Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Running Time: 105 mins
Cinderella is an American film about a young girl, Ella, who grows up believing in courage and kindness, but finds herself stuck under the oppressive rule of her evil stepmother who tries everything to prevent her from being with her Prince Charming.
The good thing about this film is that it’s a faithful retelling of the fairytale story with regards to its atmosphere. In comparison to some of the recent poor re-imaginings of Disney classics, such as Maleficent and Into The Woods, this is a fun, pleasant and magical movie, although it does struggle when it comes to creating a story as brilliant as the 1950 Cinderella.
Let’s start with the biggest positive here, that it’s a simply enjoyable traditional fairytale. It doesn’t feel too much like a Tim Burton movie like many live-action Disney films of late, it’s got a delightful atmosphere, pleasantly cheesy dialogue and plot lines, and it will leave you smiling just like you did when you watched the original, whilst it will be even more magical for the kids.
What really adds to that is the fantastic brightness of the whole film. Again, recent Disney films, particularly Into The Woods, have looked a bit drab and dull for fairytales, and really taken away that magical atmosphere that can make them so special, but this film fortunately restores that feel. The costumes are dazzling, the sets are vibrant, the actors are all smiling and enjoying themselves on screen; nothing feels unlike a proper fairytale, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable to watch.
The performances themselves are very strong too. Cinderella isn’t the most enigmatic of characters, but Lily James does a good job of making her as likeable as possible, whilst Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden and a whole host of others put a lot of good work into classic characters, and make them seem as fresh as ever.
Despite all that, however, the biggest problem with this film is the way that it tells the story. The original story is a little bit more brutal, with Cinderella fighting against all the odds to escape from the tyranny of her evil stepmother to be with the Prince, and that has always made for some real excitement, one of the main reasons that I think Cinderella stands above so many of the other princess fairytales of history.
However, here, despite showing that to some degree, it’s all just a little bit too light. The 1950 film managed to encompass this heavier story with the magical feel, but this film drops the harder stuff in exchange for a very easy and occasionally silly story that just isn’t as engrossing as the original, which was a little frustrating.
But on the whole, this film is for the kids, and they’ll enjoy this no matter what, because despite a relatively poor story, the beautifully magical and pleasant atmosphere of this film that bucks the recent trend for revisionism is a great success, so that’s why this gets a 7.2.