Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham-Carter, Richard Madden, Holliday Grainger, Hayley Atwell (Rated G – 105 min).
It’s midnight, the glass slipper has been lost on the castle steps, the stagecoach goes back to a pumpkin, and a besotted Prince searches the enchanted kingdom to find its owner. Sound familiar? Well the ever reliable mouse-house has another global blockbuster shining through to the top of the box office thanks largely to dipping into their infamous Disney animation vault of classics, bringing them to the big screen as sweeping live action epics. It seems this may be a trend that will be filling their upcoming slate of releases for years to come.
The 1950 hand-drawn animated Cinderella is still the definitive version, standing the test of time. Loyal to the original, this adds layers, the characters have more to say or do and while it is not a musical, there are a few delightful songs performed by the cast as you would expect from an elaborate Disney production like this is.
Beautifully made, one scene moves into another like clockwork. Beyond that, perfect selection of the cast is important. Lily James, best known for Downton Abbey and soon to be seen in an genre mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, she is unbelievable, pure magic in every respect as the soon to be princess. She plays Cinderella as a forgiving, kind, decent and brave girl, who even when treated like dirt, she sweeps. Her heart goes out to others before herself. In comparison, Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) as Prince Charming is a drag, but sure to swoon many viewers with his voice alone.
Australia’s own member of Hollywood royalty Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother is scary. With an emphasis on romance, Cinderella is lavish and lush, it’s practically Director Kenneth Branagh bringing back the Golden Years of Hollywood and suitable for all ages. From the oddball but caring fairy godmother (Helena Bonham-Carter) to the morphing pumpkin and friendly creatures, it’s all here to enjoy in a different take on proceedings.
Looking carefully in the compelling Grand Ballroom revealing the magnificent blue gown is an absolute masterclass in glorious cinematography and production detail. Disney aficionados may notice many of the dresses look familiar from various past princesses such as Ariel, Belle and Snow White.
ATTENTION ‘FROZEN’ FANS: a brand new short film screens before the feature presentation.
Shane A. Bassett