Sunday, March 1, 2015


By D.E.Levine

When a film costs $95 million, the has a right to expect the film to be something special.  And Disney certainly delivers.

A 2015 remake of it's internationally acclaimed animated classic, the new version of Cinderella has live actors and is blended seamlessly with sophisticated CGI techniques so that the animals and special effects look real.

Two hours of pure fantasy with beautiful actors, stunning production design, and gorgeous costumes, this rendition will create an entire new set of Cinderella lovers.  So beautiful are the costumes that some were recently displayed in the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, as art as well as clothing.

Directed by famed British actor/director Kenneth Branagh, the cast is mainly British, starring Lily James of Downton Abbey fame, Cate Blanchett, recipient of numerous British, Australian and American awards (including an Oscar),  Richard Madden of Game of Thrones notoriety, the revered Derek Jacobi, this Cinderella is for all age groups.

You don't have to be a little child to totally enjoy the lavish sets by Dante Feretti and the elegant, colorful costumes of Sandy Powell.  And, the story line remains true to the original tale of Ella (James), a child beloved by both parents whose Mother falls ill and dies, leaving her father to remarry to the evil Lady Tremaine (Blanchett), who comes with two insufferable daughters, Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drizella (Sophie McShera).  Instead of embracing Ella as their half-sister, the evil stepsisters immediately demote her to scullery maid and servant and rechristen her "Cinderella".  Of course, Cinderella's fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) is looking out for her best interests and happiness.

Having met the Prince, who identifies himself as an apprentice named "Kit" in the forest, Cinderella, through the magic of her fairy godmother, attends a ball at the palace, where she captures the prince's heart but at the stroke of twelve with the magic ending, dashes off leaving one glass slipper behind.

The new script remains basically true to the old script and the original fairy tale, so Disney isn't attempting to recreate Cinderella, simply to enhance the tale through modern technology.

Sadly, although we have the ballroom scene filled with music, the rest of the score, basically the well-known songs from the original, aren't heard until the very end of the film when the credits are rolling.

This version of Cinderella is fun and fantasy, it requires no deep thinking although in typical Disney fashion there are lessons of self-esteem and kindness towards others taught.

Naturally, the film opened abroad before coming to the US and in it's first week in China it cleared $62 million.  American audiences are bound to be just as enthusiastic.  This is definitely a film not to be missed.