RELEASED 2015 RUNTIME 105 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION KENNETH BRANAGH SCREENPLAY CHRIS WEITZ STARRING RICHARD MADDEN, STELLAN SKARSGARD, CATE BLANCHETT, LILY JAMES, HOLLIDAY GRAINGER, DEREK JACOBI, HELENA BONHAM CARTER MUSIC PATRICK DOYLE
Cinderella (2015) is a life action adaption of Disney’s Cinderella from 1950.
The premise is basically the same. After her parents death Cinderella is forced to live with her evil stepmother and her mean stepsisters in her parents house. But Cinderella does not break under the mockery and won’t give up hope for a better life in the future.
This movie looks very good. It certainly feels like somebody has taken the animated version and passed it onto the real world.
Everything feels very colorful, brilliant and a little stylized. The production design is spectacular and communicates the feel of a real fairy tale on screen. Cinderella’s dress looks incredible!
The characters are pretty much mirror images of their animated counterparts, while also being unique in their own way.
It’s funny, but I found the real life version of the stepmother played by Cate Blanchett much meaner than the animated one. In the animation she was a little bit more reserved, while here she goes full on evil bitch. Also the step sisters were a little bit more over the top and felt like caricatures of their animated counterparts. Same goes for the fairy played by Helena Bonham Carter, which is pretty much a given, as soon as you cast her in anything. So, in a weird way the animations feels more real and grounded than the life action version, when it comes to the human characters.
While the plot doesn’t really deviate from the animated version, it focuses on different aspects. While in the animation it heavily features Cinderella’s mice friends, here they are pretty much sidelined almost completely. Same goes for the evil cat, Lucifer. Instead the story heavily features the prince, and we actually get to know him as a person. He is a fully realised side character with his own subplot. Also, we meet Conderella’s father, so that, when the death happens, you actually care and feel kind of sad.
But because of the focus on these “new” characters, I felt like I didn’t get to know Cinderella and their step family as well as I would have hoped to. So, the drama doesn’t hit you as hard as it did in the animation. That doesn’t mean you don’t feel bad for her. Lily James actually does a really good job playing the character and conveying emotion, but the animation was more effective in translating the emotion of the plot onto the viewer.
What always bugged me about the Cinderella story was the fairy part. She still does appear out of nowhere. However, the movie does a sliiiiightly better job of hinting that she came because of her mother’s good heart, or something like that (?). I still don’t really get it, but it appears that there may be a reason why she is helping out Cinderella. But it’s still not enough to really convince me.
I like the movie and if you are a fan of the Disney animation, you certainly should check this one out, especially if you belong to the female demographic. It’s a princess story and it really does feel like one, in the best possible way. It certainly is one of the better Disney life action adaptions and totally worth watching for the incredible production design alone. There is some funky CGI involving the fairy, but it doesn’t distract you enough from enjoying the film.