Friday, March 13, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: Disney's Cinderella (2015)

I would have liked just a little more magic pixie dust....

When Disney remakes one of their classic and most loved movies, it goes without saying that there is going to be high expectations.  The original animated version of Cinderella has been remade in live-action hundreds of times over the years, with both big screen and made of TV productions.

So I went in the advance screening of Cinderella with high hopes, especially after seeing the exciting and totally magical 2014 Disney film Maleficent. While I found this version of Cinderella to be very cute and I loved the expanded story line involving Cinderella parents, I was kind of disappointed that I did not find the film as "magical" as I would have liked it to be.

The movie opens with Ella as a baby with her young doting parents who just love and adore their only child.  She grows up loving everything and everyone, including the farm animals and house mice. But after her mom dies suddenly and then her dad years later, Ella (played Lily James) finds herself in the company of bratty step sisters (who nickname her Cinderella) and a beautiful but cruel step mother (played by Cate Blanchett) who wants out of simple country life and back to the glamorous life she lived with her first husband. But Ella does not give up hope because her mom told her before her death to "have courage and be kind."

One day while out riding to get away from her abusive step family, Ella meets the handsome prince who is being forced to marry a princess that he does not love for the good of his kingdom. I think you know how the rest of the story goes... and that is where I found issues with this version of Cinderella.

While the cinematography is beautiful, I thought the story is a little too predictable and not very magical. When Cinderella meets her fairy godmother, I was really expecting an over-the-top magical production like I had never seen before - after all this is a move made by Disney, the originators of magic.

While the scene of Cinderella and the pumpkin and farm animals turning into a princess with a carriage, driver and footmen was amusing, it was nothing that had not been done before in other Cinderella productions that I have seen on TV. And maybe that was the disconnect for me - while the Disney movie Maleficent entertained with intrigue and magic personified, in this version of Cinderella, Disney chose a simple story line focusing on honor, love of family and forgiveness.

Cinderella fans will find this movie just as sweet as the original animated movie. But movie goers who are looking for something a little extra will probably come out of the theater thinking that if Disney had added just a little more magic pixie dust, this version of Cinderella could have been the best of them all.

Disney's Cinderella is in theaters today, March 13, 2015 and it rated PG.

And Frozen movie fans should arrive on time to your Cinderella screening to see the new Disney Movie short FROZEN FEVER! The highly-anticipated follow-up short to the global phenomenon FROZEN can be seen exclusively in theaters with Disney’s new live-action CINDERELLA.


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