This enchanting remake of the animated 1950 classic has the very essence of Disney woven throughout. With a dynamic cast and stunning setting, this magical remake will capture your heart and make you fall in love with the fairy tale all over again.
There is always a certain amount of expectation that surrounds any Disney production, but when it comes to remakes there is also going to be slight reservations. It’s also fair to suggest there hasn’t necessarily been overwhelming success when it comes to the various re-imaginings of Cinderella that have hit the silver-screen over the years. However, Kenneth Brannagh’s take on the film is both witty and enthralling; making it a must watch for anyone who is a Disney fanatic, or simply loves fairy tales.
Whilst there is a larger portion of screen time dedicated to Ella’s life before the appearance of her Step-family than in most other interpretations of the fairy tale – her mother (played by Hayley Atwell) being a focal point at the start – the film is not ground-breaking in terms of plot. For those hoping for a glimpse at the tale from a different perspective, as seen in the likes of Maleficent, they will be somewhat disappointed; this film is very traditional and in keeping with Charles Perrault’s original work. However that doesn’t mean that the film is any less appealing, its light-hearted nature making it an easy but enjoyable watch for any one from the age of five to ninety-five.
In terms of the cast, while they are perhaps not as well-known as the likes of those starring in other upcoming Disney live-action remakes, they play their roles superbly. Lily James, probably most known for her role in Downton Abbey, is charismatic in her role as Cinderella, portraying the sweet-natured and caring girl that the audience immediately takes to. Prince Kit, played by Richard Madden, is equally as charming and convincing as the besotted and seemingly as compassionate young prince. In a contrast to the original animated version, the contemptible Stepmother (Cate Blanchett) is in equal measures glamourous and evil, taking on an extra-depth to the usual role and coming across as egotistical at times, yet conjuring a feeling of sympathy at others. However, it is the essential role of the fairy godmother that was the most inspired piece of casting, with Helena Bonham-Carter playing an unconventional and ditzy fairy godmother who simply adds to the charm that emanated through the entirety of the film.
Whilst the acting is an inherent strength, the production of the film is also quite spellbinding. In the most glorious settings, with carefully-crafted props and costumes, the film is visually stunning. One of the most captivating scenes is most certainly the one that takes place in the ballroom; the panning shots of the beautiful palace (interior and exterior) instilling that real magical, fairy tale feeling to the film. The scene focuses on the first dance between Cinderella and the Prince (in what must be uncomfortably tight trousers), Ella wearing that dazzling blue gown as the two float around the ballroom together. A combination of setting, music and perfect scripting (Kit’s “believe me, they’re all looking at you”) made this one of the pivotal and most spectacular scenes in the movie. Credit must be given to director Kenneth Brannagh and screenwriter Chris Weitz for their ability to stick to the tradition of the original, but to also bring a modern edge to the film.
In short, the film is innocent and heart-warming, with the moral that happy endings will come, if we only “have courage and be kind”.