Live Action Cinderella Adds Depth to the Story

New(ish) Take on a Disney Classic


Courtesy of Time Magazine

The live action Cinderella (2015) is luscious, as shown by the extravagant costuming and set.

Disney has been remaking their renowned classics since the early 2010’s. Disney’s remake of the classic Cinderella was made in 2015 by director Kenneth Branagh. The original film was made in 1950 and is a staple in the American household. The remake in 2015 was the first time that Disney has formally redone the film since the original was released. The remake was wonderfully detailed and represents the same magic of Disney presented in the original. For those of you who have missed this childhood classic, the film revolves around Cinderella, an orphaned girl who acts as an indentured servant to her evil stepmother and stepsisters. She eventually receives help from her fairy godmother, and meets the prince of the kingdom, and her dreams, at a royal ball. Cinderella leaves without giving the prince her name, and he tracks her down by her slipper which she had accidentally left behind. He finds Cinderella, and they live happily ever after together.

Cinderella is meant to be the embodiment of kindness, and Lily plays it to perfection.”

The casting department excelled. Lily James was cast as Cinderella, and she encapsulates the role beautifully. Cinderella is meant to be the embodiment of kindness, and Lily plays it to perfection. I particularly enjoyed how this film continues and develops the characters further then it does in the original film. This is shown particularly with Cinderella’s relationship to the prince and her step-mother. Cinderella portrays deeper emotions such as grief and bravery, and we as the viewers are able to see deeper developments in her relationships with several supporting side characters as well, such as the maid staff and the king.
The role of the prince is played by Richard Madden, an actor known for his role on the TV show Game of Thrones- Robb Stark. In this adaptation he is referred to as Kit, and his character is well developed compared to the first film. In the first movie, this prince has very few lines and we hardly see any emotion or depth from his character. I’m not even sure he has a name in the first film, besides perhaps Prince Charming;that’s just about how much we know about his character. In the renewal, we see a relationship between him and his father, learn about the background of his upbringing, and relationship with his deceased mother.

The fairy grandmother is no longer the kind grandmotherly role, and instead has a tacky element about her.”

I also adored the casting of Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother. Blanchett has truly mastered the snooty looks, and the downturned curl of her lip. We learn a bit more about the wicked stepmother’s motives for being so cruel, and about her life before she met Cinderella. We learn about the background of her previous husband passing away and the way that she prioritizes her daughters because of it. This film has a wonderful and impressive cast. Although given the wow-factor cast, I do have to wonder if some of the roles should not have been changed. While the wicked stepmother and princes’ roles had excellent new strength to them, the changing of the fairy godmother, played by Helena Bonham Carter, was too extreme and felt somewhat gaudy to me. The fairy grandmother is no longer the kind grandmotherly role, and instead has a tacky element about her. Her dress no longer has the simple magical element, and is instead the most bejeweled costume in the film. Perhaps her over-the-top magical element was needed for younger audiences, as this adaptation no longer features the magical talking mice and birds. The movie also lacked any storyline for the infamous Lucifer, the evil cat, from the first film.

The costume designer, Sandy Powell, was the mastermind behind many of the spectacular costumes throughout this movie.

I must commend this movie’s wonderful costume and wardrobe department. The costume designer, Sandy Powell, was the mastermind behind many of the spectacular costumes throughout this movie. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for best costumes. The costumes follow the style of the 19th century, and each character has their own particular color palette. The amazing use of colors and design in this movie encapsulates a lot of the magic which is intertwined with fairytales. However as amazing as these costumes were, there was backlash on Cinderella’s stunning beautiful blue ball gown for enforcing a negative body standards for young children. Lily James was on a liquid diet to fit into the corset for the dress, and it cinches her waist to a mear 17 inches. Many parents also criticized the amount of cleavage in the film, although I believe that may have been an exaggeration.
This version of Cinderella is lacking the wonderful musical songs element that the original Cinderella has, but still has a wonderful score. The music is still magical in and of itself. I appreciate the use of this movie’s lullaby, “Lavender’s Green Dilly Dilly.” This familiar nursery rhyme brings a sense of nostalgia to the movie. When listening, it’s almost too easy to imagine yourself in Cinderella’s glass slippers, dancing the night away or reminiscing about her family. This is just one of the many ways in which this film makes its characters and story more personable to its audience.
This version of Cinderella would be better suited for an older audience than the original Cinderella. This movie made my older teenage self excited to watch princess movies again, and brought a feeling of bliss throughout the movie. This movie is just the right length of time, and is a bit longer than the original. A slight warning: the extra time in the movie may explain some of its enhanced storylines, but be harder for younger children to follow. I highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a family friendly movie night, or a relaxed night on the couch. Watching the original Cinderella, and this one, would make for a terrific double feature and night of happily ever afters.