Ella lives a fairy tale life in a happy home with a mother and father who love her a treat her like a princess. That world is shattered when her mother dies. Eventually her father re-marries to Lady Tremaine who has two daughters, Anastasia and Drizella. As if a new family weren’t enough to rock her world, soon after her father suddenly passes away. Ella finds herself at the mercy of a cruel stepmother and self-absorbed step sisters who cruelly nick name her “Cinder-ella.” Despite it all Ella is determined to live as her mother taught her, with courage and kindness. One particularly rough day she meets a handsome stranger in the woods. Unaware he is the prince, she is honest to a fault and instantly wins his heart. It appears as if her fortunes have changed when a ball is announced at the palace and all are invited. But her stepmother is determined that Ella not attend. It is only with a little help from a fairy godmother and a healthy dose of courage that Ella finds her way to the ball where she comes face to face with the handsome stranger, the prince, and her one true love. But happy endings don’t come easy and Ella must maintain her courage despite the efforts of her step mother if she is to finally be with her prince and live happily ever after. Starring Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Nonso Anozie, Stellan Skarsgard, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Ben Chaplin, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, Jana Perez, Alex Macqueen, Tom Edden.
The latest rendition of Cinderella, brought to you by Disney, isn’t a master piece but it has all the right touches to be sincere, opulent and romantic all at the same time. One of the best things about this start to the rebooting of the popular Disney fairy tales is that it doesn’t just copy what animated version I am so familiar with from my childhood. There are elements that harken to it but it isn’t an exact replica.
This version of Cinderella is actually a combination of three movies – the original animated Disney Cinderella, Ever After and Elle Enchanted. Thankfully the best pieces of each are what is brought together here. Director Kenneth Branagh and writer Chris Weitz manage to take an old story and breath new life into it. This is Cinderella for a new generation.
The secondary characters of the stepmother and king, played by Blanchett and Derek Jacobi respectively, that steal the show. Unsurprisingly Blanchett is perfection as the evil stepmother. I was satisfied with, if not wholly impressed by, the performance of Lily James. James is best known for her role as Rose on Downton Abbey. Her sweet nature fits the role well but she didn’t blow me away with her performance.
All in all Cinderella is far better than I expected it to be. It delivers a fresh, lush, period piece fairy tale that I think can be appreciated by a whole new generation of young girls and inspire them to believe that fairy godmothers really do exist and that prince charming is out there.
8/10 Stars – Cinderella for a new generation!
I would hope that if you are old enough to get on the internet and find this post, you are old enough to have seen one of the many versions of Cinderella to know the jist of the story. Unlike some of the other adaptations, this version of Cinderella is pretty straight forward. Now, I’ve never read the fairy tale itself, but I’m pretty sure all its parts are there. It has the evil stepmother and step sisters. It has the ball and the glass slipper. It has the fairy godmother and the pumpkin coach. It even has the mice that she befriends who help her along the way. This adaptation definitely feels like the complete package.
I’m sure the question on the tip of everyone’s tongue is, “Is this the best version you’ve seen?” and I’m confident the answer is no. That’s not to say this version is bad because it’s probably the 2nd best version I’ve seen, but the Disney version is by far the best due to its songs. This adaptation feels like watching the Disney version, but only without the songs. I don’t fault the movie for lack of songs due to the fact that this is a live action film and not an animation, so introducing a child to this version will be something they will enjoy.
At the end of the day, this movie is still the Cinderella we all know. I think due to the fact that it is new, it often feels like the charm is lacking, but I think with a new generation of little girls falling in love with this movie, it will stand the test of time and be reared as one of the better versions of the story. Keep in mind that the story of Cinderella is still a movie geared towards female audiences so don’t expect your little boys to love this as much as your little princess. That’s not to say boys won’t like this, but you know what I mean.
7/10 Stars – If I were female, this would probably be an 8 as I can see the ladies loving this. As for me, it is a nice, straight-forward take on the story that doesn’t do any harm, but at times it feels a little plain.