the romance in this scene was tangible and beautiful. That dress was incredible and Madden leading James through that dance sequence had me sighing with happiness.
I am a huge Disney fan, but as time progresses and I am more aware of the subconscious sexism women are subjected to each day I am more and more worried that Disney stories are what young impressionable girls are watching. Disney has been on a mission to fix their damage in recent years – Disney’s Frozen had Elsa openly question why her sister would want to marry a man after only knowing him a day. Cinderella is still unbearable sweet and kind and that must not be seen as oppression but as for the personality and charm it is. Cinderella speaks her mind when she meets Kit and has an opinion and I was like HALLELUJA. Her constant bowing to the prince at the ball had my eye twitching but I do acknowledge that feminism was allowed at least fifteen minutes of play time.
The movie starts with a slow pace, picks up some speed and then slows again. It dragged a bit at the end and felt purposely drawn out.
When you are gifted Cate Blanchet and Helena Bonham Carter, you used them and don’t under utilise such talent.
The opening scenes with young Ella and her parents were very kitsch, forced, cheesy, over the top and unnecessary.
This movie is exactly what you expect. There is nothing new and original, no fresh take.
Cinderella didn’t really have all that wrong with it; it just lacked either of the two things that could have made it work: magic or originality.