Viewed – 12 September 2015 Pay-Per-View
Did we really need another telling of this classic fairy tale? I think most people are familiar with the story; a girl named Ella (Cinderella) finds herself living with a wicked step mother and two cruel step sisters after her natural parents die. However a chance encounter with a charming (ahem) prince soon see’s her fortunes changing for the better, with a little help from a fairy godmother.
Disney’s new adaptation of the classic story is directed by Kenneth Branagh and stars relative newcomer Lily James as Ella and Cate Blanchett as her stepmother Lady Tremaine. This proved fun and has several stand out moments (the ballroom dance, the race to get home before the carriage turns back into a pumpkin) and is for the most part done very well. Acting is a tad over the top with a disappointingly hammy Blanchett coming across a little too cartoony, and those stepsisters I just wanted to slap. Helena Bonham Carter also appears as the fairy godmother, and like Blanchet is very caricature and silly. Thankfully then Game Of Thrones’ Richard Madden as the Prince is just the right side of charming without coming across as cheesy. Lily James starts out sugar-coated sweet but develops some real depth as her fortunes deteriorate and dreams are shattered … and proved a much more interesting character than say, Elle Fanning’s Sleeping Beauty in Maleficent.
Brannagh fills the movie with gorgeous (albeit CGI-loaded) locations and some excellent set design and costumes, making for a real visual treat. Yet I was hoping for something that warranted this being done again, but with a reliance on cartoon-like performances and slapstick humour we get very little we didn’t see in the 1950 Disney classic, amongst other versions. A missed opportunity.
For a new audience this is still decent, feel-good entertainment, but for anyone familiar with the story, approach this more as a re-visit than a re-imagining. It’s no Snow White and the Huntsman.
Verdict: 3.5 /5