Cinderella is a faithful live-action remake of Disney’s classic animated feature from 1950. Director Kenneth Branagh manages to bring a real fairy tale to life on the big screen.
Release Date: March 13, 2015
Writer: Chris Weitz
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Lily James, Cate Blancett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Stellan Skarsgard
The beauty of Branaugh’s final work is his hard work to take the original animated feature and give it texture. Story-wise writer Chris Weitz fills in the gaps that may have been questioned by fans. Visually filmmakers create a larger than life, a true “fairy tale” about a orphaned girl who must stay strong to her character and herself.
At the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to Ella and her mother and father. Although her father often travels, Ella’s mother instills in her heart her code of life, “Have courage and be kind.” Then her mother dies. This is where the story runs parallel to the animated classic as Ella’s father remarries, is placed in the custody of her step-mother and bullied by her step-sisters. The king of the land knows that he can not rule forever and forces his son to find a bride quickly.
After escaping into the forest, the prince stumbles upon Ella and is enamored. He poses as the son of a servant; Ella falls for the prince as well. Then we have a ball, fairy Godmother, alliances with another country, a conspiracy and a glass slipper.
Cinderella has everything going for it. A well-thought out story by writer Chris Weitz. A fairy tale with beautiful over-the-top backgrounds and costuming. The acting is top notch from newcomers Lilly James and Richard Madden and veterans Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter. The story does tend to drag a little and there are moments you wish the action moves faster.
Kenneth Branagh manages to give much-needed texture to the original 2D animated feature. The additions and detail do not feel heavy- handed, and the final product is a real life fairy tale very much in the tradition of Disney. Cinderella will reach the levels of Disney classic as the original animated feature did.
Other thoughts: It appears that there is a mysterious disease roaming this land that causes people to die suddenly for no apparent reason, including Ella’s mother and the King.