The family went to see Cinderella on the weekend. I have to admit I was looking forward to this, given that I generally enjoy Kenneth Branagh’s work. Unlike Thor, Cinderella seemed much more in the laneway of a Shakespearean director, given that it is about relationships and drama rather than action and spectacle (though I still think he did a serviceable job with Thor).
And I believe Branagh delivers. There is much to enjoy in this movie, though it hews very, very closely to the Disney storyline. While some amplification of certain character’s motivations and desires is offered, overall this is a live-action version of the Disney cartoon.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, though I really wish a decision had been made – by Branagh or Disney – to extend the courtship of Cinderella and the Prince. Maybe after finding her, the Prince proposes marriage but Cinderella says something to the effect of “we’ll see,” and then maybe have the wedding, but indicate – since there is a voiceover narrating much of the film – that this occurred a year or two later.
I’d like to give Branagh some kudos for inclusivity – Cinderella’s native land is a real melting pot of ethnicities – but I don’t think he went far enough. This is the man who had Keanu Reeves as Denzel Washington’s brother – okay, half-brother, but still – and Washington was the lord of Aragon – although he seemed pretty much the only non-white in his own land – in Much Ado About Nothing. This is the man who brought us Idris Elba as Heimdall. I just wish the speaking cast – especially in the lead roles – was more diverse. Given this is a fairytale, what’s to stop the king, Cinderella’s father, or – dare I even think it – the Prince or Cinderella from being non-Caucasian? Would it really be so bad?
In the end, this is a light and enjoyable confection. Unlike the animated movie, this is not a musical, though there is some singing. Like the animated movie, this is great family entertainment. It was the first time my girls saw a movie in a real movie theatre – rather than an auditorium standing in for a movie theatre. We all had a great time, which opens up the realm of family visits to the cinema on a more regular basis – with the costs of tickets, that regular basis will likely be no more than twice a year – which is pretty cool.
I give Cinderella 4 glass slippers out of 5. This was a fun movie, but there’s nothing that makes it standout as great or significant.
You can read more about Cinderella at IMDB or Wikipedia.