Can’t let a property fall by the wayside. So everybody knows the story: there’s a beautiful young girl that is oppressed by her evil step mother. She catches the attention of a prince. Can he take her away from all of this, or will the step mother thwart him? It has been a long while since I’ve seen the original 1950 animated feature. Just because I haven’t seen it in a hot minute doesn’t mean I can’t recall the majority of the plot points, and the main thing I took away from watching the live action version? There’s really not that much of a difference in the story.
This is directed by Kenneth Branagh, which totally makes sense; he is a director that has shown he can handle the classics of English literature (Hamlet) and contemporary choices as well (Thor), so that makes him a smart choice to get for this movie. On paper all the right decisions were made, but I really don’t think much of anybody is going to walk away from this feeling strongly about this. For one thing, there’s just a complete lack of intrigue and interest because you know everything that is going to happen. There is a dearth of surprises, and because it’s a story that you are already more than familiar with, it gets a bit dull and boring, because there are no new twists. Also, given the fact your mind may be wandering, it’s more than obvious that this isn’t the most modern of stories. It does not have a great message, because it encourages women to wait for their prince to save them from everything as opposed to taking action themselves, and the whole thing ends up feeling materialistic, superficial and chauvinistic.
What also doesn’t help is that it is the antagonists drive the story. I do think Cate Blanchett turns in good work here as the evil step mother; she is arguably the best thing about this, but it’s not like this is Maleficent where this is her story, and she is only featured so much. I have a number of problems with the fundamental story elements, which is hindered by the fact that I knew exactly how this was going to play out. Also, having somebody play such a ray of sunshine in the face of despair would be annoying in real life, and it’s kind of annoying here as well. If you’re a gigantic fan of the original or just a unabashed fan of Disney, you won’t feel like you completely wasted your time with this, but I personally can’t help but feel like they could have done so much more with this.
Cinderella (2015) **1/2
– Critic for Hire