Cinderella is the best girls night out movie and that’s exactly what we planned weeks in advance. We all rushed out of work and met up at the theatres on Tuesday night. Its felt like its been a while since I’ve been to the theatres and I’m wondering if I’m actually on track with my one monthly theatre visit goal. I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter. If you missed my anticipated list for 2015, this is one of them 🙂
Lets check out Cinderella!
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Stellan Skarsgard, Helena Bonham Carter
When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella’s fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger.- IMDB
Does Cinderella still have its magic after so many years? How about after turning it (like many other fairy tales) into a live action? I went into this movie pretty much with those two questions lingering in my mind. I’ve skipped out on a lot of live reimaginings of fairy tales and all that sort of stuff but Cinderella is possibly one of the most popular and has a ton of movies inspired by them. Even the not so at par ones tend to make me fall in love one way or another. So how does this 2015 version fair?
This live version Cinderella is almost an exact imagining of the Disney animated version that I love a lot. It has the fairy godmother, the glass slippers, a gorgeous blue gown, mice, pumpkins, evil stepmother and two untalented and not very appealing stepsisters and of course, the Prince. The only thing that;s different might be that Cinderella starts out as Ella and that we see her parents and living out her mother’s wishes to “have courage and be kind.” Even though you probably know exactly what is going to happen next, the magical appeal of Cinderella is still as apparent as ever, infecting me with lots of laughter and love and all those awesome feelings.
This Cinderella may not have the songs in the animated version, but the soundtrack and sweeping score was absolutely beautiful. I’d buy it in a heartbeat and listen to it all the time. It added to the magic. While we are on the magic, the CGI was gorgeous, enforcing the whole enchanting experience. That was a huge part in making this as wonderful as it was. Just the whole fairy godmother sequence, transforming and preparing Cinderella for the Royal Ball was maybe THE best part ever! I’m sure a ton of you caught this but Cinderella keeps singing Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly and that is also a song from a 1940s Disney film. I’ve never actually heard the whole song but it was kind of nice to see it here.
Live action also means we can talk about the acting. We already are well familiar with Cinderella’s characters. First of all, no Disney princess story is memorable without the right villain. In this one, the evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine, played by Cate Blanchett was stunning and so mean. Those expressions and tones for her dialogue was so convincing. At the same time, this one also added a little extra for her character as to why she’s the way she is. As small as it is, I like this version of the evil stepmother. Nothing made me laugh more than how the stepsisters are actually just extremely spoilt and untalented. The idea of bringing back the singing off tune and saying stupid things really works for Drizella and Anastasia because thats the character we know, simply shallow and undesirable. Oh, and their outfits don’t make you laugh and cringe at the same time. I loved it!
My last point to talk about are the couple: Ella and the Prince. That is the essence of the story. Before the movie, one of my girl friends was telling me how she didn’t find Richard Madden handsome. In fact, sometimes the Prince isn’t that handsome, the person himself maybe, but its the character the he embodies that we fall in love with. I’m not going to discuss whether I find Richard Madden handsome but I guess I’m simple as well but that man has a lovely accent in his voice and the way he captured the Prince stole my heart from the first time him and Ella met. Suffice to say, I bought his Prince very much. To be honest, I’ve never watched either Richard Madden or Lily James before this. No, I haven’t seen Game of Thrones and no, I haven’t gotten to Season 5 of Downton Abbey (before you ask). Lily James as Ella kind of bothered me when I was watching the trailer. I wasn’t completely sold on it but as the movie went along, she grew on me. It may be because she’s so simple and pure-hearted yet courageous and strong.
Regardless of the reasons, Cinderella is a simple love story and this version remembers to keep the elements of the original animated version except giving us a live version full of wonderful performances from cast. It introduces lots of sharp colors, breathtaking location/set, beautiful CGI and an enchanting score to enforce the magic. Sure, its not exactly as memorable as the animated Disney Classic but there’s still a lot to love about this. I’d gladly watch this again and get the Blu-ray when it comes out. My suggestion, if fairy tales are your cup of tea, head out to the theatres to see it because its worth your time and money just to capture the true beauty of it.
Fun fact (paraphrased from the Cineplex magazine, March/April 2015): More than 250 metres of fabric was used in the making of the blue gown worn by Lily James. Three time Oscar winning costume designer Sandy Powell also used more than 10,000 Swarovski crystals and three miles of stitching to complete the dress. Impressed? Multiply those numbers by nine. Nine copies of the ball gown were created for the shoot.
Have you seen Cinderella? Are you planning to? Just out of the blue, which Disney princess do you like best?