February 23, 2016

Cinderella (2015)

Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter


I'm going to be honest (when am I not, really?): I had low expectations for this movie. After suffering through Maleficent, I wasn't convinced Disney could be trusted to make a live action adaptation of one of its most popular movies.

I am now eating my own words. This movie is legitimately good. Not just "good for a live action adaptation of a kid's story."

For one thing, it has Cate Blanchett. And aside from that disastrous Robin Hood remake and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, when has she ever been in a bad movie? She is so good at playing a villian, you almost forget she can also play a good guy too. She's someone no one will argue she didn't deserve her Oscars. (Yes, Renee Zellwegger, I'm talking to you.)

And unlike the aforementioned Maleficent, Lily James is wonderful for the part of the princess. She is pretty and young and fresh--all the things we believe Cinderella should look like. (Though if I really think about it, the animated Cinderella actually looks quite mature.) The only bothersome character is Helena Bonham Carter, who could play a crazy old witch in her sleep, but has these oddly huge fake teeth that are reminiscent of Michelle Rodriguez's veneers in Furious 7. I'm just not sure why the director thought it necessary to try and make Bonham Carter look more crazy for a part she was clearly born to play.

The plot follows the animated tale's almost exactly, which is nice because no one is going to watch this movie for new plot twists. You want the familiar and lovable story Disney told and that's exactly what they give you. With the exception of the mice, which could have been excised completely and the movie would have been better for it. They are added digitally and don't talk, so really they are just creepy rodents running around that add no value other than the fact that they are later turned into the horses for the carriage. But even I would have preferred a minor plot change for that part than to watch CGI mice run amok in Cinderella's bedroom for an hour. That's the stuff of nightmares. 

Final word: Minus the CGI mice and the cheap-y looking gown the fairy godmother cooks up, it's a very good representation of the original animated version.

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