Thursday, February 16, 2017

Movie Review: Cinderella (2015)


Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun take on Cinderella that fills in the story
Cons: Pacing at times
The Bottom Line:
A tale comes to life
In mostly magical take
On Cinderella




“Midnight.  That’s More Than Enough Time.”

I’m a bad DisNerd.  I have been slacking on watching Disney’s live action versions of their animated movies.  And with how excited I am about Beauty and the Beast next month, I need to fix this oversight.  I did finally get a chance to watch 2015’s version of Cinderella, and I found that it grew on me.

We first meet Cinderella as a young girl as she is raised by a well off family.  Her father (Ben Chaplan) is a merchant, traveling the world to find his goods.  She has a loving mother (Hayley Atwell) as well.  But life soon deals her a horrible blow when her mother gets sick and dies.  Her father eventually remarries, and her step-mother (Cate Blanchett) brings with her two step-sisters (Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger).  Sadly, Cinderella’s (Lily James) father then dies while on one of his trips.

Meanwhile, Prince Kit (Richard Madden) has grown into a young man, and his father (Derek Jacobi) wants him to marry.  Naturally, a princess is being sought, but the prince has other ideas and wants to invite all the ladies of the realm to a ball.  What will happen there?

The biggest thing this movie adds to the familiar fairy tale is allowing us to see Cinderella’s background.  It was interesting, but I did feel it slowed down the beginning.  We also get to see more about the prince.  Heck, he even gets a name here.  I also appreciated the fact that they attempted to give Cinderella’s step-mother some motive for her hatred and horrible behavior.  Don’t misunderstand, they don’t excuse it at all, but we can see a reason for her actions.  The step-sisters?  They’re just rotten. 

While I did feel the prologue was a bit slow, I did enjoy the movie the further along it went.  They definitely expand on the relationship between Cinderella and Prince Kit, which is fun.  These scenes follow typical romantic comedy tropes, but they work well.  You can feel the chemistry between them, and there are a couple of very romantic moments.

This isn’t a musical, although fans of the animated version will recognize allusions to the songs.  Consider them Easter eggs.  We do get two of the songs sung over the closing credits.

Of course, the big scenes are done thanks to CGI, and those scenes are wonderful.  They add some humor to the film while staying completely believable.  I was easily able to stay in the fairytale world the film was creating.

And the acting was great.  It was a bit stylized, but it worked here and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.  I will admit to being a bit worried when I heard that Helena Bonham Carter was playing the fairy godmother since I’ve only ever seen her play over the top, strange characters.  I was worried for no reason since she was easily a highlight of the film.

The pacing is really the biggest issue with the film, but when it works, it is magical.  So if you are a fan of the Cinderella story, be sure to give this version a chance.

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