June 22, 2024

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Movie Review: Cinderella (2015) Steals The Ball

cinderellaWarning: I’m totally going to spoil this movie for you right now.  Cinderella marries the prince.  There.  I have officially spoiled a story that was first published in 1634.  I believe the 371 years since publication somewhat weaken my need for a spoiler warning, but I’m still getting grief to not ruin Breaking Bad for some people.

That notion of spoiling Cinderella goes hand in hand with the biggest question we had before this movie came out–why are they making this story again?  For several generations we’ve had the classic 1950 animated and for many people the idea of remaking this movie seemed preposterous.  But it actually makes perfect sense.  Find out why after the break.

Although most adults alive today had their first exposure to a Cinderella movie in one of the various releases (Platinum Edition, Diamond Edition, Gold-Pressed Latinum Edition complete with the Revised Rules for Prince Acquisition) it’s interesting to note the 1950 animated version of Cinderella wasn’t the first Cinderella movie.   It wasn’t even the first Disney animated Cinderella film–he animated a shorter version that took place in the swinging 20s released in 1922.  And most people seeing the 1950 edition have still already heard the story as well.  Cinderella has never been about the big reveal or plot twist, it’s about the telling of a story.  And different generations can bring new elements to this classic story.

As the previews came out for Cinderella they looked nice–we’d expect as much–but they also looked dark.  Not just the visuals but the moments chosen from the movie for the previews were a much darker tone than we’d expect for Cinderella.  Would this out-creep Maleficent in the “kids movie but damn that’s dark” category?  Turns out that concern was completely off target and just the result of a trailer reaching out to those moody tweeners with their Instagrams and snarky Disney tween sitcoms.

The movie itself is fantastic.  It contains a land that is both familiar and remote, and a world where magic is possible but not intrusive.  It perfectly sets the stage for our hero, Cinderella, to face hardship and be saved by her fairy godmother.  Cate Blanchett absolutely nails the role of Stepmother–she is just the right amount of cruel without being cartoonish that makes her so creepy, so mean, and yet it is still believable that Cinderella could put up with this woman for so long.

The expansion of the prince’s role is also welcome–even though the actors for both Cinderella and the Prince are decent performances, the story itself adds some extra elements to make us cheer for these two getting together.  And there are some absolutely fantastic scenes between the Prince and the King which added some great emotional punches to the story.  Overall, I was impressed with Chris Weitz’ work here.  His screenplay to About A Boy was fantastic and The Golden Compass–well, he did what he could.  But I have full confidence in whatever Rogue One turns out to be, he’s shown he can add excellent emotional strengths to an otherwise common story.

If you’re on the fence about taking your kids to see Cinderella, get off the fence and go.

Score: 8 out of 10 glass slippers.