The Cinderella movie left me feeling like something was wanting. Like a shoe that does not quite fit.
“Now, now, you say”, pretty much like Cinderella’s mother, “Have courage and be kind.”
Okay I am going to do both.
I had watched the trailer. With much magic the fairy godmother turns Ella’s dowdy ballet flats into glass slippers!
Cinderella exclaims, “But these are made of glass!”
And the fairy godmother replies with aplomb, “And you’ll find them very comfortable!”
Now that’s a modern day fairy tale for me.
Brought up on large doses of fairy tales, I still love watching movies based on fairy tales! That part of me has not grown up I think. And most of these films respect the fact that a movie made for children will necessarily have a (maybe reluctant) adult audience. Most of these films therefore seek to amuse the adults while the children remain happily engaged.
I found Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella sadly lacking in that department.
A modern remake of Cinderella necessarily had to have some contemporary overtones. The statement of the fairy godmother about the glass shoes being comfortable was one. But it seemed to begin and end there. I just wish they would have added more. So much more.
The movie stretched in the first half. Just to establish the overarching statement from Cinderella’s mother: “Be kind and have courage”.I get that. I’m vacillating between both – kindness and courage as I write this. I will be kind, but I do have courage to say that the sugary sweetness of the film was almost bordering on large doses of aspartame.
The stepmother! Most of Cinderella is about the stepmother isn’t it? Yet, the stepmother is a somewhat insipid character sporting the latest makeup shades – her only misdeed after she moves in is that she loves partying! Cate Blanchett does do a fine job here but then that’s Cate for you, not the stepmother.
Her two daughters, somewhat like Alice’s Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (more Tweedle Dumb) could have been given smarter stupider lines, if you know what I mean. There could have been humour in dumb and dumber. Yet it ends with somewhat slapstick running around and fighting crassly.
The farmhouse setting for Cinderella’s home is idyllic, what with the adorable farm animals. Much could have been built around that. To be fair the four mice have been adequately portrayed – and the fat one does seem to love his cheese. The goose that goes honking to meet every arriving horse carriage is funny too.
But heigh-ho! There it stops. And you’re left wanting. More geese. More mice, even more lizards please? Oh yes, to be kind, the little touch of the lizard footman flicking his tongue for a passing fly was good. See? But that’s not enough.
I’ll be kind. I think the fairy godmother brilliantly redeemed not just Cinderella but even the film with her magic. The pumpkin outgrowing the greenhouse was unexpected and fun. I loved the glass slippers. I loved how they are ‘slipped’ in with large doses of humour from the fairy godmother. (Watch the trailer if you haven’t seen the film yet). And the bit of the carriage and the coachman and the footmen turning back to their original selves was very well done.
But here comes courage. The song! The song: the lullaby that Cinderella’s mother sang to her in her childhood. Nice touch. Nice lullaby. But nowhere else is she seen singing that song. Nowhere else is she even singing! Logic eludes me here. Something tells me that’s not the song Cinderella would be singing the day the prince arrived at her house. It’s neither happy nor sad. It’s a lullaby for God’s sake.
Yes, it’s a fairy tale. Yes, it’s for children. Yes. I’ve to be kind. But, the Cinderella film leaves you wanting. Wanting for more. More wit. More humour. More fun. More song. More animals and maybe…more time.
The clock striking twelve has left a lot of work undone, hasn’t it?
What did you think?
Haven’t seen the movie? Watch the trailer here!