I just came back from watching Cinderella with my family. My last movie in the US before I fly back for my graduation ceremony. After three years of blogging, I am proud to say I’ll soon be semi-qualified to sit on the couch and type in my sweatpants.
Cinderella is an interesting change from Disney’s previous fairy tale adaptations. Unlike dark retellings such as Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland, this one is unapologetically camp and true to the original 1950 cartoon. And maybe this is part of the problem: That it’s based on a ‘50s CARTOON.
Not to say that it isn’t charming. Director, Kenneth Branagh gives us a Technicolor fairy tale as seen through Cinderella’s rose-colored glasses. It’s a kitschy confectionary of pastel tulle and more sparkle than a Liberace concert.
I’ll admit I was touched by the mother’s dying words: “Have courage and be kind.” But there is a bit of overkill on this mantra: It is repeated at least five or six times throughout the movie, to the point where it loses meaning. And I think Cinderella misinterprets it to begin with: Be nice, not a pushover!
She’s so pathetic, even her friend asks her why she doesn’t leave her borderline abusive household. But she gives some excuse about wanting to preserve her parents’ house, blah, blah. Then there’s another scene where she’s accepted that she’ll never see the prince again. Fine. But don’t twirl around like a dipsh*t, never asking more from your life.
Lily James (Downton Abbey) tries her best, but Cinderella is kind of a wet character, thanks to Chris Weitz’s (New Moon) screenplay. She has no ambition in life but to be nice. But then the prince rescues her and it’s all good. Cate Blanchett more than compensates as the deliciously evil stepmother. Helena Bonham Carter lent some necessary comedy relief to the film, but we sadly never see her again after the ball.
Speaking of which, the party is stunning. The choreography is great, costumes are spectacular, everything on point. I guess Prince Charming just didn’t do it for me. There are plenty of money shots of Richard Madden’s (Game of Thrones) steely blue eyes. But there’s not enough buildup of a relationship, except for when the prince shows Cinderella his secret garden (huehuehuehue).
If you want to talk about hot period actors, check out Sam Reid in Belle.
The ending is really awkward. Because we all know what’s coming, I was expecting them to play with our expectations. Or at least throw Carter in there somewhere! No dice.
By the way, have you seen Sarah Michelle Gellar's as Cinderella in Epic Rap Battle? It's pretty good.