The trailer was a mixed bag, one where the production values, music script and acting really impressed but it was also one that gave away too much and gave the impression that it was going to be too faithful to the 1950 animated film. This viewer found this film to be absolutely wonderful and easily the best of the live-action Disney classic make-overs.
It also compares extremely favourably with the animated film, with every ounce of its charm, heart and magic, which was my first Disney film and one of my most watched as a child. Still very fond of it now but is not a personal favourite anymore. The two versions have things that are done better than in the other, with the animated film having a quite creepy introduction(other than at the start) for Lady Tremaine, Cinderella's reaction to being locked in the attic being much more believable, the stepsisters being more loathsome and the hilarious interaction between the duke and the king and this film having less filler(a common criticism of the animated film),more back story for the characters and the characters being more expanded, especially the Prince who has much more to do and more of a personality and the beginning with Ella's parents. Both have huge amounts of charm, heart and magic, the characterisation of Lady Tremaine is about equal and the transformation sequence, which has always been my favourite part of the story, are brilliantly done in both versions, that in the animated version is one of Disney's most iconic scenes and here it is just magical.
Under review here is the 2015 live-action film. It's no surprise what's going to happen and how it's going to end if you're familiar with the original fairy tale and Stellan Skarsgard while funny and sinister felt a little underused. Other than that, it is a wonderful film with very little to complain about, it's also perhaps more accessible for most. The most obvious merit is the production values, the whole film looks absolutely exquisite, with beautiful photography, colourful scenery that are as delicious as a box of chocolates and while it's a bit early in the year to say it would be a hard act to follow for a film to have even better costume designs than the ones in Cinderella. Ella's blue ball gown is jaw dropping in how gorgeous it is. While I may slightly prefer the music in the animated film, which contains some of Disney's best, most memorable and best-known tunes, Patrick Doyle's music score matches the film's whimsical tone perfectly with a sparkling whimsy of its own without going overboard with the sugar and sweetness.
Cinderella(2015) has a witty script, with Lady Tremaine having the best lines and the story is beautifully told, faithful in detail and spirit to the story and the animated film but with some refreshing new touches of its own like the pre-ball encounter, what's done with the glass slipper and some of the climax that prevent it from being too faithful or like a carbon copy. The back-stories added a great deal with none of it feeling like filler, letting us to get to know the characters and bringing a psychological element in places. The highlight for me was the transformation scene, which was visually enchanting and enthrallingly done. The ball scene was great as well, with the opulent gowns and rich colours. Kenneth Branagh gives some of his best directing in some time, directing with classy style while bringing deep understanding and depth to the story and the film is very well acted, with the standouts being Lily James, with the charm and poignant emotion she conveys the role of Ella suits her like a glove, and an exceptional Cate Blanchett. Richard Madden is a dashing Prince, a role that you get to know much more than in the story and the fairy tale where he gets little to do, Anastasia and Drizella while perhaps a little too attractive look like they're having a lot of fun, Helena Bonham Carter has a ball as the Fairy Godmother and Derek Jacobi is very touching as the King. Oh and the animals are adorable, especially liked the goose.
All in all, a wonderful film that should please anybody who loves the fairy tale and the animated film. 9/10 Bethany Cox