Relive the classic fairy tale in which knowing a girl’s shoe size leads to true love.
Cinderella retells the classic fairy tale of a girl, a ball, and a glass slipper. Has the dream that you wished come true or has it shattered like Cinderella’s shoes? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this movie? Lily James of Wrath of the Titans and Downton Abbey plays the title character. Her wicked stepmother, Lady Tremaine, is played by Cate Blanchett of The Lord of the Rings and How to Train Your Dragon 2. The Fairy Godmother is portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter of the Harry Potter franchise, Sweeney Todd, and The Lone Ranger. Richard Madden of Game of Thrones is Prince Charming. Other cast members include Agent Carter‘s Hayley Atwell, Gladiator‘s Derek Jacobi, and Thor‘s Stellan Skarsgard.
The director is Kenneth Branagh of Thor, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and many film adaptations of Shakespeare’s works. The man can be hit or miss when it comes to directing movies, but he knows how to tell a story, he puts in every bit of effort he can, and his films are never boring.
The trailer begins as young Ella plays with her mother, who tells her that the secret to getting through the hard times of life is to “Have courage and be kind.” Timely advice, since the woman promptly drops dead of being a mother in a Disney film. Her father has to skip town for reasons unknown, but before he does, he remarries and brings home Lady Tremaine, her two daughters, and her fluffy cat on a leash. Despite this last obvious sign that his new wife is a Bond villain, Ella’s father assures her that she’ll be safe.
Ella may be safe, but she’s safe in slavery as Lady Tremaine forces her to do all the cleaning and housework and says, “Wouldn’t you prefer to eat when all the work is done?” “Yes, stepmother,” says Ella. “Oh, you needn’t call me that,” Tremaine tells her. “Madam will do.” My close friends call me Your Highness. One day Ella wakes up with a soot-covered face from her work, and her stepsisters call her names, including Cinderella. Tremaine laughs with them, a laugh that points out both how childish she is for laughing at name-calling and how cartoonishly evil she is.
The names get under Ella’s skin, though, so much so that when she meets a handsome prince in the woods, she won’t even tell him what people call her. They both agree that it’s neither of their faults that she’s called names and that they want to see each other again. I think it’s so romantic that they’re bonding over her insults. But a flashback to Ella’s mother reminds us how kind she is, even feeding the mice. Based on the CG in this trailer, it looks as though they’ll be keeping the mice as cartoons.
Ella finds out there’s a ball at the palace, so she puts on her mother’s old dress and heads downstairs to join her party-going stepfamily. To her despair, Lady Tremaine calls the dress insulting old rags and rips it apart. Part of me is genuinely shocked; could she have done anything more devastating? It’s a symbolic move that attacks the things Ella loves most. On the other hand, SHE’S EVIL! HAVE WE DRIVEN THAT POINT HOME ENOUGH?! WE CAN MAKE HER MORE EVIL IF YOU HAVEN’T GOT IT YET!
Ella runs outside crying and meets an old lady who turns into OH MY GOSH GET THAT THING AWAY FROM ME oh it’s just Helena Bonham Carter in a fairy outfit. She turns the pumpkin into a coach and the mice into horses and I’m not sure which is weirding me out more, the obvious CG or her massive frills. She turns Ella’s dress into a beautiful blue gown, destroying a treasured memento from her dead mother, and gives her glass slippers that she claims are “really comfortable.” Yeah right. Just don’t go tap dancing in them.
Ella arrives at the ball and enchants everyone in the room. “They’re all looking at you,” she tells the prince. “Believe me, they’re all looking at you,” he replies. So you might want to take care of that thing in your teeth. Again, we flash back to Ella’s mother, who says, “Where there is kindness, there is goodness, and where there is goodness, there is magic.” Until midnight, at which point kindness has to stand on its own merit. Ella runs back to the coach, trying to beat the clock, but the coachman turns back into a goose. Well, that’s something to take a gander at.
As the trailer moves into its action montage, the prince practices his fencing, Tremaine locks Ella in her room, and the prince declares, “I have to see her again.” She still hasn’t told me what ugly names she’s been called. We get a glimpse of the royal hunt, and Tremaine holds up a glass slipper while sitting in the most evil pose possible, and asks Ella, “Are you looking for this?” No, because it should have disappeared at midnight along with everything else. And the trailer ends with the royal guard riding up to Tremaine’s house and the prince running after Ella. Wait! You haven’t even told me your shoe size!
So based on the trailer, would I recommend this movie? Yes, yes I would. At times the writing seems a bit cheesy or overdramatic, the effects aren’t terrific, and Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother . . . well, the less I say about that, the better. But for all it’s flaws, the film has a good heart and a certain charm about it. The colors are vibrant, the actors are high-quality, and the director is devoted to telling good stories. Much like Ella herself, I’ll bet that behind the rags and soot is a warm and enchanting heart that will win over even the toughest audiences. I’m looking forward to seeing it, whether in theaters or on DVD.
I wouldn’t recommend a midnight showing, though. You know, in case the theater turns into a pumpkin.
Cinderella is owned by Walt Disney Pictures.