Cinderella - This Movie Fairy Tale Rocks
Dir: Kenneth Branagh
Starring Lily James. Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgard, Derek Jacobi
Despite obviously being a move from animated classic to live action classic-to-be, it’s refreshing to see a so-called reimagining/reboot that cleaves so strongly to the simplicity and basic story telling of its original source – and by this we mean both the classic fairy tale and the 1950s Disney take on it. For Branagh’s new take on Cinderella is very enjoyably old fashioned, bar one or two nods to former sexism. And by looking back it manages to remain remarkably fresh.
You all know the story – and it’s well delivered here. Branagh goes for broad sweeps, deliberately designed to embrace the young as well as just about all others. As a director, the man has always had a strong (and under-valued) visual sense and here he relishes the scope of a fairy tale world, making great use of Dante Ferretti’s brilliant production design, taking delight in playing with the transformation moments, pushing Patrick Doyle’s beautiful score to the fore and, as ever with the actor-director, eliciting great performances from his cast. Bonham Carter is (as we would have expected) the perfect slightly batty Fairy Godmother, Skarsgard is a great foil as the slightly nefarious Duke, Madden is a walking hunk of beef, and Cinders herself, well what we can say – James is simply translucently beautiful and perfectly engaging. Both innocent and beguiling, knowing and yet still registering as an open nerve when required, she is the perfect Disney princess. In the modern sense of that phrase.
Branagh plays the simple-is-best card here. And guess what? Sometimes, simple is best. And boy, does that man know how to film an entrance!
A Frozen short precedes the main feature and is little more than another fairly average song with some snow added. And in this case, a loose story that seems to hinge on what we can only perceive to be snot brought to life.
It’s fine, but this is really a case where the main feature is the reason to be in the cinema. And what a fine reason it is.
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