This week I was fortunate enough to score some tickets to an advanced screening of Disney’s newest live-action retelling of the classic, Cinderella. Though Cinderella is not my favorite OG Disney princess (shout out to Princess Jasmine), this rendition of the beloved film was spectacular. Cinderella is truly amazing: it’s family-friendly, features more details about the characters, and has a very handsome Prince (whoever casted him seriously deserves an award). My only criticism is that I wish they had incorporated some of the Grimm brothers’ version, Aschenputtel. In their action-packed version, the evil stepsisters chop off their toes and heels to fit the glass slipper, and have their eyes pecked out by doves at the end. Oh, the drama.
Now, for the review. *SPOILER ALERT*
Cinderella starts out with beautiful little Ella happily frolicking about in the countryside with her family, which is of course torn apart in the first fifteen minutes because her mom gets sick and dies. I don’t understand why Disney feels the need to have their protagonists either lose their parents or their only living relative; maybe they figure the orphan-ness makes you want to cry just enough to reel you in.
The storyline essentially parallels the original version. What you see in the 2015 version is more of Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella being extra rude to Ella. It’s mildly uncomfortable to watch because Cate Blanchett’s laugh and demeanor is so evil, but at the same time, you can’t help but appreciate how striking and fierce she is. It’s ironic because you’d think her daughters would try to emulate that, but they’re pretty much the female equivalents to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.
Despite Ella’s efforts to live by her mother’s last words, “have courage and be kind,” she cracks and apparently copes with her feelings of despair by venturing to the woods on horseback. There, she meets the Prince, who is on a quest to hunt a majestic stag with his army of trusty knights. Right when we see his perfectly coiffed hair, we are also shown more of the Prince’s character. After all, he’s more than just a pretty face. Upon their accidental yet destined meeting, he introduces himself as a royal apprentice named “Kit,” in hopes that he’ll be able to interact with her as a normal guy. Their horses literally prance in a circle for about five minutes before she finally runs off, without even saying her name.
It’s love at first sight for both of those hopeless romantics. But there’s just one problem: the King will only let him marry an eligible Princess, meaning someone who can add treasure and land to the Kingdom. Oh yeah, and the King is also dying (what is with this movie and death?). Kit’s solution was to agree to this, but only if he’s allowed to open the traditionally elite ball to the public. His secret goal is to have his father meet the charming girl he met in the woods, which would force him to have a change of heart because she’s so great.
Word reaches Lady Tremaine, who of course forbids Ella from attending the ball. Ella is heartbroken because she has no interest in the Prince; she only wanted to see the apprentice from the woods again. Ella’s tears are the queue for her fairy godmother to show up for once, and she grants Ella’s wish to be able to go to the ball—but in style. Equipped with a special spell to protect her from being noticed by her jealous stepmother, Ella also gets a golden pumpkin carriage with mousy horses, lizardy henchman, and a goosey coachman. The dress was magnificent, and the effects made it feel like it was going to pop off the screen and whip you in the face with fairy dust, butterflies, and yards of tool.
She arrives fashionably late to the ball, and enchants the whole ballroom with her grace, beauty, and fabulous dress. She reunites with Kit, now revealed as the Prince, and has a jolly old time on a swing in his secret royal garden until the clock tragically strikes midnight. She dashes off, and he fails once again to get her name. Classic Kit.
A search for this mysterious beauty begins, but not before Lady Tremaine gets to the Grand Duke and blackmails him into only letting her daughters try on the glass slipper. He agrees because he’s a horrible person, and almost succeeds in hiding her from his team. Kit tagged along because he didn’t trust him (his instinct was right– the Duke was #fake), and he hears Ella upstairs despite Lady Tremaine’s attempts to disguise her angelic song. Ella tries on her own glass slipper which obviously fits her, and she and Kit live happily ever after while the Duke, Lady Tremaine, Drizella, and Anastasia are banned from the Kingdom.
I would give Cinderella five out of five stars. This movie was amazing. I don’t know how I was planning to wait to see it until the release date.