An old fairy tale springs back to life in Disney’s latest reimagining of “Cinderella,” this time as a live action film.
Starring Lily James as the title character and Cate Blanchett as her wicked stepmother, the tale opens with an introduction of a young Ella, whose mother dies early in the film. After a brief time skip, Ella’s father marries Lady Tremaine (Blanchett), who has two daughters of her own, Anastasia and Drisella.
As if losing her mother wasn’t tragic enough, Ella is notified of her father’s death, which means her only family is now Lady Tremaine and her daughters, who act very cruel towards Ella, eventually treating her like a servant in her own home.
Ella’s new family takes advantage of Ella’s naive nature, beginning with her bedroom. After volunteering to let her stepsisters to share her room, Lady Tremaine states Ella’s new bedroom will be in the attic.
Choosing to spend the night by the hearth on a cold night instead of making the trek up to the attic, Ella receives her nickname of “Cinderella” once she is seen with ashes on her face.
After running away from home and meeting Kit, the prince, the romance plotline begins. The prince’s sudden love for Cinderella changes the plans for the ball; now all the maidens of the kingdom are allowed to attend, not just the nobility.
It is during the preparation for the ball that the truly magical moments of the film play out to their strengths, though the visuals and scoring were already strong to begin with. The scenes with the fairy godmother, portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter, were some of the most delightful throughout the whole film.
With a wave of her wand, an otherwise plainly dressed Cinderella receives a dazzling makeover, her dress transforming from a light pink to a vibrant blue, the neckline adorned with butterflies and crystals in her hair. Even some of her closest friends, a family of mice, undergo transformations into the white steeds that would draw the ornate gold carriage derived from a pumpkin.
The elegance of the scene sets the tone for the rest of the film, primarily at the ball where all the glitz and glamor are in full effect. Even during the outdoor night scenes, the colors are vivid and pop to the point where it’s almost distracting from the rest of the on-screen action.
Though the story is that of Cinderella, the most interesting character lies within Blanchett’s depiction of the stepmother. Lady Tremaine had the most personality out of the cast and was the most enjoyable to watch. From her fashion choices to her snarky attitude, Lady Tremaine easily steals the spotlight and makes the biggest impression compared to the other characters.
Though there were some scenes that bogged down the film’s progression, particularly those involving the prince and king in the palace, the overall pacing was thought out very well.
And while one of the messages from the fairy tale praise outside appearances and portray beauty as a way for young women to escape their troubles, as long as everyone remembers that the world of “Cinderella” is rooted in make believe, the film is nothing more than a whimsical journey suitable for all audiences.
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