Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Lilly James, Cate Blanchett
Cinderella. Pic/Santa Banta
'Cinderella' has been seeped into the world’s pop culture since the past 50 years or so. It was sort of the first story that ushered the 'princess in a castle rescued by a prince' genre onto the world. There have been countless plays, storybooks and film adaptations based on the story, and with the new film, Disney continues to establish their brand lives on forever.
This version of 'Cinderella' is directed, curiously, by Kenneth Branagh. He seems a strange choice for a director considering that he has indulged in Shakespearean plays earlier and directed thrillers like 'Dead Again' and 'Shadow Recruit', and also Marvel's first 'Thor' movie. After watching the movie, however, it seems like Branagh was the perfect choice for the film. His visual eye and knack for rendering sensitivity through actors is in top gear here.
The story follows the classic Brothers Grimm tale to the dot. In a magical kingdom in a land far away, at the back of a forest surrounded by the sea and mountains there is a little cottage with the happy family of Ella. When tragedy strikes and Ella's parents pass away, she is forced to live with her tyrannical stepmother (Cate Blanchett). The stepmother treats Ella as her slave — making her live in the attic while her own daughters stay in her bedroom, and forcing her to cook and clean for them. Ella’s dull life has a breath of fresh air when she meets the handsome young prince from the neighbouring kingdom and with the help of her fairy godmother, has a little dance with him. Cue in the famous glass sandal contrivance and the elements of revenge, escape and forgiveness.
If you are looking for a movie that offers a new spin on the Cinderella story, you will be disappointed. Disney has clearly made this movie to cater to the kids of this generation who have no interest in watching the ’50s film. The new movie has the same story but better visual effects, grander sets and a very pretty central character in the form of Lilly James. Kids have always wondered why Ella's name was changed to 'Cinderella' and this movie gives a pretty good reason for them to check it out. The incredible sequence where a pumpkin turns into a carriage, a goose into a chauffeur and a lizard into a driver is enough for the young audience to laugh and enjoy. It is simple pleasures and fun visuals that kids want, and this film delivers by the truckloads.