One of the greatest mysteries for me right now is how Cinderella managed to get a critic rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes; and certified fresh, no less! Generally I agree with most critical looks at films, but this one baffles me. In case there’s any question, no, I didn’t like the movie.
The animated movie gets a bad reputation for being this archaic stereotype of gender roles, and that might be true. It’s important to remember that those were the times. Really, that is the most important thing we need to remember when making a 2015 adaptation of the film. While the animated Cinderella is quite passive, she might as well be Sarah Conner compared to what we’re presented with here. 2015 Cinderella is dull and extremely uninteresting. They could have replaced her with a cardboard cutout and called it a day. I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.
On top of this, we’re reminded that strength comes from having courage and being kind. If you think the, “With great power…” line is overused in Spiderman, well then hold on to your butts. I shit you not, some variation of the line, “Have courage and be kind” was repeated at least 15-20 times. I lost count after 10. And kindness can be a strength, I’m not arguing that. Despite the animated version’s passiveness, her kindness to everything certainly helped her out in the end. There’s this nice dynamic between her and her animal friends where she helps them out, and they help her out. And that’s another thing that’s missing: the mice.
Oh sure, they’re in there, but not like the animated movie. They serve little purpose outside of just being there because the original had them. The dynamic between Cinderella in the original and the mice serves as a nice contrast to Cinderella and her step-relatives. You see, the mice serve Cinderella, while Cinderella serves her step-family…but the mice do it willingly because Cinderella is kind to them. She saves them from Lucifer, rescues them from traps, makes them clothes, feeds them, etc. We see almost none of that in this entire film. So, if you remove that aspect, what are you really left with? Nothing.
The final act of the movie is what really gets me. Cinderella gets locked in the attic so she can’t have the glass slipper put on. That happens in both films. The difference here is key though. In the original, Cinderella doesn’t take that shit. She’s pounding on the door, she commands the mice to get the key and get her out. She doesn’t want to be there. In the new film, Cinderella does nothing to try and escape. She just quietly sits there and mopes about. Even when the royal guard does arrive, she doesn’t bother to look out the window to see who it is because she assumes they not there for her. I’m not joking, the narrator literally says that exact line! All seems lost too, until the mice open up the window. Then she starts singing a depressing song, and by happen-chance, the royal guard hears her and decides to investigate. What a load of bullshit.
This Cinderella also has some bizarre free reign of the house and town too, yet she makes zero attempts to lave her life behind because… reasons. The reason has to do with the house being a memory of her parents, but I call bullshit? She leaves the house anyway to marry the prince, so what does it actually matter? It doesn’t. The movie’s idea of showing that Cinderella works hard is, I swear, making her step-family breakfast once or twice, throw a little soot on her face, and that’s it. At least the other film made it seem like she slaved all day. It sure is convenient that, throughout the whole movie, that dress she wears never gains a spec of dust or soot. It remains bright eye-piercingly blue throughout the whole movie.
I don’t know, the whole movie seems like a step backwards. You’d think that a remake would add a few things and improve upon the story. Instead, we’re given this lackluster film that manages to take stuff away from the story. The additions they do add are pointless and add nothing to the film. The beginning does focus on what happens to her parents… but did you really need to know? They’re dead, what more do you need? They both also die of “plot advancement” disease, so you never actually know what was wrong with them. So, it adds nothing. I feel zero sympathy for anyone in this film. Everyone’s kind of flat and two-dimensional. Like I said, they could have replaced Cinderella with a cardboard cutout and slapped a “have courage and be kind” sticker on her forehead.
I’m also realizing just how terribly stupid it is to scour the countryside looking for one woman by trying to match a glass shoe to the foot. It sure is convenient that absolutely no one else has the same shoe size. Not one single person. What if it had? That would have made things more interesting. That’s another thing too, the entire royal guard ALL saw what Cinderella looked like. They ALLLL know she’s this pretty little blonde girl, but they waste their time trying the shoe on every woman. Why? She’s the only blonde girl in the entire film too. None of it makes any sense. Maybe it did in the days of Aschenputtel, but not now.
It’s just a terrible film. Show your kids the original and explain that if you’re kind and make friends, maybe they’ll want to help you out. They only message they’ll get from this is, “If I sit around and do nothing long enough, maybe something good will happen.” Great message there, Disney!
See, even Lily James wants to get the fuck away from Disney.