Cinderella (1)

Disney’s Live-Action “Cinderella” Is No Fairytale

Disney’s Cinderella is everything that you would expect: no exciting twist to the plot, but the basic tale that we all remember from our childhood. The film has an evil stepmother, two evil stepsisters, a cat that constantly chases Cinderella’s mice pals, a prince, a fairy godmother, a pumpkin that turns into a carriage with the magical words, “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” and, of course, the glass slippers. The movie wasn’t as enchanting and magical as I expected it to be, but it wasn’t terribly bad either. 

Cinderella begins with a narration as the audience looks on at a beautiful house surrounded by trees and flowers, almost as if we were birds soaring in the sky. We see a young Ella (Eloise Webb), happy as can be playing with her mother (Hayley Atwell) and father (Ben Chaplin) outside their cottage. Ella is told that “sorrow can come to any kingdom,” and it does: her mother grows terribly ill. She tells Ella to “have courage and be kind,” which Ella takes to heart even when confronted by her wicked stepmother.

It’s been many years now since her mother passed on, and her father tells a fully-grown Ella (Lily James) that he wants to marry Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett). Soon Lady Tremaine moves into the cottage home and brings her two spoiled, bratty daughters Drisella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger), who later give their stepsister the nickname “Cinderella” because she slept by a fireplace and got cinder ashes on her face. At a party in their home, Cinderella’s father says that he has to be leaving for business and will return soon, but as the story goes, he becomes ill and dies on his journey back home. 

Months go by and Cinderella does all the chores around the house because, according to her stepmother, it’s a wonderful way to deal with grief. Cinderella is shopping in a market and hears the Prince (Richard Madden) is having a ball and runs home to tell her stepmother and stepsisters. Lady Tremaine tells Cinderella that she can’t go because it’s a chance for her daughters to meet the prince and fall in love. Very upset, Cinderella makes her own dress and runs downstairs to show her stepmother and stepsisters, only to be greeted by them tearing apart her mother’s dress. Still, she goes to the ball by the magic of her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter). She dances with the Prince but has to depart by midnight, leaving behind a glass slipper that sets the Prince out on a search to discover her identity. 

I have to say that the cast was fair in their acting but there was nothing that stood out that made them extraordinarily good. James was decent as Cinderella, but her performance was no fairytale; her acting consisted of her twirling her dress and hair around and having a smile on her face. She barely showed any emotion, and her tears seemed to be sprayed on with a spray bottle. Madden, it seemed, was just a typical English actor with an accent to give him more of the sophisticated, suave attitude. He really gave nothing more to the part than his English boy charm. 

Blanchett, as always, did an amazing job as the evil stepmother, bringing the cartoon character to life. Her red hair and sinister smile glistened on the screen and made you truly fear her. Carter, just like in many of her roles, was odd but funny and intriguing to watch on screen. The movie as a whole is a fun princess story, and with lively colorful scenery and colorful dresses that twirl on the screen, you can’t help but feel like a child again.