Instead of giving my own thoughts on Cinderella, I’m going to give the review of the girl sitting behind me: “I love that actress. That’s Helena! She’s Belatrix Lestrange. Ooh, this the best part!” I’m glad she liked this movie, but didn’t need to hear that while I was watching it.
By now I’m sure everyone knows the story of Cinderella, and if not, I’m not sure how. For me it has been years since I actually watched the 1950 Cinderella. I only remember certain scenes specifically, but was aware of the general story. While I was watching this adaptation, some of the scenes started to come back to me. This is most likely because it followed very closely to the 1950 film, as I found out after hearing people say so.
Being a remake, the movie should follow the same outline as the original. But it also has to be different. There’s no reason for it to be made if it is the exact same movie. This movie was not a movie that needed to be made. Like all Disney classics, the original still holds up, even for kids today. So if you like that one, I predict this latest version will be enjoyable as well. Because even though there was little originality in the plot, it was still a solid film that I enjoyed a lot.
It was directed by Kenneth Branagh who also made Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Thor. In Cinderella, he creates a beautiful looking film. Many exterior shots of castles and mountains looked fantastic, feeling just like a fairytale. The girl behind me asked where this was filmed. Probably CGI land, but it did look great. Some of the special effects were almost cartoonish at times, but didn’t take too much away from the movie.
The acting was very well done across the board. Cinderella (Lily James) gave a great performance. She grounded the classic character while also conveying the same charm that the original animation had. This is the first thing I’ve seen her in, but I predict I’ll be seeing more of her later. Cate Blanchett plays the evil stepmother to Cinderella. She, like always, delivers the right performance. From what I remember of the stepmother in the original film, Blanchett’s was much more unlikeable. The only thing I wish there was more of was Helena Bonham Carter, the fairy godmother. I can’t remember how many times she showed up originally, but here I wanted more. This is also where I think more liberties should have been taken with the story.
There is a line that separates copying a movie scene by scene, and taking it in a completely different direction. Cinderella was probably too much like the original than I would have liked to see. I am glad however, that there was much less singing this time. It’s also interesting more how character development was required in this movie. In 1950’s animation, we were easily immersed into the story. Here, we needed some back story with Cinderella’s parents which started the film off slow, but gained momentum that it kept to the end.
I’m not the target audience for this film or the 1950 original, but I still had a good time watching it. I have a feeling every little girl is going to like this even more than I did. It’s not going to be remembered as fondly in 65 years as the original has, but it is a decent remake. There are no surprises or new scenes unlike some of the recent classic Disney cartoon remakes. It is however, one of the bests I’ve seen recently. I am not going to tell you to see this right away, but I would recommend it for fans of the 1950 Cinderella.