A while ago I talked about my first impressions of this movie (
First Impressions of Cinderella (2015)Ever since "Maleficent", I'm always up for a good Disney retelling with a new twist! Which is why I had high hopes for Disney's newest remake, "Cinderella" (2015).). After reading all the reviews, though, I finally decided to see it for myself...
Boy was I disappointed.
Just... watch this for yourself and you'll see why:
1) Half the scenes in this trailer are complete copies of the original cartoon! From what I've seen, this just looks like a recap of the original film. Looks like lazy filmmaking to me.
2) The plot rips off not only the original "Cinderella", but also "Ever After" (another Cinderella retelling)! It has the exact same story format as "Ever After": prologue focusing on young Cinderella's life with her father; father remarries to stepmother and suddenly dies; Cinderella meets the prince without knowing that he's a prince; yadda yadda yadda.
Here's the plot:
The story of "Cinderella" follows the fortunes of young Ella (Lily James) whose merchant father remarries following the death of her mother. Eager to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her n
I was right. While better than I expected, "Cinderella" (2015) has the same problems as the original film and more.
But let's start with the good about this movie! Because I'm nice like that
* The costumes are gorgeous!!! Great effort was clearly put into making them. Each are exquisitely beautiful in their own way; and a reflection of the characters wearing them. Lady Tremaine's dark, form-fitting dresses highlight her slender figure and sinister nature. The stepsisters look like overgrown little girls in their brightly-colored dresses and tight curls, thus emphasizing their childish demeanor. Fairy Godmother's sparkly gown looks so magical and whimsical, just like her.
But the best is of course Cinderella's iconic blue dress! Just the way it sparkles and shines from every angle, and flows gracefully with her every movement... it looks literally made of magic. Without doubt, the costumes are this movie's biggest strength.
*Cate Blanchett. She perfectly plays the cold, cunning, manipulative Lady Tremaine that people love to hate. I love how sneakily she subdues Cinderella. she gradually exploits Cinderella's good-hearted nature bit by bit, seizing the poor girl at her weakest moment when she's too overcome with grief to think rationally and fight back. Lady Tremaine is as subtle as she is forceful. Which brings me to...
* ...The villains. These were the only characters I really liked, as they're much more developed than in the cartoon. Lady Tremaine has a tragic backstory and hints at possible envy towards Cinderella's mother. The best examples are...
A) Lady Tremaine's downtrodden expression when her new husband laments the loss of Cinderella's dead mother.
B) When Cinderella asks why she's so cruel, she says: "Because you are good and kind and innocent, and I---!"At a loss for words, she briefly has that same downtrodden look on her face before leaving.
It's implied Cinderella embodies everything that Lady Tremaine ever wanted to be, but couldn't. This has cost her the affections of her new husband, thus making her jealous and unfairly taking out her feelings on Cinderella. All this shown through Blanchett's brilliant acting with few words, but with expressions that say it all.
It's also nice that the stepsisters are more fleshed out! Unlike in the cartoon, they're more than just comic relief: they have some great dialogue (like their silly banter while preparing for the ball); one of them has some artistic talent; they even genuinely apologize to Cinderella at the end of the movie!
The best villains are more than just villains.
* Too much narration. "Maleficent" has the same problem, but this movie takes it to the extreme. A little background narration now and then to describe events is enough. But this movie keeps narrating stuff that the audience already knows. Such as when the Prince decides to give a ball and later search for the wearer of the glass slipper. The characters already iterate these points; there's no need to repeat them moments later. You know that condescending feeling when people keep repeating themselves to you like a broken record? Because they think you're too dumb to remember? That's what this felt like.
* The other characters. The Prince is just like every other Disney character, a young royal defying tradition and an arranged marriage whilst butting heads with their parents. His dad is your typical Disney parent, forbidding his son to break the rules then having a dramatic change of heart at the last minute. His black best friend is just a Black Best Friend . The Fairy Godmother had only one scene, so there's not much I can say about her. The Count was pointless and added nothing to the plot. But worst of all is...
*...Cinderella/Ella. Where do I even begin?...
A) She does the dumbest things for no absolutely reason. Like when she doesn't tell the Prince her name. Why couldn't she take 2 seconds to tell him her name? It's not like she's a fugitive on the run and needs to hide her identity. Another example is when she assumes Lady Tremaine would buy her a ballgown. At this point, she knows darn well that the Tremaines hates her guts... what makes her think they'd do anything nice for her? Had Ella not made these mistakes, the movie would be over much sooner.
B) She's a total doormat. I can forgive that in the original version, as it was made in the 1950s. It was the product of a more sexist era. This movie has no excuse. It feels not like a product of its time, but rather a regression in time. This is 2015, people! We should no longer be teaching girls to just sit and wait for others to help them, when they should try helping themselves first.
C) She's too nice for her own good. Why the heck does she forgive Lady Tremaine? Couldn't she forgive the stepsisters instead? They're the only ones who genuinely apologized to her!
D) Wasted opportunities for character growth. There's a few moments where I actually liked Ella, but those moments amount to nothing! At first Ella seemed like an interesting character; a gentle soul seeking strength in her mother's final words "Have courage and be kind". It makes sense that Ella's grief over her father's death would clouds her judgement, making her an easy target for her stepmother. But over time, she should realize she's being played and just get the heck out of there! The only time I liked her is when she rescued the stag and openly defied the Prince's royal hunting tradition. For that one moment, she actually did have courage and be kind. It's at the second half of the film where I started hating her. I was hoping she would gradually transform from a passive doormat into a strong, empowered woman who takes $%!# from nobody. But nope! She's still the same dumb passive doormat as before. What a wasted opportunity for a good story!
The biggest problem with "Cinderella" is Cinderella herself.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about this movie. The costumes are gorgeous, Cate Blanchett gives her all, and the villains are the only characters I liked. But everything else needs a major redo. "Cinderella" could have been a great movie, if only its story and characters were as well-developed as its visuals.
I give it an A+ for style and a F for substance.
Any thoughts on "Cinderella"? Leave them in the comments below.
Peace out !