Director Kenneth Branagh (Henry V and Thor) gives a refreshing revision to the Cinderella story, bringing bright colors and infinite costume design to the table.
While we didn’t need another Cinderella story, Disney still went for it. Disney focused on the story and characters more than the CGI. The past live-action Disney films have failed to do so (Alice in Wonderland, Oz: The Great and Powerful and Maleficent). You should know from the start, Cinderella is gorgeous and captures the fairy tale charm of the original '50s film. By scrapping the silly songs, director Branagh expands more on the character development and back-story of Ella.
This live-action crowd pleaser is the first of many Disney animated classics to follow (Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, The Jungle Book and Pinocchio). Hopefully, Disney does the same with those upcoming films as they did with Cinderella. We're off with a radiant but, at times, breathy Lilly James (Lady Rose on Downton Abbey) who brings innocence and feminism to the role of Ella. Here, scriptwriter Chris Weitz (About a Boy) gives us the back-story of Ella and how her family died. Even with loosing her family and receiving a wicked stepmother (a maliciously superb Cate Blanchett), Ella is still kind.
From there you know the rest: Ella talks to mice, cleans up after her evil stepsisters, forbidden from going to the ball and then is able to because of her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter). What made the film worth watching was its eye-popping costume design that will steal you heart away. On top of that, we get one of the most memorable pumpkin exploding scenes ever to come to film.
Other note worthy performances are from a handsome prince (Richard Madden from Game of Thrones), a sly Stellan Skarsgard (the Grand Duke), a loyal Nonso Anozie (The Captain) and a Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Bonham Carter. Kids will be in awe, while, adults will be proud of the classic story rightfully coming to life. Disney’s revision of the Cinderella story is bright, colorful and full of magic.
Cinderella is rated PG (Parental Guidance). For mild thematic elements.