Disney is at it again this weekend, remaking a classic movie with a modern twist. This time they continue the real life princess momentum with Cinderella, a tale that is close to my heart. Numerous advertisements and television specials have painted what looked to be a promising movie, and seemed to leave nothing to the imagination. With little mystery left of this movie, I had doubts as to whether this movie would impress me. So taking a trip back to the old style, let’s get down to business.
The thing about Cinderella I always remembered was how cute the whole tale was. In this modern version that cuteness remains with through the fun little quirks the team has designed. First off the budding romance between the prince and the princess, which you know is coming, is very sweet, holding all the qualities that true love SHOULD be. Cinderella focuses on the important qualities love and curbs the movie glamour to emphasize inner beauty despite the gorgeous outer beauty. Second factor is Cinderella herself. She has a bubbly personality, coupled with kindness that brings that heartwarming effect that these movies need to bring more often. And for once it didn’t cross into the cheesy love that also is common in these stories. Yet the cutest factor for me was the integration of mice back into Cinderella’s life. Yes you heard me; the loveable GusGus is back, though this time without the digitally mastered voice. Along with a feminized Jacque, now Jacqueline, the small family of rodents provides some comedic relief in the form of slapstick comedy. While not the remotely close to funny, the mice are definitely adorable in all their squeaks and big eyed antics that only the heartless, or those with an aversion to mice, can hate.
Yet cuteness alone does not make a good movie, it requires a strong cast to bring the characters to life. Fortunately the casting director did their job as the Cinderella’s teams of performers are well grouped. The star of course is Lily James, the lovely woman whose physical and inner beauty shines throughout the entire movie. She captures the inner strength and kindness that Cinderella is famous for, bringing a positive energy that radiates from the screen into you. I couldn’t help but smile and feel the hope she promised with the good-natured soul she had, her smile in particular mirroring those values. However, she wasn’t some high on life hippy, as Cinderella’s suffering was the stronger of the two emotions. Making me empathize with her. Enough about the star though, let’s get to the charming prince of the tale. Richard Madden makes a good prince, handsome, wholesome, and actually representative of the characteristic he is supposed to have. He carries the pride of a prince, but also remains humble and has the good inner qualities that are truly noble. I can’t say if girls will be attracted to him, but this reviewer liked the realistic nobility that defied the stereotypical tools we usually get. Cate Blanchett’s poise and deceptive demeanor rings strong in this movie. That haunting tone she makes famous returns, with a little cruel humor thrown in to mix things up and tickle some funny bones. And of course we can’t forget the talented Helena Bonham Carter can we. The multifaced actress again blows the roof off an iconic role, bringing a refreshing taste back to a tried and true part. Her time as the Godmother brings the humor all ages will love, her klutzy demeanor and honest to a fault lines perfect to uplift the “depressing” scene she appears in.
However the biggest strengths of this movie are the special effects, costumes, and makeup of the movie. Cinderella is filled to the brim with fireworks, scenery, and magical spells of light that will make you feel you are in Disney world. I was pulled into the setting with the colorful creations the effects team made, and how well integrated they were into the movie. While the effects pulled me in, the costumes and makeup were what kept me impressed in the movie. The beautiful gowns and dresses were crafted to match the personalities of our characters in both color and flare factor, as I like to call it. My favorite dress in particular, definitely goes to the classic blue gown of Ella’s, the modern upgrade to the sapphire blue a very beautiful choice that I agree with. And as for the makeup, well the artists get another round of applause from me. From the subtle touchups to make our cast sparkle to Carter’s hag makeup, there were plenty of touchup that impressed this reviewer. The goose and lizard makeup in particular were my favorites as they blended both animal and human qualities together in a way that reminded me of a Face Off challenge.
I had low expectations going into this movie, but Cinderella did entertain and impress me. Yes it is predictable, and doesn’t quite capture the fun the animated film did. However, the cast and crew have recreated the world and added a few twists to revive the drab Disney tale. It lacks a lot of driving factors, especially the danger and darkness to help keep up the suspense, and it also could have favored from some wittier comedy to bridge the audience gap. Family’s will enjoy this tale though, and if you are like me, will feel as if they were living in a Disney World dream. Is it worth a trip to theater? I have to say yes, especially a movie that little ones will enjoy, but please gage your child’s attention spans before making the trek.
My scores for this charming film are:
Movie Overall: 7.5