***WARNING: MILD SPOILERS AHEAD***
I’ll be perfectly honest here — when I first heard that Disney was making a live action version of Cinderella, I kind of just scoffed and rolled my eyes. My thoughts went something like this:
Disney’s original Cinderella wasn’t even that good! And now they’re just going to do the same thing with real actors? How redundant. I guess Hollywood really is running out of ideas.
Well . . . color me pleasantly surprised. Because I saw it last night and found it a well-made, beautiful film.
What was so great about it? It’s a simple fairy tale about a girl falling in love with a prince at a ball, after all. Why did I enjoy it so much?
Well, for a few reasons. The main thing is that the story is refreshingly simple and untainted, but at the same time it has more depth and detail than the original Disney animated film. For instance, we see the story of how Cinderella loses her mother and later her father in a more intimate way, rather than through a narrated opening. Because we actually see Cinderella growing up with her loving parents, we are better able to get to know her as a character.
In a similar way, the prince actually has a personality this time around, and we also get to see a more in-depth look at his relationship to his father. And that’s another plus: instead of shrugging the father off as an imposing or foolish figure, the movie paints him as strict but also a caring father, and his son clearly cares for him as well.
The film also has great production values overall. The costumes and sets are exquisite, and the cinematography is wonderful, particularly in the scene where Cinderella first dances with the prince. (There’s also one shot in particular as Cinderella is fleeing from the ball that I thought was really cool — I don’t want to give it away here, but trust me, you’ll know it when you see it!)
I also thought the casting was very well-done. Lily James is delightful in the title role, and Richard Madden plays a charming and gentlemanly prince. Also of note are Cate Blanchett as the stepmother Lady Tremaine and Helena Bonham-Carter as the Fairy Godmother. Really, though, the entire cast was great and very enjoyable to watch!
My one complaint with the movie is that there is some glaringly obvious (and bad) CGI in a few places. This is to be expected in movies in general these days, but really, it needs to stop. Please. (I mean, seriously, Hollywood! How can it be that the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park — a movie more than twenty years old — look better than most CGI effects in movies today? But I digress.)
I’m trying not to give too much away here, so I think I’ll wrap this up. All in all, Cinderella is an enchanting and beautifully made film that is definitely worth seeing. It’s the best version of the story I’ve seen and I expect it’ll be a family staple for years to come. You done good, Kenneth Branagh. You done good.
My final verdict? In the immortal words of Brian Regan: “Four stars. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.”
Go see it! And once you do (or if you already have), what did you think of it? Drop a comment!
See y’all next week!