A Colorful Look at Cinderella

cinderella-landscape

Although Cinderella is a centuries old folklore tale, it was originally popularized in the 17th century by Charles Perrault.  In this version, titled Cendrillon, were added certain features of the tale well known in modern times: glass slippers, the pumpkin coach, and the fairy godmother.  It’s easy to see how, in the late 1940s, after enduring bad box office numbers due to World War II that Walt Disney himself turned to this version of the tale to create his next great animated movie Cinderella in 1950.  Now here we are in 2015, and Disney, as it moves toward a litany of live action remakes we get a new version of Cinderella.

This movie is brings in a mix of up and coming and seasoned actors and actresses like Lily James (Cinderella), Richard Madden (The Prince), Cate Blanchett (Lady Tremaine), and Helena Bonham Carter (Fairy Godmother).  In doing so it is clear that they are trying to attract a broad audience of both old and young adults.  To bring in a still younger audience to see the movie they have attached the new short Frozen Fever to the movie.  It’s not quite the Frozen sequel that people are looking for, but it will appease Frozen fans with a look at Anna’s birthday and what happens when Elsa gets sick.

At 30 minutes longer than it’s animated namesake, we get a lot more background into the story of Cinderella’s (simply Ella at the beginning of the movie) parents.  We also get to see the downward spiral of Ella into becoming Cinderella as her stepmother and stepsisters press her ever down until we find her at the bottom.  Her lowest.  Thats when Helena Bonham Carter comes onto the screen and works her ever quirky magic for viewers as she works magic on the screen as Cinderella’s fairy godmother. And from there it’s pretty much the story you already know, with no twists, turns, or deviations.

I have to be honest, I was not excited to be seeing this movie.  It’s not the sort of fare I tend to enjoy or that attracts me to the theater.  So I went in with low expectations.  And I personally could not bring myself to connect well with the movie.  My primary problem revolves around the main character.  Maybe my own personal feelings are too wrapped up in the animated version of the movie, but Lily James, to me, simply doesn’t evoke the elegance or grace as shown in Ink & Paint.  All the other characters to me are fantastic, and it’s not that James acts poorly… just to me, that’s not Cinderella up on the screen.  So I did not enjoy it.

That’s not to say it not worth seeing the movie.  It, like Maleficent, is a cleverly pretty movie.  It’s use of color, camera, space, and depth are fantastic.  If you watch closely during all of the ballroom scenes you will understand what I mean.  I suspect that overall critics will be split on this movie.  It’s well written, well directed, well shot, and even well acted.  But it lacks the quality and magic of the animated version.  Disney fans will want to see it.  Cinderella and Frozen fans will be there too.  Game of Thrones fans may go to see Madden.  But, if you love and are nostalgic about the animated Cinderella, you might find yourself seeing things my way.

 

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