With a character like Cinderella, and with a story of a common girl becoming the princess through the magic of her godmother, one knows how the movie will end before they even enter the cinema. Told through animation, told through movies retelling the same story or a story similar to Cinderella – everybody, more or less, knows what to expect. Therefore, the challenge is not about changing the story but finding a new, a refreshing way of retelling the beloved story again! And I think Chris Weitz and Kenneth Branagh together with Sandy Powell did just that.
As I exited the cinema, being shocked and surprised at the fact that I actually enjoyed the movie, multiple things popped into my head that I considered to benefit the remaking of the beloved fairytale. First, it added a little bit more context to Cinderella herself, her kindness and especially to her always hopeful soul. It also aimed and succeeded with giving the evil stepmother a bit more dimension than usual and as it happens, with the addition of small supportive and comedic roles, Cinderella had some humor as well! All of this is thanks to Weitz, who took the story and retell it to his best ability and I think in a way he managed because I was never bored. Or maybe if I was bored, it was because The Prince hadn’t been introduced to us yet and I couldn’t wait to see Richard Madden.
Honestly though, I had to ask my friend who the Prince was before Madden came on screen – I completely missed all the promotional stuff and I had forgotten the fact that he had been cast. Which was nice, because I got to be completely surprised by his sparkling blue eyes and tight, tight white pants. Though it was Disney, and I read that they had done many fittings, I think they didn’t really succeed because man those pants were in your face like no other. And now I can’t stop thinking about anything else… this is torture.
Anyway, getting back to the movie elements, I want to express my love towards Sandy Powell because the outfits looked amazing! It truly was a visual treat to see those big gorgeous dresses, the light blue one on Cinderella, the white one on the Fairy Godmother and the mesmerizing ones on the evil Stepmother. It was strong from start to finish when it came to the outfits, the gowns and the men all looked sharp and colorful. The fact that it was so colorful was also, in my opinion, magical. Though, yes the stepsisters got to have the brightest colors, the overall feel of the movie was still very rainbow like, which just makes you unconditionally happy.
Obviously I’m sending lots of love to Richard Madden but I also need to praise Cate Blanchett for the evil Stepmother, Helena Bonham Carter for the Fairy Godmother and Lily James for a growing on me as Cinderella. I have to admit, at first I was a bit hesitant of James but her performance grew into something I actually enjoyed. Though everything seemed to be mediocre next to the veteran Blanchett, and even Bonham Carter didn’t outshine her as much. But, having said that, the little cameo by Rob Brydon was the highlight of the whole movie for some odd reason.
Long story short, I knew completely well what Cinderella was all about and yet, I still enjoyed the movie a lot. It’s refreshing to say that, it truly is, and I was completely taken by the fact that it was so colorful and every time Richard Madden smiled, I thought I was going to loose it. There was humor, there was heart and it was beautiful – a proper Disney fairy tale not just for the kids but also for the creepy grown-ups staring at the Prince’s bulge.