At The Movies: They’ve Made A Balls Of ‘Cinderella’

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by John Lyons



‘HAVE courage and be kind’ is the moral of the ‘Cinderella’ story.

In fact, that’s probably rather obvious. But Disney seem to be convinced that the only possible way to sink this lesson into children’s skulls is to simply have the characters say it over and over again for two hours.

Had the filmmakers been less preoccupied with constantly hand-holding the audience and more concerned with storytelling, they might’ve been able to craft a film actually worth the audience’s time.

I’m well aware that films must be reviewed within context, and of course, ‘Cinderella’ is a film made primarily for children. But even though I’m bearing that in mind, I’m still hesitant about recommending it.

There is literally nothing new here. It is the exact same story we’ve always been told, beat for beat, just recycled into a live action setting.

And much like having the film’s mantra repeated throughout, everything is handed to us on a silver platter.

Most of the writing and performances are far from subtle. The voiceover is always telling us about things that we can already see occurring on screen, a ridiculous amount of time is spent cutting away to reaction shots, and the music will swell to an emotional crescendo at the drop of a hat.

When you compare the original ‘Cinderella’ to the likes of ‘Tangled’ and ‘Frozen’, it’s impressive to see how far Disney have progressed in terms of storytelling alone.

Characters are vivid and believable, not everything is explained through dialogue, and the female protagonists are as independently minded and brave as the ones found in a typical Studio Ghibli film.

Yet with ‘Cinderella’ they merely revert to the old formula. Not only is there no fresh approach to the material, but there’s the lazy assumption that what worked in a 1950’s animated film would work equally as well in a 2015 live action remake.

And it’s hard to remain interested in a story whose plot is universally known, especially to the point where you can predict how every scene is going to go.

Ironically, courage and kindness are essential requirements for the viewing experience of this one-dimensional live action remake of the 1950 Disney classic, as well as a fair share of patience.

The film’s only saving graces are Cate Blanchett as the ‘evil’ stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother, two of the few performances in the film which aren’t over-the-top caricatures of characters that were fairly underwhelming to begin with (the stepmother is actually an improvement from the original).

But at the end of the day, this isn’t anything that warrants a trip to the cinema, unless you’re interesting in seeing people act out a beloved animated film almost verbatim.

Children will probably enjoy this, it has a silly sense of humour and there’s likeable characters, but to be quite honest they deserve better.


Follow John Lyons on Twitter: @Fireinthelyons

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