Cinderella: A “Charming” Remake
Like most kids, I grew up on Disney movies. I watched Fox and the Hound practically every day, I pretended to be Princess Ariel every time I set foot (or fin) into a swimming pool, and I dressed up as a particular breed of black and white-spotted dog for Halloween eight years in a row as a result of my devotion to the movie 101 Dalmatians. I was a Disney kid, and my imagination blossomed because of it. So I have to say, I was excited to watch the live-action remake of Cinderella, one of my childhood classics. I was expecting an exact duplication, but I was pleasantly surprised to get more than that.
The movie starts off earlier than the animated version, providing insight into Cinderella’s warm upbringing. The viewer gets to see her close relationship with her parents before she is orphaned and left to live with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. They force her to be a servant in her own home, treat her with no respect, and eventually forbid her from attending the all-important ball that the Prince throws in order to find his bride. But all hope is not lost – the courageous Cinderella won’t simply sit around and accept her fate.
This movie was magical right from the first scene. The scenery and set design were just amazing – the colours and patterns were beautiful and vibrant, the castles were ornate, the lighting was just right – everything about it was really well done. It looked and felt exactly like a fairy tale should.
I really enjoyed how the movie showed Cinderella’s relationship with her parents before they died. It added a level of emotion that the animated movie didn’t have, so I felt much more connected to her as the movie went on. The way she interacted with her mother really set up the kind of girl she was and reinforced what she believed in, which made her character likable from the very start.
Another aspect of this movie that was improved from the animated version was the relationship between Cinderella and Prince Charming, who was played by Game of Thrones’ handsome Richard Madden. I don’t recall the original Prince having any sort of personality so it was nice to see him given one, so that the two characters had a chance to actually develop chemistry.
I also thoroughly enjoyed how the characters of the evil stepmother (played perfectly by Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters came across. They made my blood boil in a way that the animated movie didn’t, because seeing actual actors behaving so cruelly to this innocent, kind girl that you’ve grown up loving made their brutality much harsher.
And of course, Lily James did a fantastic job in the role of Cinderella. She was sweet but not overly so, genuine in her innocence, and full of optimism and light. I think it was to her advantage that I didn’t know her from anything else (although she does play Lady Rose MacClare on Downton Abbey), so I had no preconceived notions about her or the way she would play the character. Regardless, she was a perfect Cinderella.
The only casting choice I wasn’t keen on was Helena Bonham Carter in the role of the fairy godmother. Primarily known for her dark roles like the psychotic Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter, it was off-putting to see her in a puffy white ball gown and blonde hair granting wishes to poor orphan girls. It just didn’t quite strike the right chord with me. Although her scene was quirky and fun, I miss the plump grandmother-ish figure singing Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo, and part of me wishes they had cast someone who resembled the original portrayal more closely so I could feel warm and fuzzy inside while all of the magic was happening.
This may be the Disney princess in me speaking, but I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was nostalgic, romantic, and visually stunning all at once. The casting and writing were very well done, and the emotional undertones were added gracefully without straying too far from the original storyline. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone looking to lose themselves in a little bit of magic.
You can find Cinderella on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch.100) from Sept. 15th to Dec. 15th, 2015.
Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor
Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.