I don’t think I’m expected to care for sickly sweet Disney tales. However, I think I have seen too many Only God Forgives and Nightcrawlers to go on without a little happily ever after. Don’t get me wrong those are the kind of films I’ll mostly be addressing. For now, Cinderella.
Let’s start with the story. If I ever saw all of Disney’s original animation then I don’t remember it. What with Lilo & Stitch being my all time favourite this wouldn’t suit my personal preference. Regardless, I was gripped. Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart as I know him) decided to lead our attention away from cat and mouse chases, and more towards focusing on the building relationship between Ella and Kit. The fact that the Prince is no longer just known as ‘Prince’ made me feel better already. Not to mention the second I realised he is none other than Robb Stark… SOLD.
This was truly no cheesy fairy tail. The back story we see of Ella’s tragic loss of both her mother and father really brings a sadness to the cheery kind nature she has towards her stepmother. In and out we get some comic relief from the mice who keep Ella company in the cellar, not to mention the great sense of humour brought to the situation by Lily James. This is all a brief light in the dark presence of the “evil” stepmother. I’m very fond of Cate Blanchett for Middle-Earth reasons but aside from that she knows how to perform. We gain yet more past information in the story through her and I think this is what gives the stepmother almost a secret connection with Cinderella, one she clearly does not want to share. There is deep sorrow and loss in her past which is much more clear in this version, and to be honest I think it adds some realism which I liked a lot.
Now it would be rude not to mention the fairy godmother. If any part of this film was going to make me cringe with sugary lovely animals and magic and whatever else, it was this scene. I won’t say it didn’t have any of this but in light of the film being based on a Disney animation I’m letting that slide… it wasn’t too heavy on this anyway. Also, have you seen Helena Bonham Carter in her costume? I mean, she looked fantastic (keeping this clean) and was the perfect choice for the role.
I’ll be honest, as someone who went to see this film mainly for his girlfriend I really enjoyed it. We all need something easy going from time to time and this revamp of a Disney classic was very well made. The story had a much bigger dynamic this time round through the early introduction of the Prince who actually had a personality in this one. Branagh created a broader story which gives us more of an emotional attachment and the improvement of building relationships. This version will probably become a Disney modern day classic. To be honest I don’t think it could have been made any better.
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