I have never seen this version of Cinderella and surprisingly, it’s not on Disney+. I could have sworn that this was Disney’s first attempt at this new iteration of a live action movies, so this confuses me. Anyway, let’s talk about what works and what doesn’t.
Why is Cate Blanchett such a good villain? Is it the voice? The look? What is it? What I admire about this film, to start, is how they pieced the original elements of Cinderella together in the film. Things I haven’t really seen before. For example, Lady Tremaine, for me, as always been a character who started and ended as an evil woman. Here, when we meet Lady Tremaine and her girls, there isn’t any indication that she would be evil except for her dress and the evil music they played when she arrived. After that, it was little things that you started to see. For example, the rooming situation with Drisella and Anastasia where she mentions that they like to sleep in the same room, which meant they needed a bigger room–Ella’s room. The progression of evil was subtle and I liked that it took that pace and didn’t pile the evil on.
There are a few trends in these Disney classics and pretending to not be a royal to feel normal or impress someone and lying seem to be just behind the mom dying. So in this version, the Prince introduces himself as “Kit” and not the Prince. How she didn’t know he was royalty is beyond me but movie has to movie. Also, much like in Coming 2 America, the Prince and the King can change laws as they see fit. It’s kind of like a perk of the job besides ruling a whole kingdom. I get tradition but as royalty, people often throw tradition in the trash. Remember King Henry VIII? Exactly.
Can I say that Drisella and Anastasia are two of the most annoying people on screen I have ever seen? I know they are supposed to be there and serve a purpose but the scenes they’re in seem so long because they’re so annoying. The mice were very subtle. They didn’t do too much with them or eliminate them altogether.
The fact that Helena Bonham Carter as Cinderella’s Godmother said, “Better” when she transformed herself into the true version of herself which is a woman in a dress that has WAY too much frill and WAY too many ruffles. That tickled me because all of her best characters are like that haggard woman she was before she transformed.
The set design is exceptional. The graphics were a bit off for me and took me out of the whimsy, but I have to remember that this is for children. It is not a Marvel movie…but it should have better graphics . Just saying.
Every iteration of Cinderella has its own twist. This one has the King die and using his dying breath to tell his son to marry for love and not for the sake of the country. Lady Tremaine also finds the glass slipper and gives a bit of her backstory. She Rumpelstiltskin’s her but Cinderella doesn’t take the bait which I thought was endearing. The movie focuses heavily on making you understand that Cinderella is good but they don’t really outwardly try and make Lady Tremaine evil. The little backstory they do give you does kind of make you feel for Lady Tremaine. She’s had a rough love life which makes her mean and evil. That’s why she doesn’t describe herself after she basically berates Cinderella for being so good and pure.
What I didn’t like was that the end of the movie felt rushed. I get that we know that the Prince, well King now, scoured the land to find the maiden whose foot fit that glass slipper that was apparently very comfortable but that whole scene felt like and afterthought. That entire last part of the movie was 15 minutes. I think we spent more time on the sisters and Lady Tremaine getting ready for the ball than we did on the climax of the movie.
Somehow, I remember this movie not getting the greatest of reviews. I feel like I heard people say, now that we have more live actions, that this live action isn’t as strong as the others. It does have an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes while the audience gave it a 78%. Could it have spent more time on the climax of the film instead of the buildup? Absolutely but is it a perfectly fine film.
See for yourself. If you have Verizon, Cinderella is On Demand and streaming on Hulu. It is not on Disney+.