Wednesday 18 March 2015

Cinderella Movie Review!!!

It's fairly safe to say Cinderella is going to be the new benchmark with which subsequent fairytale movies will be compared! Read on to find out why!

Who would have thought that after the Avengers, the next movie I would pay to see twice at the cinema would be in fact Cinderella – but it really is that good!

This is no Maleficent or Frozen, there are no random new twists, Cinderella doesn’t turn into Godzilla or something, this is just pure Cinderella and it’s a pleasure to behold.  That’s not to say those weren’t great movies, but there is just something immensely satisfying from seeing Cinderella as you remember it from your childhood on the big screen in live action form.

Of course over the years there have been various incarnations of the Cinderella, evil step-mom, prince charming tale but this is the version people have been unknowingly waiting for.

Do I really need to do a synopsis? Really?? 

For those of you who might be from another planet, Cinderella is a French story about a young woman who’s left to the cruel devices of her evil stepmother and wicked stepsisters after her father dies.   Reduced to living and working as a slave, she clings on to the promises she made her parents to stop herself from falling into despair.  Her hope is rekindled at the prospect of going to the royal ball and reuniting with a charming young man she met, but will her evil stepmother allow her to go??

It may sound sappy, there’s no Stallone and explosions, but it’s the heart with which the story is infused that draws you in as the viewer. 

These are characters we saw growing up as cartoons, but here they are as real human beings and director Kenneth Branagh expertly crafts each character with enough depth to make you believe in Cinderella’s world.

Upon repeat viewing it became apparent just how lovingly Cinderella’s characters had been written.  You hear Cinderella’s father tell the doctor who tends to Cinderella’s mother the exact same thing that Cinderella herself says to the messenger that brings her news of her father’s condition.  These small details are easy to miss, but work together as a whole to make Cinderella an exceptional character.

She is driven by the promises she made her parents before they died and no matter how hard it may be, she fights to keep these promises alive.  Imagine someone destroying the last gift a loved one had given you and there was nothing you could do in return because of the promise you made to them before they passed on.  Have courage and be kind.  It’s powerful stuff and gives a back story which allows the audience to finally see why Cinderella is always so kind and upbeat despite being so ill-treated, something that was never really explained in the original cartoon.  Trust me when I say there are plenty of moments which will have you holding back the tears.

Indeed, it’s not just Cinderella that’s benefitted from having a more fleshed out character and backstory.  Both Prince Charming and Lady Tremaine could have been paper-thin caricatures, but Branagh expertly ensures that all the key characters have enough depth to get the viewers emotionally invested.  

We see Prince Charming not as a spoilt brat but as an heir to a throne, a man caught between the interests of his people and his own heart and furthermore, the son of a loving and wise father.

There are moments where we even get a glimpse that Lady Tremaine too was perhaps once good, innocent and pure, left bitter and full of malice following one loss after another. 

Of course credit where credit’s due.  Lily James and Richard Madden make the transition to the big screen with ease, providing captivating and nuanced performances that further seal the deal.

Cate Blanchett nails the evil-stepmother character, a character that undoubtedly so many others would have turned into an over the top villain.  As a 2 time Oscar winner, Blanchett achieves the perfect balance between theatricality and believability.

And who would have thought Helena Bonham Carter could pull off playing the Fairy Godmother – but she does!

Despite being a story that most of us are familiar with, the movie never feels tired and rehashed, quite the contrary, it feels fresh, real and new!  Indeed, when the famous transformation scene and ballroom dance scenes come, it feels almost like something unexpected.  

The satisfaction and payoff watching these scenes is so much more than when watching the cartoon because you get to see in so much more detail the journey that these characters have had to go through.

There has clearly been so much love and attention to detail put into every scene, that the movie really couldn’t look any better.  Every scene is a work of art, a visual masterpiece.  Set design and production value is excellent.  At a comparatively low budget of $90million (Maleficent was $180million) the movie relies much more on practical effects than CGI.  The outfits and sets are real.  Cinderella really does sparkle, not due to CGI but because she was literally covered with Swarovski crystals.

And yes, that is her real waist in that blue dress (2min 45seconds):

Reports also suggest that Lily James looked so good, the standard movie pre-requisite of having on loads of makeup was often not necessary.  Something which famous makeup brand MAC obviously kept in mind when they crafted their Cinderella range, which you can discover more about here at the most amazing fashion and beauty blog in the world:

But one thing that surprisingly was CGI is the famous glass slippers.  The interviews suggest that Lily never actually got to wear any glass slippers, instead they were CGI’d onto her feet.

Replay value is excellent!  Despite having seen it twice I’m already looking forward to seeing it again in my home theater.

A fantastic movie suitable for pretty much anyone that has a heartbeat but more importantly for anyone that has a heart.

This is Disney and Hollywood at their finest, in a word, perfect!

Rating 5 out of 5


PS - Did I mention Gus Gus is in this?!!! =D


  1. Haha, I gave it a 4.5 out of 5. :) it was beautiful, but too short! And the backstory was too rushed~

  2. Well, at nearly 2 hours long - the fact that it doesn't feel that long is likely a testament to how fun the movie is, you know what they say - time flies when you're having fun! =P