Cinderella (2015)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Lily James in Cinderella (2015)

Imperfectly Perfect

Following the unexpected death of her father (Ben Chaplin), young Ella (Lily James) finds herself forced to work as a maid for her cruel stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her two stepsisters. But despite being treated as a servant Ella is able to make the most of her situation, showing gratitude for the things she has and befriending the creatures who live in the attic. When an invitation arrives to a palace ball it gives Ella hope that she might meet again a dashing stranger (Richard Madden) who she met in the woods, but her stepmother prevents her from going. Help arrives in the form of a stranger who has a magic touch for ordinary things.

It is said that when Walt Disney made "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" there were between 570 and 750 people working on it with most of them being animators. Whilst technology may have advanced over the years I have a feeling that some things don't change and imagine that the team behind the look of "Cinderella" was hundreds, many more than those who got a mention in the credits. I say this because this fairytale from Disney is a movie dominated by its look from the way certain colours stand out to the way the shadows on Ella's chest and shoulders move when she takes a deep breath. It literally feels like after they finished filming the movie, I imagine spending ages to get the movement of the camera just right, they then poured over every single frame of the movie to make sure it looked right down to the individual hairs on a character's head.

Cate Blanchett in Cinderella (2015)

The thing is that whilst visually "Cinderella" is impressive it feels a little too perfect and it ends up at times dominating the movie, distracting you from the storyline which is an elaboration on the familiar story of Cinderella which many of us will know. And it is a good version of the story because the embellishments, those little differences make you sit up and pay attention as without them this would have been little more than an art project.

Now there is the acting and both Lily James as Ella and Cate Blanchett as the cruel stepmother certainly play their parts well with Blanchett in particular delivering that classic evil nature of the character. But like with the look being too perfect the dialogue and in particular the delivery of it is too perfect and again I wonder whether every single word and sound effect in this movie was examined under a microscope during post production and enhanced or altered to be just right.

What this all boils down to is that this version of "Cinderella" is a very good version and the sort of movie which I can understand would appeal to the masses. But for me the attempt to make this visually stunning ends up dominating the movie with it ending up feeling over produced which for me spoils the natural charm of the fairytale.


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