Family Movietime: Cinderella
With the new resurgence of live action fairy tales plus to popularity of ABC’s Once Upon A Time, most people have been wondering just how a live-action Cinderella might turn out. Well Disney’s version decides to not go off-script like they did with the ultimate ending of Maleficent and keep to the version most people know with a few improvements.
Starring Lily James of Downton Abbey as Ella a much beloved daughter of a merchant and his wife. She’s not royalty or some even distant, just a very happy kid who adores everything about her life until her mother dies. Her father (Ben Chaplin) remarries much later for status to the widow of his boss the Lady Tremaine. I’m just going to say Cate Blanchett is awesome here. She keeps the perfect face, glides across the floor and commands every scene she’s in. Her daughters are as awful as they’ve always been Drizella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) fight with each other just as much a they treat everyone and everything as beneath them. This marriage of their mother feels like a downgrade to them. Thats how she becomes Cinderella being named by her step-sisters.
On the royal side of things you have the Prince (Richard Madden) who has to follow his father’s orders while dealing with the formal rules of the Grand Duke (Stellan Skarsgård) but happily discussing his true feelings with his Captain of the guards (Nonso Anozie). What Cinderella does here is it tones down what it can get away with for the animated version with the heavy animal interaction, its still there just not as much they don’t talk or wear clothes and Lucifer as a fat cat just focuses on the mice not tormenting Cinderella.
What Cinderella does do is clean up the story. The love at first sight for an event that lasts all of 2 hours is now a chance meeting with no names and then a repeat at the ball. There’s no who is this girl that I can’t recognize without the shoe? The courtship is still pretty short but when you need filler there’s still only so much you can add in. The magic is still there in the form of Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother looking like she stole Kristin Chenoweth’s wardrobe and ran with it. She plays the fairy godmother for laughs and the entire sequence is definitely my favorite form the whole film. Mice lizards, wayward pumpkins and a repeatedly scene-stealing goose make for a level of light comedy that continues. Oh that goose.
As you may notice there’s lots of familiar faces cast here from some more popular shows, Besides 2 from Downton Abbey we also have several Game of Thrones actors and even Agent Carter herself Hayley Atwell.
Cinderella is very entertaining and very light and kid-appropriate. The casting is spot on and its not a heavy film. Its always nice to see the King of the North with his head again. The film also includes the new short Frozen Fever which is all about Anna’s birthday. Elsa has planned an amazing party but she’s come down with a cold that is much more than anyone bargained for. Since they announced Frozen 2 is now in development its addition here is fun to keep the momentum going.
My Rating: Full Price
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: March 13, 2015
Run time: 112 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG