“Cinderella” is the live action 2015 remake of the classic fairy tale that Disney first animated in 1950. Starring Lily James (“Downton Abbey”) as the titular character, the film shares many aspects of its characters and story with its animated counterpart, but like any remake worth seeing, it does provide the story with a few welcome updates.
The first noticeable change in this version of “Cinderella” is the film’s large amount of focus on its heroine’s early childhood years, before the evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett, The Lord of the Rings) comes into the picture. The audience is able to see how Cinderella grew up, see more of her as a person and how she ends up in her infamous situation with her stepmother.
Speaking of which, the movie does a good job of giving the stepmother some extra character. She is not initially mean to Cinderella, but there is a gradual, but realistic, increase in her cruelty toward her step-daughter, which is refreshing especially when compared to most interpretations of the story. The prince (Richard Madden, Game of Thrones) is also given a decent amount of character development throughout the movie, which is a far cry from the original.
The visual effects of the film are given a good treatment as well. With vibrantly colored scenes and equally lively characters, the effects manage to capture the essence of the story of Cinderella while still remaining somewhat realistic. That being said, the movie is not afraid to be flashy and magical when it needs to be, which is good since it gives the movie that childlike sense of wonder that has become such a timeless tradition of the Disney name.
Despite these pros though, there is a minor problem with the movie, and it is the fact that the prince and Cinderella practically fall in love at first sight. They only have three interactions throughout the entire movie, which is two more than the original story, but the characters know that they are meant to be after the first meeting. While it can be argued that the point of the film is Cinderella’s rise out of a place of great cruelty and a romance is only a small part, it is still hard to accept the couple’s instant, lovestruck chemistry, especially by today’s standards. But it is only a minor problem.
Overall, “Cinderella” is a decent adaptation of the classic tale that may surprise viewers with its emotional range. While it does not deviate too much from the general plot from the original, it adds plenty of refreshing scenes and ideas that breath some new life into this story.