Movie Review – New Disney version of Cinderella unique, fresh but drags on

By Hope Sandusky/nw news editor

A movie that has been adapted dozens of times, Disney’s live-action remake of Cinderella tells nothing new. 

Those familiar with the Brothers Grimm fairy tale or the 1950 Disney cartoon know exactly how the story goes. What makes the movie so good, though, is not the story itself, but the way it is told.

Lily James and Cate Blanchett star in this live-action remake of the classic Cinderella.  Photo courtesy Walt Disney Studios
Lily James and Cate Blanchett star in this live-action remake of the classic Cinderella.
Photo courtesy Walt Disney Studios

No plot twists, no missing characters or changed endings are in this film, nor any infused theme or metaphor other than what is part of the original tale. What makes the film so special is the cast and design.

The cast of Cinderella was well chosen. Lily James plays Cinderella and brings an innocence and goodness to her that doesn’t come across as over the top. Cate Blanchett as the Stepmother plays wicked with a sense of glee about her, and Richard Madden’s version of the Prince is the definition of charming.

The rest of the cast members play their roles as if they were originally written with them in mind. The most surprising cast member, with one of the shortest amounts of screen time, is Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother, who injects humor and fun in a seemingly dire scene.

The costumes and scenery are what truly deliver the fairy tale aspect of the film. No detail seems to be left unnoticed from the butterflies sewn into Cinderella’s ball gown to the broken boards in the attic where she stays. Each scene is a masterpiece and evokes a sense of grandeur.

The CGI used is tasteful. There isn’t any sense of artificiality even though the story is based on the existence of magic. What makes the movie so different from any other adaptation is the extent to which the designers went to live up to the imagination of the original story.

A few scenes were added for back-story that, while interesting to see, don’t add much to the movie. Disney attempted to fill in some gaps from the original tale of Cinderella to make it slightly different from the rest, but the scenes are forgettable.

At moments, the movie seems to drag with a run time of an hour and 54 minutes when it is best suited for 90 minutes.

Cinderella is unique and fresh in an industry that believes if it isn’t broke then make the movie again. No other adaptation needs to be seen other than this one. It feels as if this is how all the others should have been made in the first place.

Hitting No. 1 in its first week in the box office and with a slew of Disney live-action remakes on the way, Cinderella is the forerunner example of what happens when successful cartoons are treated right.