Cinderella: Disney remake lacks magic

Cinderella: Disney remake lacks magic

Gavin Gaddis

Cinderella is long but… harmless.

In an effort to keep up with a post-Frozen world of Disney films, a modern era where two people can’t marry after fifteen minutes of conversation, Cinderella shifts focus off of the titular character.

This update to the Disney animated film re-frames the story to give the Prince (Richard Madden of Game of Thrones) as much character development as Cinderella herself.

Actually, I take that back, Cinderella has no actual character development. She starts out as a child being told an important lesson by her dying mother, then she lives that lesson.

While I enjoy a female character that isn’t at the mercy of those around her, Cindy never has to question her beliefs. Cinderella spends, at most, four real-world minutes not believing in magic.

Kenneth Branagh directs this star-studded re-make, but you’d never know.

His experience directing some of the greatest plays ever written shows through in one small moment: when a wicked stepsister atrociously sings while playing piano. A careful ear will detect that she’s butchering the opening song from Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing.

The King (Derek Jacobi) quickly became my favorite character of the film.

His staunch belief that the Prince must marry a princess is gradually changed after seeing his son truly happy after having met Cinderella. The King actually loves his son – a far cry from most movie monarchy purely obsessed with cash and titles.

Cate Blanchett’s performance as the Evil Stepmother was a scenery-chewing delight. Both she and Bonham-Carter’s (The Fairy Godfather) must be on contract with Disney, as they seem to constantly appear in roles far beneath their talents. Yet in these roles, both actresses take advantage and over-act as much as they possibly can. Blanchett even goes as far as to sternly wag her finger at Cinderella when forbidding her to attend the ball.

British comedian Steve Coogan appears in a three-minute cameo sequence that serves more to excitedly point out that Steve Coogan is in the film telling unfunny jokes than to advance the plot.

Cinderella’s costumes are beautiful individual, but when all on screen at the same time, they appear to be from a different film entirely. Disney’s normally excellent color choices are abandoned for Cinderella’s “someone ran into the Downton Abbey costume department with a crate full of color bombs” aesthetic.

In essence, Disney tried to match the color palate one might find in a cartoon, but forgot to consider the fact that their beautifully constructed sets were all in realistic earth tones.

The movie is over two hours long and sure feels every minute. While peppered with memorable performances by Robb Stark – I mean Richard Madden – Blanchett, Jacobi, Skarsgard and Bonham-Carter, the brief scenes exist entirely to further the plot into the next expected scene from the actual Cinderella tale.

A constellation of talent was thrown at the revival of a classic story, only to find that no amount of A-list celebrities can fix a tired script. If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage.