Review – “Cinderella” reminds the audience to ‘have courage and be kind’

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Starring: Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blachette, Stellan Skarsgard, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Nonso Anozie, Ben Chaplin, and Hayley Atwell
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Rated: PG
Movie page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1661199/

In case you have been living under a rock, the story of Cinderella follows a young girl who loses both of her parents and becomes a ‘servant’ of sorts for her evil step mother and step sisters until she falls in love with the prince who whisks her away.

This story is perhaps the story that has been told the most over the years in regards to the direct storyline (one could argue that Romeo and Juliet is but circumstances are different). Anyways, because it’s been told so many times in so many ways, it was going to be a hard task for Disney to try and appeal to fans.

But it’s Disney, so you know they are going to find a way to get people to go the movie. And how do they do it? With a Frozen short of course.

Let’s start there.

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In the Frozen short, called ‘Frozen Fever’, Elsa and Kristoff are setting up a birthday party for Anna but when Elsa comes down with a cold (ironic right) it puts a damper on the party. We get a lovely song throughout most of the short (think “Let it Go” meets “Love is an Open Door”). The song is catchy and will certainly be on the radio by the end of the weekend, but it’s not enough to go to the movie just to see the short, which no doubt some people will do.

Stick around for the movie because you won’t be disappointed.

The movie makes a ton of references to the 1950 Disney cartoon version of the movie. It has the characters that we love in Gus Gus, Lucifer, and the fairy godmother, but the story focuses on Cinderella and her step-mother. There are a lot of references that fans of the original movie will notice (for example when Cinderella starts to cry she does it in that trademark Disney way with her head tilted away from the camera and in the crook of her elbow. Watch the first few Disney movies and see what I mean).

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It wouldn’t be a Disney movie without some kind of message and unlike most of the Disney messages where it’s subtle, this one is in your face and ever apparent from beginning to end. When Ella’s (sans Cinder until mid-way through the movie when she gets the nickname from her step sisters after getting covered in ash from the burning cinders) mother (Hayley Atwell, Captain America The First Avenger) is dying, she tells her young daughter to “have courage and kindness”. This helps explains why Cinderella stays so long.

The leads Lily James (Downtown Abby) as Cinderella and Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) as Kit the Prince were a good cast. They had really good chemistry and can feel the connection that the two characters had in the story. But it was Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies) that steals the show. She gives a whole new meaning of ‘evil stepmother’ but is still able to get you to understand her and why she did what she did.

Disney did add to the story by introducing us to Cinderella’s mother and allowed us to see her relationship with her parents, but by adding to the story, it did seem to make the story drag in some places. But if you are a fan of the Cinderella story, then you might notice the parts where it drags.

What did you think of the movie?

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