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April 3, 2015

Movie: Cindarella (2015)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 1:53 pm

imageWell, the movie has some good elements, sure, but the reviews on the Internet praise it sky high. Is it worth all that praise? Decide for yourself after reading my arguments as to why or why not.

The movie is not bad, and continues a trend started by Disney to bring all the characters in their earlier (two dimensional) cartoons to life. Witness Maleficent, and perhaps Into the Woods in that category. But there is an important difference. Maleficent looks at the fairy tale from a totally different angle, a la the Broadway play Wicked, and tells the story from the point of view of the evil witch whom you loved to hate in the cartoon version. Into the Woods is a hotchpotch of many fairy tales stuffed together into one story. Here is Cindarella, which is a pure retelling of the fairy tale, with animation coming into the picture only where needed. (On the lines of the other great movie, Enchanted).

Here is a movie where I do not have to describe the storyline! There may be no one in the world who does not know this story! So let us talk about the impressions on seeing the movie. First of all, kudos to the casting director. The cast of Cindarella is spot on. Lily James is a very convincing Cindarella as Amy Adams was in Enchanted. (Let us face it, the character of Giselle in Enchanted is really Cindarella in disguise, right? ) Like Susan Sarandon in Enchanted, Cate Blanchet is an inspired casting as the wicked stepmother. That works very well too. Also believable are the prince (Richard Madden), and the king. Good casting decisions, these. The fairy stepmother (Helena Barnum Carter) jars a bit for me, even if they were going for the playful and slightly off kilter character (shades of the brilliant Genie of their animated Alladin?).

Also interesting are the side stories (invented perhaps? I don’t know. ) of how the wicked stepmother came into the family, the life of Cinderella prior to her mother’s death, and how she got the name Cinderella. Also interesting are the machinations of the Grand Duke to prevent Cindarella from being discovered, in collusion with the stepmother (Lady Tremaine is her name).  Also the scene where the prince was in disguise all along and forces the issue is interesting. As is Cinderella’s question on whether he will take her as she is, and not as he thinks she should be.

It is amusing to find a nod to today’s secular ethos to find multicultural characters in all levels of the ancient society.

The transformation scenes (pumpkins to coach etc) are also well done.

Taken purely on its merits, it is indeed a well done movie. But seeing Cinderella for the n-th time from Disney does not add anything to the experience we have had in watching the previous versions. I was not fully elated when I came out of the theatre. Yes there are tiny twists as mentioned above, but is it enough for the rave reviews? To me, sadly, not.

So I will be content to award it a 6/10

Please let me know if you agree or disagree.

– – Krishna

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