On the spur of the moment, I decided to use a free movie ticket and go check out Cinderella this evening. I wasn’t expecting much. I had assumed it would be more along the lines of Into the Woods and a basic remake of the classic animated film and a musical. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
I loved the introduction and the character development. Even though the mother is not on screen much, she came across as very powerful and kind to me. I also did not even realize, and find it hard to believe, that it was Hayley Atwell who also plays Agent Carter. The roles are so different, but the underlying characters are similar to me. The father on the other hand did not seem as developed. He did not have much of a personality outside of his love for his wife and daughter, but after his wife died, I could feel his brokenness. His desire to remarry came across as grasping at threads with the hope of being happy, though I think he realized shortly after that it was a mistake. I think they did a pretty good job showing how much Ella’s father meant to her. It did make me dread when they would come in with her father’s death, but it was a little anticlimactic. Her father dies while traveling and someone delivers the news. The stepmother leaves her at the door and the step sisters complained about not getting the items they asked for. I expected to feel more, but I think I felt more like Ella did, just empty and alone.
The next characters we have are the evil step mother and the stepsisters. The evil stepmother was not so much developed, but everything about her is cold, from her small movements to her outfits. Cate Blanchett’s portrait was pretty much perfect. She made every movement seem thought out and calculated, almost unnatural, which really makes you hate her. She displays very little actual emotion. The step sisters on the other hand, were a little flat to me. They have no special skills and act like bumbling idiots for the majority of their screen time. While they were cruel to Ella, their actions did not have the same thought intentional hurtfulness of the stepmother.
My favorite part of the movie, however, was the prince. I was blown away. Of course he is a very good looking man and has stunningly blue (and probably contacts or digitally enhanced) eyes, but they actually develop him as a person. In most Disney tales, the prince is just a handsome guy to come sweep the woman off her feet and take her to a better life. When Ella first meets the prince, she did not know he was royal and got to know him a bit as Kit. He was excited that his status would not sway her opinion of him. We also get to see his interactions with his father, the king. His father, like most kings, is insistent that he marry a princess to strengthen the kingdom, and not some random girl in the forrest. To further his development, after the ball, his father is about to die and he is by his side on his bed. The king has (of course) changed his mind and told his son to marry for love. In the king’s final moments, his son lays his head on his chest and cries while he holds him. When the camera shows an overhead shot, we see the prince curled up on the bed letting his father hold him in his last minutes. Unlike the death of Ella’s father, the death of the king ripped my heart out and stomped on it. It also showed the prince to have real emotions and to have depth.
I was a little disappointed in how little the fairy godmother was in the movie. She showed up, did her magic, and wasn’t seen again. I expected her to pop up at the end to see the happy couple or something. She was funny and bubbly, but didn’t play as big of a role as I expected her too.
The rest of the movie was pretty expected. There were plenty of cheesy bits, such as the prince and Ella’s first dance at the ball. Though the dance did make me wish we still had events and dances like that. It was very elegant and flowy, not at all sexualized. Then there was the scene where the Prince shows her his secret garden that he’s never shown anyone! It’s a small walled in garden with a single swing. I can’t really imagine the Prince using the garden and swinging himself, it seems like the ultimate pickup scheme. But to top that all off, as she is swinging she loses one of her shoes and of course the charming prince slips her glass slipper back onto her foot and is a complete gentleman.
The ending of the movie was very pleasant and not what I had expected. I had assumed the movie would end in this grand wedding, and while we do see them after they are married, there is a little moment where Kit looks at her and says “My Queen” but she doesn’t respond with “My King” like I expected, but “My Kit”. Yes it’s cheesy, but I think it was a nice cute touch. It showed that she didn’t care that he was the prince and now king, she would have loved him no matter what.
In the end, I was very pleased with the movie. It had plenty of cheesy moments, but they were the good kind of cheesy moments for me. There wasn’t anything too unexpected about the plot, but the way the film portrayed emotions and characters is what really captivated me about it. I’d give it a 9/10.