Live-action "Cinderella" brings classic tale to modern audiences
This Friday, the highly anticipated Disney "Cinderella" movie will be brought to theaters to reintroduce the timeless tale to a 21st century audience. It's been over 60 years since the 1950 debut of "Cinderella," yet the film still manages to inspire with the advice the princess followed from her mother, “I want to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. Have courage and be kind.”
Cinderella, played by a bright-eyed Lily James, known as Lady Rose MacClare in “Downton Abbey” does a fantastic job at portraying the bravery and kindness of the original 1950 princess. With her might and elegance it’s hard not to think of James as a natural born Cinderella.
Director Kenneth Branagh of "Thor" and "Hamlet," braves his first time directing the fairy tale from Chris Weitz’s screenplay. Branagh’s use of lighting and cinematography effects carries the story in a whimsical and enchanting manner to further enhance the classic tale. While Weitz of “About a Boy,” maintains the theme of the original "Cinderella" by conveying the true power of a person even in the bleakest of situations, while adding situational and conversational humor in the midst of it all.
Along with humor, Weitz brings an exposition that covers Cinderella’s early life as a child with her parents, and her journey with losing both of them that leads her to an evil stepmother’s care. This illustration allows you to see why Cinderella became such a brave and kind individual and how her traits lead to her happy ending.
Similar to the original, after Cinderella’s father unexpectedly dies on his journey as a merchant, she finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, who belittle and treat her as a bottom-feeding maid.
Unlike the original, however, this modern "Cinderella" delves into the stepmother’s depressing past of failed marriages, debt, and how that has molded her wretched personality. The evil stepmother played by Cate Blanchett is a cruel and ruthless character. Blanchett convincingly plays the part of the intimidating and bitter woman characterized in the original classic tale.
After her father unexpectedly dies, young Cinderella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, who belittle her and reduce her worth to a scullery maid. Despite her circumstances, she maintains her composure and strength. Only does she begin to doubt herself on the night of the anticipated ball.
Upon her being marked as a disgrace by her stepmother leading to her being forbidden at the palace ball, Cinderella sulks. An invitation to a palace ball gave Ella hope that she might reunite with the handsome stranger, who hid his identity as the prince she met in the woods, but her stepmother prevents her from going.
Enter the wise and magical, Helena Bonham Carter, playing the role of the helpful fairy god mother with a magic touch for ordinary things. Carter’s appearance in the film is short but nonetheless thrilling, and the real turning point in the movie.
Resembling the original, there will be the same magical story that made us fall in love with "Cinderella," just with a modern twist.
The fairy tale’s whimsical charm is preserved over 60 years later in this film. The grandiose scenery, landscapes, props, and setting are awe-inspiring. From a rotting wooden attic in the highest place of a small charming cottage to the grand and golden castle, you’ll find yourself in amazement at the length Disney went to make this film unforgettably visually stimulating.
In fact, you’ll be able to see some of the costumes and props on display at The El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. Displayed in glass cases, you’ll find a background drop and the original glass shoe used in the film. Also showcased in another thick-glassed case is the actual dress worn by James. The flowing ball gown is crafted by three-time Oscar winning costume designer Sandy Powell.
It’s no wonder that "Cinderella" has been highly anticipated by many. It proved to encapsulate a modern audience with the core values of passion and kindness. With the strong acting, realistic characterization, modified script, and fundamental values, "Cinderella" forms a learning experience for this generation and a truly entertaining cinematic experience.