Sunday, March 29, 2015
Cine Beaverhausen: Disney's Fresh, New Cinderella
I thought I'd miss the songs from the classic Disney animated version, but this live-action production of Cinderella more than compensates and with "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" sung over the closing credits. Lily James is perfect as the sweet Cinderella and Richard Madden is a charming Prince Charming. It doesn't hurt that this handsome, fresh-faced young actor looks hot in white tights (worn throughout), giving good basket and showing off his tight buns when not in waistcoats with tails
In key roles, Derek Jacobi as the kingdom's king and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother (no longer dowdy but channeling Amy Sedaris, and also providing the voice-over narratives) inmeasurably add to adult viewers' joys. Ben Chaplin is a fine actor portraying Cinderella's father, though his strong face often made me think he'd make a wonderful Joker in an upcoming Batman film.
It is, perhaps not surprisingly, Cate Blanchett, who captivates through the movie's close to two-hour running time, as the evil stepmother. She pulls this part off deliciously, at times Lypsinka-like, in her glamorous yet diabolical and scheming role. She also has all the best lines. She makes a star entrance, giving good face when she royally turns around to look into the camera for the first time. What a great big-screen bitch this character is; you will love to hate her. I hear the costume designer based her gowns on outfits for Joan Crawford. And I predict Cate will be a legendary Stepmommy Dearest for years to come.
The stepsisters are a couple of mean girls who come across as nasty but actually somehow adorable.
Much time is spent setting up this tale which may not captivate younger viewers early on. However, it all pays off, narratively, in the long run.
This Cinderella is a bit of an animal rights activist and that's cool. Her friends, the mice, including Gus-Gus from the Disney animated film, do not speak in this film, which is probably for the best. (I always found the mice's Chipmunks-like voices annoying, even as a child.) The almost choreographic first meeting of Cinderella and the Prince on horseback before the famous ball gave a resonance to the beautiful, climactic ball sequence with its lost glass slipper later on.
I laughed and actually cried with joy during this film. I was even held in suspense though I knew exactly how this Grimm fairytale goes, surely, by now. This Cinderella has no shortage of frills. In short, I adored it.