Cinderella is the first of a series of live action remakes of Disney’s classic animated movies. With Beauty and the Beast, and Tim Burton’s Dumbo coming soon, Disney ease themselves in with one of the most famous of fairy tales.
Though they do not try anything new, playing it safe by sticking tightly to the source material, the film does breathe new life into this classic fable. Fans of the original will not be disappointed and the film does reference it’s musical predecessor songs in its script, but sadly no one spontaneously bursts into song.
Kenneth Branagh is a perfect fit as director to bring this fantasy period piece to life. This film is played straight which fits his style. My only criticism would be that the film lacks the humour of other recent family friendly movies. There’s no adult themed jokes snuck in for the grownups.
This is not to say there isn’t a lot of fun to be had with this updated version. The visual effects are stunning. The scene with Helena Bonham Carter as Cinderella’s fairy godmother transforming her mice, goose and lizard friends into horses and footman for her pumpkin carriage is flawless, and pretty magical to watch.
Casting hits the mark as well. Lily James from Downton Abbey fills the crystal slippers perfectly as the sweet and innocent Cinderella, who always shows kindness to others. Prince charming is Game of Throne’s Richard Madden, who scrubs up rather well as Kit. (Sadly not the car from 80’s TV classic Knightrider.) This ensemble cast mostly complement each other with only Cate Blanchett’s horrid step mother maybe out shining others. She is equally beautiful and evil in her portrayal of this classic villain.
If the reaction from the young audience at the NZ premiere is anything to go by Disney is about to have yet another happy ending at the box office. An added treat comes along in the animated short ‘Frozen Fever’ playing before the main feature with all the fav characters celebrating Anna’s birthday.
This positively magical re-telling is in NZ cinemas from Thursday 26th March.
Reviewed by Ian Wright