REVIEW: ‘Cinderella’

Kenneth Branagh
Cate Blanchett
Lily James
Richard Madden
Helena Bonham Carter
Rated: PG

If you’ve seen the original animated “Cinderella,” or any of the other adaptions of the fairy tale, this will be very familiar territory. This live action version starts off with Cinderella(James) as a young girl and the movie introduces the audience to both her mother and father.

The film goes into the upbringing of Cinderella and shows how her mother died, how her father found a new wife and how life was like after her father passed away. From there, it works like the other adaptions, Stepmother (Blanchett) comes into the picture, forces Cinderella to do work, a ball comes up and the two stepsisters are brats.

The biggest issue with “Cinderella” is not with the filmmaking itself, it’s simply that there isn’t much depth or substance in the plot to actually make a full length feature into a compelling picture.

There’s no doubt that Director Kenneth Branagh knew what he was doing and to be fair, the crew on this flick did attempt to add a little more meat to the bones of the plot. For example, we do get more information on Cinderella’s parents and a better understanding of the prince’s personality and goals in life.

That being said, there were still many moments that felt like filler in which the movie was being stretched a bit too thin.

The acting in the film was probably the strongest point. Led by two time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, the cast nails what they’re given with each role. Blanchett is menacing as the stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter is perfectly whimsical as the Fairy Godmother.

The actors playing younger characters did a good job in their parts, too. Both Lily James as Cinderella and Richard Madden as the prince both bring energy and life into the characters they play and are likable in the roles.

Once again, the only real issue with any of the characters is that the personalities from the original story are a bit dry. Cinderella is a bit too flawless, the Stepmother is simply bad with no real motivations and the step sisters are bratty and ditzy with no other characteristics. Surprisingly, the only character who had some good depth to explore was the Prince who was a bit unsure about becoming a king.

From a technical standpoint, though, the film does work. As stated before, Branagh is a guy who knows what he’s doing and it shows here. The special effects makes things come to life well, the costume design is well done which results in a good spectacle and makes the movie very watchable.

Overall, the 2015 “Cinderella” is a fine adaption. The acting and effects make it worth checking out for any Disney fan, however, the flaws of the original story still shine through at points due to the movie’s longer run time (the original animated was 74 min while this is 105 min). 3 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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