Disney’s Live-Action Cinderella Review

I finally saw Cinderella!

I didn’t have high expectations for this movie, to be perfectly honest. And this is coming from a fairy tale fanatic.

I was pleasantly surprised. While this movie didn’t really have any twists to it (I can only think of one, very small one), the movie was very good.

The beginning starts off with Cinderella and her father and mother, letting you see their family dynamics. It compares their family and home to a kingdom and castle, with Ella as the princess.

Then her mother dies.

I never get particularly emotional during movies, but I definitely felt sad here. In the past, when I have watched Cinderella retellings, I never really felt upset by her mother’s death.

Just as with her mother, I felt sad when her father died. Something that I did notice was different from other Cinderellas, or so I believe, is that when her father left for his trip, he asked the girls if there was anything that they wanted him to bring back for them.  While Drizella and Anastasia requested lace and parasols, Cinderella simply asked for the first branch that his shoulder brushed on the way to his destination. Because, she said, ‘That way whenever you look at it you will think of me, and when you bring it back, you will be home. And that is all I really want.’ This part reminded me a bit of the Beauty and the Beast original tale.

I found that the beginning of this movie was interesting even though you knew what was to happen next.

Her name is Ella, not Cinderella. Cinderella is in fact, a combination of Cinder and  Ella, named for the cinders left on her face from tending the fire place. I believe this is a standard in the original stories. Later, after the movie had ended, I heard someone say how clever the name change was. I didn’t think that the movie was particularly clever, however, I thought that it was very well done and enjoyable.

Both my friend and I thought that it was weird that Jaq:

Became Jaqeline. It held no purpose to the plot, which I thought it would. The live action Jaq is simply a girl. I think the main reason that we found it odd was that nothing was done with the change; it was only mentioned one time.

Now, on to Fairy Godmother, Helena Bonham Carter.

This was certainly a far cry from the grandmotherly Fairy Godmother in the original, and I actually really enjoyed the change. Instead of being the grandmotherly version of the character, this Fairy Godmother was more like your ditsy yet helpful best friend. Here’s a featurette talking about it:

I knew that it would be an interesting portrayal of the character.

Fairy Godmother turned the various creatures around the Tremains’ garden into coachmen, horses, of footmen for Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. This is also a standard.

I particularly liked one of the lizards. He only had perhaps two lines, but he is one of my favorite characters. The animals turned humans were amusing, especially while changing to and from their previous forms.

The love between Cinderella and the Prince was fairly believable, unlike other fairy tales in general. The two met in the forest before the ball, and enjoyed each other’s company. This is why the prince had his father extend the invitation to the ball to all the people of the kingdom; he hoped to see his forest maiden again.

The two characters were both portrayed very well, and I believe that the entire scenario was believable. It was made all the more so when the king decided to marry his son off in an arranged marriage.

I loved the dance sequence.

I did think that the way Cinderella came down the stairs to the ballroom was strange. She seemed terribly comfortable being the center of attention at a royal party.

Overall, I think the movie was well-done and was surprisingly good. I enjoyed the character portrayals and costuming.

4 Stars.

So what did you think about the movie? What did you like about it? What did you not like?

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