Thursday, March 12, 2015



From IMDB:

The story of "Cinderella" follows the fortunes of young Ella whose merchant father remarries following the tragic death of her mother. Keen to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother Lady Tremaine and her daughters Anastasia and Drizella into the family home. But when Ella's father suddenly and unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella since she used to work in the cinders, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother's dying words and to "have courage and be kind." She will not give in to despair nor despise those who abuse her. And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an employee at the palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears as if her ... Written by disney

Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,344 users Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 12 user | 49 critic | 10 from

From Rotten Tomatoes:

TOMATOMETER 86% | Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 37 | Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: Refreshingly traditional in a revisionist era, Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella proves Disney hasn't lost any of its old-fashioned magic.

AUDIENCE SCORE 98% want to see
Average Rating: 4.1/5 | User Ratings: 29,615

Releases Worldwide March 13, 2015.

This is little Ella, well what did you think? That she was born named Cinderella? ©DISNEY

Another Disney classic gets a retelling?

So here's another Disney classic getting another go around. First it was Maleficent (2014) I think, or was there another? And of course since Maleficent there's been others like Into the Woods (2014) which was about all your favorite fairy tale characters mashed into one kingdom and bumping into each other. Were there more old classic Disney titles re-released? I can't tell. I don't keep track of fairy tales much.

The moment when Ella finds out that she's an orphan stuck with bad people. ©DISNEY

Anyway, this 'new' Cinderella has apparently been in pre-production since May 2010 just after Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) turned out to be such a huge hit for Disney. Scripts were written and directors were hired, left and another was found and actors and actresses were considered but it only really took shape when Kenneth Branagh came on as director. Before Kenneth Branagh came on apparently the script for Cinderella was going to be much darker. Funnily enough though Cate Blanchett who plays the evil stepmother signed on for this project even before Kenneth Branagh came on as director. 

And so the mistreatment begins with the 'accidental' drop of the plate full of cookies. ©DISNEY

So Cinderella, I don't think I need to go through my usual routine of telling you everything that happens and spoiling it for you, right? It is after all Cinderella. If you've never seen the Disney animation for it you'll still have seen some variation of it or at least read about it. It's a story about a girl who gets a stepmother and two stepsisters and they treat her like their slave/maid. Then one day the rulers of their little kingdom tells them there's to be a ball and everyone's invited. The evil stepmother and step sisters all go but they forbid Cinderella from going. Saddened by how she's being treated a Fairy Godmother appears and tarts her up and even transmogrifies her barnyard friends and a vegetable into other things so that she can go in style. She's told that the magic will disappear by midnight. So she goes and has a lot of fun and of course the prince within just a few hours falls head over heels for her and then midnight comes. She bolts for the pumpkin coach and speeds off under barnyard transformed power. But in her haste she drops her glass shoe. So the Prince now with shoe in hand goes round his kingdom looking for the right fit. When he finds her he marries her. That's basically Cinderella in a paragraph.

Yeah, Ella takes care of everything. Including the animals. ©DISNEY

In fact if you've seen the Disney animation Cinderella (1950) it's basically the same thing but with no sudden or impromptu bouts of singing, except for right at the end when her singing turns out to be the only way for the Charming Prince to know she was there. There are cute animals in it but they don't go around dressed like humans and they don't talk like us humans or even talk to the humans. They communicate in their own way. The mice and the birds don't help with her dress. Also the Fairy Godmother played by Helena Bonham Carter of course, doesn't fly around or look like a little old lady but she does at certain moments look a little creepy and deranged at times. To me at least.

So Ella gets a little mad and goes for a ride where she bumps into the Prince who tells her his name is Kit. ©DISNEY

Also, just before Cinderella leaves home and goes off with the Prince to marry him she stops when she spots her stepmother and tells her that she forgives her despite all that she and her children have done to her. I don't remember that ever happening. I guess she was staying true to her mother's last words to always be courageous and kind and of course to always believe in magic. Sort of.  

There may be more similarities to the animated 1950 release but I haven't seen that one in ages and I'm old and my memory is sketchy at best. 

This is Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. She didn't show up dressed or looking like that. She showed up as an old hag whose clothes made her look like the bark of a tree. ©DISNEY

So Cinderella in 2015 with Robb Stark as the Prince Charming. Is it good? 

Is it good. Hmm... It sort of is. I guess. It definitely isn't bad. Let's start with the cast. Lily James plays Cinderella. She does a pretty good job as Cinderella I guess but for whatever reason I kept thinking she looks a little too much like one of the characters from Frozen, Elsa or was it Anna. Maybe it's because they ran that Frozen short just before the movie started. Cate Blanchett plays the evil stepmother, well maybe evil is too strong a word. But she was brilliant. Really good. Without her I think I would have enjoyed it a lot less. Then there's the step sisters Anastasia played by Holliday Grainger and Drisella played by Sophie McShera, both were quite good but made me think of Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum but good as they were they scenes felt fleeting. Prince Charming otherwise known as Kit in this version of Cinderella is played by Richard Madden which fans of the series Game of Thrones will recognize as Robb Stark who's death in the bloody wedding scene was very much talked about. Although I have to say I can't really see many fans of GoT going to watch this willingly unless they're just weirdly curious about how Robb Stark pulls of Prince Charming. But pull it off he does. He looks the part and is pretty charming, even with his very thick northerner accent. That's pretty much all the cast that matters. Everyone else shows up for such a short time that you don't really warm up to them much. In fact other than Cinderella and the stepmother everyone else just comes and goes it seems. The CGI mice shows up more often than some of the human actors.

And here we are at the ball. Evil stepmother looks smashing but somehow allows her daughters to dress like clowns. ©DISNEY

The other thing I sort of liked are the costumes. The women's dresses are in a word, beautiful. They really are. Even the ugly step sisters dresses are beautifully ugly. They sort of play a role in and of themselves. The sets are also very nicely done. 

So fairy tales lead us to believe that with one dance you can fall in love with someone. I wonder if that happens at raves. ©DISNEY

My complaints? Well, I thought the scene where the magic wears off was a little too long. The make-up for the lizard turned coachman looked a little weird as did the make-up for the Fairy Godmother. Also there's the scene where the pumpkin transforms into the carriage, playing for laughs a little too hard that one. Wasn't funny at all. 

And here we have the stepmother scheming with the archduke to make sure that Cinderella is never discovered. Evil, right? ©DISNEY

Overall though, this Cinderella was an okay movie for me. Mr Branagh who has a penchant for period pieces and Shakespeare did a pretty good job with this Disney re-telling. All in all, I guess I'd give this movie a 3 out of 5. A decent movie if you've seen everything else and want a little trip down Disney nostalgia with a twist.




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