Cinderella Review: Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boring

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It’s hard to even call this film a retelling of the classic fairy tale. Instead, it’s more of a live-action remake of the 1950 Disney animated film of the same name.

In some ways, you have to praise director Kenneth Branagh’s decision to stick to the basics here. Otherwise, this could have fallen in the same category as Snow White and the Huntsman and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Disney’s first interpretation of Cinderella stands on its own and still holds up today. There doesn’t need to be any changes to it. But then you start asking why Branagh’s version even exists.

An answer is never really given. The plot and character beats play out exactly the same as they always have without any real new substance to them. A heartless step-mother and step-sisters. A magical episode of a makeover reality show. A chiseled jawline infatuated with our heroine. A lost slipper. And a shoe that fits. It all plays out exactly as you expect.

So let’s talk about what does stand out in 2015’s Cinderella. If you go to the film’s Wikipedia page, the longest section is about costumes, and rightfully so. This being a Branagh film, the aesthetic is on point, from the ball gowns to palace itself. Everything is gorgeous, vibrant when it needs to be and subdued when it doesn’t.

Then there’s Cate Blanchett chewing the scenery as Lady Tremaine, the villainous step-mother. She breathes the most life into the film and is the only one adding tension to these scenes. This character has never been so wicked on screen.

So if that’s all enough for you, go see Cinderella and you’ll have a perfectly pleasant experience. For those looking for something a little more new, look elsewhere. Grade: B-

By Matt Dougherty

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