Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Horse #12: Cinderella

DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. There is an audio version of this review HERE

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Around two years ago I read an interview with the head of Dreamworks, Jeffrey Katzenburg, where he outlined the studio’s plans for the next ten years or so. It was essentially this:

Two more Madagascar films. (the first of these has since come out)

Two more (at least) How to Train Your Dragons.

Five more Kung Fu Panda Movies.

The movie industry is, to put it mildly, in a state of panic. Its market share is shrinking in the face of competition from digital entertainment and television and it’s increasingly looking like it doesn’t really know what people want anymore. Adding to their problems, the only genres of movie that consistently generate buffo box office, (animated movies, superhero films, sci-fi/fantasy) are also damn expensive to make. Which is why, when one of those movies does well at the box office, it gets a sequel almost without exception.

Movie people are not bad people. They just want what we want: certainty. They just want to be sure that if they invest millions of dollars into a movie that they’re not going to be living out of a cardboard box by the time the box office receipts are tallied up. In the movie business, a willingness to take risks and be original, to gamble several fortunes of investors’ money on something that you have no way of knowing will be a success, to risk your reputation and your finances for a dream requires nothing less than balls of steel.

You rang?

Consider this. In the thirteen years between Snow White and Cinderella, the Disney studio had exactly one, slam dunk, unqualified, smash hit success: Snow White. Pinocchio and Bambi did good box office but were simply too expensive to make to be financially viable. Fantasia was an out-and-out flop. The rest were successes in large part because they were so much cheaper to make. But Snow White was the most successful movie released in 1938, making four times as much as it’s nearest rival. It went on to be the most successful film of all time until Gone with the Wind was released two years later. If the movie had been made today, three sequels, a prequel and a spin-off TV show called Dwarfs would already be in the works. But Disney refused to repeat himself, constantly telling new stories and pushing what could be done with animation while trying to keep the studio from going under. It was only in 1950, with his company being crushed by debt, that Disney finally decided to return to the fairytale formula that had worked so well for him thirteen years prior. Cinderella can in many ways be seen as a reboot of Snow White, and of the Walt Disney studio as a whole, as it tried to create a new model for feature-length animation that could be both artistically ambitious and financially viable. 

Is also searing indictment of bourgeois capitalist system.

Comrade Crow? Are we talking about the same movie?

Da. You shall see.

Da? You’re supposed to be Cuban, not Russian.

National boundaries are an invention of the capitalist elite. There is only the working class.

Fine. We being with the opening credits and…be still my heart…do we have…YES!!!!!

THOOOOOOOOOOR PUTNAAAAAAAAAM!

We begin with the typical Disney storybook opening and see Cinderella’s home, a tiny storybook kingdom beneath a great castle.

Look at the size of that village. And look at the size of that castle! How can such a small population support a castle that size? They are kept in a permanent state of starvation and poverty!

Ehhhhh….I think you might be reading a little too much into this. Cinderella’s kingdom is a magical storybook realm, not some kind of brutal dictatorship.

We shall see, tovarich.

So anyway, we are introduced to Cinderella and her widowed father…

Widowed. Suuuuuuure.

You can read my Pinocchio review for my theory on Cinderella’s parentage. Cinderella’s father loves her very much, but then he marries the Evil Stepmother and…

Okay. This is not Storytime with Unshaved Mouse. You all know the story of Cinderella. So let’s take a look at Cinderella herself. How does the second Disney Princess compare to the first?

If I had to sum up Cinderella in one word it would be…better. Like Snow White, she spends most of her time in a submissive domesticated role. The key difference is that Cinderella is trying to escape that. Snow White just starts cleaning and cooking for the dwarfs because she’s only a girl, silly. Cinderella, while mostly dealing with her domestic slavery at the hands of her stepmother and sisters with weary good nature, doesn’t like it. She clearly sees herself as deserving something more and better. Now, her method of escaping that is by getting hitched to the first eligible male that comes her way but still, baby steps people. Don’t get me wrong. We are still a long, long way from the awesome Disney female leads of the nineties.

Those of you lucky enough to have your lives, take them with you. However, leave the limbs you’ve lost. They belong to me now.

But Cinderella is definitely a step up. She has more of a personality than Snow White and it helps that voice actress Ilene Woods sounds far more pleasant and less grating than Adriana Caselotti (Snow White).

Something she shares with mating cats.

It also has to be said that Disney hadn’t forgotten how to realistically animate human characters. They used live actors as references for most of the scenes with Cinderella and the various human characters and it really paid off. There’s never a moment where Cinderella’s movement is stiff or unnatural. I’m singling this aspect of the animation out for praise because unfortunately, I don’t really like the movie’s animation as a whole.

Aw. I missed you too, boys.

I mean, yeah, it’s a long ways above something like Ichabod and Mr Toad. It’s certainly smooth and fluid but…I don’t know. Am I the only one who thinks the movie looks kind of…bland?

Partly it’s the colour scheme. It’s all soft pastels, light blues and pinks. Where’s the riot of colours of The Three Caballeros? The moody shadows of Pinocchio? The puppets of Fun and Fancy Free?

I TAKE IT BACK! I TAKE IT BACK!

And while the animation is technically very good it’s missing something. Pizzazz, I suppose.

Anyway, like Snow White Cinderella has an army of brainwashed animal slaves little helper friends. A flock of birds help her get dressed and make her bed and get washed and…this is our enslaved, put upon heroine? She’s got more servants than Daddy Warbucks!

We also meet…the mice.

Okay…probably the best way I can sum up the mice is with this simple equation.

This.

Plus this.

Equals this.

Heresy you say? Blasphemy? Fie! They suck. I’m not afraid to say it. They are AWFUL. Can’t stand them. The high-pitched sped up voices (seriously, that shit was the fifties equivalent of CGI, it was fucking everywhere and it wasn’t nearly as cool as Hollywood thought it was.), the cutesy-pie mispronunciation, the little smurf outfits…

These mice. These fucking mice. If I’m ever put into Room 101 it’ll be with a cage full of these little bastards strapped to my face.

“Cinderelly, Cinderelly, night and day it’s Cinderelly.”
“THERE ARE FIVE LIGHTS! FIVE LIGHTS!”

We’re introduced to the mice when the two above, Jacques and…friend, come to Cinderella to tell her that there’s a new mouse trapped in a mouse trap.

Cinderella of course goes to rescue this new mouse. And then she…puts clothes on him…and names him. She names him Octavius…

Yes. Truly the face of a Caesar.

…but decides to call him “Gus” for short. Gus. Short for Octavius.

I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

So. This is not so much a “rescue” as a “capture”. Cinderella gives him a new name, forces him to adopt a style of dress she believes appropriate and will presumably expect Kunta Kinte Gus to wait on her hand and foot like the rest of the mice. And it gets even more sinister when you ask yourself the question; who set that trap? The step-sisters? We do not see them do a single, solitary household chore throughout the entire movie. The step-mother? Doesn’t taking care of vermin seem like something she would consider beneath her?

Lady Tremaine does not want to set traps. Lady Tremaine wants to hunt.

Which leaves only one possible culprit…

Ah, a fresh victim for my ever-growing rodent army…

Yup. Cinderella is setting these traps so that she can build an army of brainwashed mouse slaves to kill her Step Mother, overthrow the King and rule the kingdom as the Mouse Queen!

CINDERELLY! CINDERELLY! BLOOD FOR CINDERELLY!

Okay, so much for our comic relief. What about our villain?

We first see Lady Tremaine veiled in shadow, fondling a despicable-looking cat and wait just a damn minute here…

Oh my God. Jean Chalopin, you whore!

And I know she’s often ranked as one of the greatest Disney villains of all time but…sorry I don’t agree. I mean, yes, she is great villain, definitely in the top twenty, but…she’s practice. She’s played by Eleanor Audley, who would later play Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty, and Lady Tremaine even resembles Maleficent in appearance. The problem is, Maleficent is possibly the greatest Disney villain of all time, and whenever I watch Cinderella I can’t help but feel that Lady Tremaine is just the rough prototype. There are flashes of diabolical brilliance, certainly, but also moments where she loses her temper and seems more petty than evil.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Lucifer, Lady Tremaine’s cat.

Most everyone is mad here.

Lucifer is the first of a character type that will appear in many more Disney movies, the evil sidekick to the main villain.

Yeah, the Evil Queen in Snow White had that crow, but he didn’t really do anything. 

More parasite than worker.

Lucifer is actually a fairly major character, with a large and active role in the story. And he spends most of his time tormenting the mice, so can we even call him a villain?

Okay, so having established Cinderella, the mice, Lucifer, the stepmother and the step sisters, the movie now shifts focus to the castle, where we are introduced to the King and his chief lackey the Grand Duke. 

The king is pissed because his wastrel son isn’t sowing his wild oats and siring grandchildren and…holy shit. Otto Von Bismarck, first chancellor of the German Empire?

Ja. Ja, I did ze Disney movie.

But why? You unified the German states and led them to victory in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870! You created Germany as we know it and established a peace in Europe that lasted until World War 1! Why would you need to appear in a Disney movie fifty-two years after your death?

Crack.

Aaaaaah. Say no more. Anyway, the King declares that he’s going to throw a ball for the Prince so that he can finally just pick a damn girl and start heiring already. The Grand Duke nervously agrees and from the way he acts it’s clear that he is absolutely terrified of the king.

Must have a nervous disposition. Or it might be something to do with having an axe thrown at him.

What’s more, the ball is to be that very night. And every eligible woman in the kingdom HAS to come. Not “is invited to come”, you’ll note. 

Now you see? True villain of movie is corrupt oligarchy.

Actually Crow? Yeah. This King is a complete monster. He just expects every woman in the kingdom to drop everything and be paraded in front of his son like Swaziland maidens during the Reed Dance (look it up).

Anyway back at the château, we hear the song Sing Sweet Nightingale, first being butchered for comic effect by the step-sisters and then sung straight by Cinderella as she scrubs the floor. There is a very pretty scene of Cinderella being reflected in the myriad bubbles while she sings. The song is not exactly one of the all time greats, but it is sweet and well performed by Woods. The order to attend the ball arrives and the step-sisters are excited to go because they don’t realise that they are ugly and therefore undeserving of happiness. Cinderella asks…actually, no. Cinderella demands that she be allowed go and it’s a very strong moment for the character. She points out to her stepmother that she is still a member of the family and that the decree is that EVERY eligible maiden attend the ball. Lady Tremaine, no doubt realising that the king would probably burn the house to the ground for the slightest disobedience, agrees. She tells Cinderella that she can go to the ball if she can finish her chores and find something appropriate to wear.

The Step-Sisters can’t believe this, but Lady Tremaine reminds them that she said “if”.

“If”. “If” is good.

Cinderella finds an old dress of her mother’s but before she has a chance to fix it up, the Step-Sisters call her away to do more chores, leaving the mice alone with the dress. And…no. No. You wouldn’t Walt. You couldn’t. You didn’t give them a song?

Cinderelly, Cinderelly…

WAAAALLLLLLT!!!

Ha. Enjoy your slow death, Mouse.

Godammit I can’t stand this song. I know, it’s probably the most famous from this movie, and probably the most loved but I just can’t take it. It’s the high-pitched Alvin and the Chipmunks voices. Can’t stand it. I’m not crazy about the lyrics either.

“Leave the sowing to the women!”

Aaaaand fuck you very much.

So anyway, the mice manage to find time in between reinforcing regressive gender roles to finish Cinderella’s dress by borrowing some of Drusilla and Anastasia…

Wait a minute. One of the step-sisters is called Anastasia? As in Tsarina Anastasia who was killed by the communists…

Da. At last you see movie’s true message.

Well, leaving any pro-Communist subtext aside, Jacques and Gus “liberate” some of the Step-Sisters cast-offs and it looks like Cinderella will get to go the ball. But Lady Tremaine casually points out the parts of the dress that are stolen and the step-sisters lose their shit, leaping on Cinderella, pulling her hair, tearing at her clothes, stripping chunks of fabric off her bare exposed flesh…

Giving into their animal instincts…pawing and screaming…

The step-sisters and Lady Tremaine leave Cinderella cold and shamed, lying naked on the floor…

Nothing’s right I’m torn!

She goes to the garden and cries, her seemingly indomitable optimism finally shattered. It is then that we are introduced to Cinderella’s “Fairy God” Mother. She’s voices by Verna Felton, who did quite a few roles for Disney and was a very versatile actress, sometimes playing warm, maternal figures like the “Fairy God” Mother and Flora in Sleeping Beauty, stern matriarchs like the Head Elephant in Dumbo, or out and out villains like the Queen of Hearts in Alice and Wonderland. She also played Fred Flintstone’s mother in law. 

It’s a living.

She comforts Cinderella, and like all guilt-ridden absentee parents she tries to win back her daughter’s love with a pimped out ride and some new clothes. She changes a pumpkin into a coach, the horse into a coachman, the mice into horses…

Horses don’t look like horses on film, you gotta use mice.

…and finally turns Bruno the dog into a footman which should be fine until she gets to the ball and he starts humping the other footmen to assert dominance.

Finally, she gives Cinderella her dress and glass slippers and warns her to be back before the stroke of midnight when the spell will break.

So your magic only lasts until midnight?

Yeah. Poor Pinocchio. He was a real boy for like twenty minutes.

Yeah. Poor Pinocchio. He was a real boy for like twenty minutes.

Cinderella arrives at the ball (and I have to mention the painted backgrounds in the palace here, they are simply gorgeous) and she and Prince Charming first lay eyes on each other.

Whoa. I’d produce issue with THAT!

They dance, and the King is delighted that his fiendish scheme to establish a dynasty of despots that will still be ruling the tattered remnants of humanity when the sun turns red and bloated is proceeding as planned. He tells the Duke that he’s going to bed, and that if the Duke doesn’t make sure that the Prince closes the deal with Cinderella, he will cut his frickin’ head off.  

Vas not in script. But I decided to make part a little more “Otto”.

As the Prince and Cinderella waltz the step-sisters and Lady Tremiane try to guess who she is but don’t recognise her.

Hm. Girls, ask Mr Kent or his friend Superman, they might know who she is.

Cinderella and the Prince sing So this is Love, and, I’m sorry, no it isn’t. You met five minutes ago. You should be singing, at most, I Just Met you (And this is Crazy). She doesn’t know he’s the Prince and is just about to kiss him when the clock strikes twelve and she has to hightail it out of there. Now, this is where it gets creepy. While trying to stop her from leaving, the Duke orders the castle gates to be shut, and when Cinderella’s coach gets through he sends the palace’s freaking army of Dark Riders after her.

Shire….Cinderelly…

What are they planning on doing? Dragging her back to the palace at swordpoint? Forcing her to dance, and smile and have fun on pain of death? 

The time is rotten ripe for revolution.

Cinderella evades the Nazgul and finds herself home. The “Fairy God” Mother’s spell has worn off but she still has one glass slipper because shut up that’s why.

Back at the castle, the King is asleep and happily dreaming of grandchildren riding him around like a pony.

“You realise, that image will be with me for the rest of my life?”

The poor Duke has to break it to the King their attempted unlawful imprisonment of Cinderella failed and the King then tries to kill the Duke with a sword because of course he does. But he calms down when the Duke tells him that Prince has sworn he will only marry the girl who fits the glass slipper that was left behind at the ball. The King then orders that every woman in the kingdom has to try it on. The Duke, because he’s not insane, points out that a shoe can fit more than one woman, but the King simply says that that’s the Prince’s problem and that he’ll have to marry one of them.

He’s getting SOMEONE pregnant, and you’d better hope it’s not you.

Back at the château, Lady Tremaine tells Anastasia and Drusilla that there is a chance that one of them could fit the slipper and bag the Prince. The two step-sisters excitedly start gathering up clothes for Cinderella to wash and prepare for them. But in a lovely moment Cinderella, realising that she’s about to get her ticket out of this hellhole, simply tosses the clothes back at them and walks out. Lady Tremaine finally realises just why the woman at the ball looked so familiar.

And that means Mr Kent is…CURSE YOU KAL-EL!

Lady Tremaine locks Cinderella in her room to prevent her from trying on the slipper, but she has not reckoned with the power of the Queen of Mice! The Duke arrives and Drusilla and Anastasia try desperately to force the glass slipper unto their massive, inhuman hind feet while Jacques and Gus manage to pickpocket the key from Lady Tremaine and drag it up to the tower where Cinderella is trapped. But Lucifer is guarding the door, and fights off all the mice like a goddamn boss. So they call in reinforcements from Cinderella’s dog Bruno, who chases Lucifer out the window where he falls to the ground below.

Better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven.

Cinderella gets out and runs down just as the Duke is leaving, but Lady Tremaine causes the glass slipper to smash so that Cinderella can’t try it on. Which would be a game-ender, except that Cinderella has the other slipper. 

Hey Stepmother! You like apples?

So the movie ends with Cinderella’s dream coming true: Marrying the only heir of an insane, despotic tyrant.

And they all lived happily ever after…

Cinderella is not a bad movie, not by any stretch of the imagination. But it does feel a lot safer than the Tar and Sugar movies. It really doesn’t reach for the same emotional levels that something like Bambi or Pinocchio did. It also seems to deliberately avoid the darkness that was so prevalent in those movies. This is Disney toned down, trying to satisfy the widest possible audience. And on that level, it certainly succeeded. This was a HUGE hit for Disney, their largest since Snow White. If Cinderella had failed, the Disney studio would not have survived the fifties. Thanks to its success, Disney was able to return to big, full length animated movies and build Disneyland. In that sense, it may well be the second most important Disney movie after Snow White. I have to respect it for that. But I don’t have to love it.

SCORING

Animation: 14/20

Technically excellent but at the same time somewhat bland.

The Leads: 09/20

An improvement on Snow White, but that’s ALL Cinderella. Prince Charming is every bit as bland and nondescript as…wait, was the Prince in Snow White also called Prince Charming? Was it the same guy?! THAT MAN SLUT!

The Villain: 16/20

Yeah, Lady Tremain’s fine. But she’s no Maleficent.

Supporting Characters: 08/20

Those fucking mice need to die. Lucifer is great. And I must admit a soft spot for the “Fairy God-” Mother.

Music: 10/20

Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo is actually the only song I would consider in any way memorable. In a good way.

FINAL SCORE: 57%

NEXT WEEK:

‘Twas brillig and the Unshaved Mouse,

Made Batman jokes amid the wabe,

Reviewed Alice in Wonderland,

And running gags were overplayed.

Neil Sharpson AKA The Unshaved Mouse, is a playwright, comic book writer and blogger living in Dublin. You can follow him on Twitter. The blog updates every Thursday. Thanks for reading!

34 comments

  1. As always, well played, Mouse. But no love for “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”? That song really carried over, both into the parks and onto the radio (he said, dating himself). Can’t wait to see what you do with the third installment in Uncle Walt’s princess trilogy. While I agree that Maleficent rocks (the only aspect of the Kingdom Keepers franchise I can get behind), the fact that Phillip and Aurora don’t talk after minute 47 always bugged me. Oh, and I buy your godmother hypothesis . . . Walt was pissed they didn’t make Cinderella’s godmother look more like the Blue Fairy . . . sooo . . . just sayin’.

    1. REALLY?! That’s fantastic, I never knew that! I think because I live in Ireland and never got to go to Disneyland may be the reason that I never really “got” “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”. Plus, the mice sing a reprise of it, so that’s kind of a dealbreaker.

  2. I think you are missing some points in this review. For one: How can you not compliment the use of the wide space by Blair? Everything, especially in the palace, seems to be gigantic.

    I agree and disagree about the mice. Since I have the advantage of being able to watch all Disney movie in at least two different dubbings, I can honestly say I enjoy them more in the German version, because the voices are less high pitched. Though they do take up a lot of room, it’s like two different stories in one movie. Something I put down to the animators still having trouble with realistic human animation. (btw, I guess Cinderella set up the trap on her stepmother’s orders, but made sure to use one which wouldn’t kill the mice).

    I loved this movie as a child, from an adult perspecitve it kind of shrinks compared to some other masterpieces. But its saving grace which makes sure that is still and always will be in my top twenty list is the fact that this movie doesn’t really take itself or the story it is based on serious. Like the duke, describing Cinderella’s and the Prince’s first meeting and then adds “this only happens in fairy tale”. Or later on, when he points out that the shoe will fit more than one girl.

  3. This is another good review, but I and say that I agree with a lot of it. I agree that Prince Charmig is a bland plot point, the mice are somewhat annoying, and the animation is a bit too light. I think that the songs are lovely, but maybe you think it’s too lovely (too soft). I think Lady Tremaine is complete bad assays Maleficent is overrated but to each their own. I disagree that Cinderella is not that emotional. When her dress gets ripped to shreds by Lady Tremaine manipulating her daughter and she runs off crying, I always felt for her because she did nothing wrong, and that is when everything was lost for her. She had the right to go, and that was taken away from her in such a sinister way. Again, great review.

  4. This was my favorite movie as a little girl. I nearly wore out the VHS tape. However, nowadays I prefer Snow White and Sleeping Beauty when it comes to the Walt-era “princess” films. While nostalgia makes me fond of Cinderella, it feels too bland and safe compared to the other two.

      1. Oh, you mean the fact that I’ve been posting links to your reviews on IMDb? No problem. I enjoy them so much, and I think more people should be reading them.

  5. One of the best reviews so far. That Bismark thing was hysterical

    ‘Ah, a fresh victim for my ever-growing rodent army…’

    Made me laugh so much

  6. I never did like Cinderella for years and reading what you said, I agree. It’s bland and safe. There’s no real central conflict. Probably because nothing much happens in the original fairy tale anyway. Snow White at least has the plot of the stepmother trying to murder the princess. Cinderella is just made to work because her stepfamily are mean. Disney likely realised that by the time Sleeping Beauty came along. The only real moment of emotional depth is when the stepsisters destroy the dress – that still freaks me out. Would you believe that one of the Cinderella sequels is actually quite good? The third film actually parodies and Lampshades a lot of the problems with this. Plus Cindy actually does a backflip out of a demonic pumpkin carriage and rides a horse to crash her own wedding.

  7. I like this well enough (despite not seeing it until I was eighteen), but acknowledge its flaws too.

    For instance, the same one you mentioned…the Prince is a total non-entity. He has what, THREE spoken lines? Would it have killed them to show some scenes with his father before the ball, instead of just having the King discuss his problems with the Duke? Rodgers and Hammerstein (in the various incarnations of their version) built up the Prince’s relationship with his parents, and The Slipper And The Rose fleshed out the Prince’s pre-Cinderella life wonderfully. (And went in an interesting direction AFTER he was reunited with her.) But jeez, we don’t even see the guy pining for the woman he loves, or taking part in the search for her!

    Plus, I can’t help but think what could have been when I hear the songs that didn’t make the cut. (They’re extras on the DVD; two of them are shown with their concept art.) “The Work Song” had an entirely different melody and words; it was sung by Cinderella, alternating between her daydreams of the ball and her wishes that there were more copies of her to do all the work (punctuated by her stepmother’s and stepsisters’ calls).

    There were other neat songs; the Prince had “The Face That I See In The Night” (although the first line on the DVD seems to be cut off), which he was to sing after Cinderella had fled. This would have made him a little more of an actual CHARACTER.

    But the crown jewel IMO was “Dancing On A Cloud,” which was to have been the Prince’s and Cinderella’s song for the ball. On the DVD, it’s presented by itself and with its absolutely GORGEOUS concept art of the couple dancing among the stars. I REALLY wish they’d used this instead of “So This Is Love,” which is rather bland and draggy compared to this, or R & H’s “Ten Minutes Ago,” or Slipper And The Rose’s “When He Danced With Me.” It would have been great to see this fully orchestrated and that beautiful concept art fully animated. The only drawback is that it sounded more like a Fred-and-Ginger song than an old-fashioned waltz, but the song’s so good that it could be overlooked.

  8. Uh-oh, did you just call animation a genre, Mr. Mouse? Watch who you say that to, some movie animators really don’t approve of that. I guess calling animation a genre would be kind of akin to calling live action movies a genre, or even calling stage plays or radio plays etc. genres. Animation is technically a medium, not a genre, but I digress. On to Cinderella.

    Though first let me just say that I love your constant appreciation of Walt Disney as being something of a hardcore player when it comes to filmmaking. And the way I see it, making sequels and reboots can really be as much as a risk as something completely new. There may be a good chance of attracting the same people you drew in the first time, but changing the canons of the stories your audience loves means a high risk of wrecking it. To paraphrase a memorable Cracked comment, “You say making a movie with Batman in it means people who like Batman will like it, but it is in fact likely that people who like Batman will hate it for not being true to their vision of the original Batman.” Though I guess really bad critic reviews and unpopularity with the viewers doesn’t mean much after raking in box office dough. But there is only so much one can make from sheer first-wave audience hype, isn’t there? The real moneymakers are the productions that get recommended by viewers who have already seen it, aren’t they?

    Ahh, good ol’ Comrade. Gotta love his communist comrade commentary. Especially along with the lampshading and hand (wing?) waving of his suddenly acting Russian.

    Heh heh, the ol’ mob’s back. But yeah, I’d have to say, I don’t think Cinderella’s animation was particularly memorably brilliant. I’d probably agree with you that while it likely was an important step towards later, more progressive movies (and keeping the studio paid off enough to make them), the movie itself is on the mild side. But then again, that’s only how I remember it; it’s been a while since I’ve actually given Cinderella a watch myself.

    The lampshade hanging of how Cinderella actually has it pretty comfortable in terms of having manual aid for herself is pretty funny. And the theory that Cinderella is actually capturing rodent slaves probably makes the movie times more interesting than its blanket plot. It’s especially interesting seeing as it appears to be completely sound. Also, gotta love Roots references. But that ultimate plot though… I wonder if it would end in her rodent army facing against an army of Nutcrackers in a battle for… Wait a minute! That must be why the Nutcracker doesn’t show up in the Nutcracker suite in Fantasia! It all makes sense now!!!

    Poor guy didn’t even get to be a real boy.

    I also agree with you on Tremaine. I was actually really surprised that Doug Walker put her so high in the ranks of Disney Villains (ahead of Frollo!) I mean, yeah, I guess she’s a domestic abuser, which one might put ahead of evil wizard or something due to that being something scary that actually exists in the real world, but still, we’re not even talking taking-lives level evil. Though as you said with Cinderella herself, she’s at least pretty important for warming up for more memorable villains like Malificent.

    Cool, first Otto Von Bismarck appearance! I did always think Disney was highly lacking in German representation. Also, Reed Dance? Isn’t that a piece that plays in the Nutcracker? Why does that suite seem to constantly be brought up here?

    Ahh right, the old “beauty equals goodness” trope. Yeah, I’m glad that’s mostly seen as archaic now, though it still does have a slight lingering impact. Though yeah, the stepsisters are pretty obviously supposed to be unsympathetic because they let their mother push Cinderella around and are all-around brats themselves, but still. It actually seems kind of strange in hindsight that Tremaine would actually disobey the king’s orders just to spite her stepdaughter. Especially considering how getting on his bad side means real trouble. Makes you wonder why she hates her so much. Maybe she’s prejudiced against her for being a half-fairy lovechild? Sounds plausible, really, maybe fairies are kind of her answer to gypsies for Frollo.

    Also, Hercules quote for the win! That was just so perfect too. Pain and Panic even match the stepsisters’ dresses! Also, Lost references, that was funny. Kind of ironic they’d throw in a line to the song about female roles in a movie like this, but then again, I guess Cinderella isn’t necessarily against female roles in and of themselves. At least it was the female mouse that suggested that in a “let the experts handle this” sort of tone. I’m honestly not that much of a hater of Chipmunk speak, and don’t even mind listening to a song or two of them, but that’s just me. If it’s any consolation to you, the mice don’t get it too nicely from anyone. When the Fairy Godmother decides to magic everyone up, she lets the horse actually be on the other end of the transportation business for a change and lets him drive, but the mice? No, they just get literally saddled with being beasts of burden for Cindy. The poor things can’t catch a break, it seems.

    Dang, you know Disney’s not to be messed with. He actually pre-emptively gave a sub-villain character the name of the star of a Bluth film that wasn’t even in conception at the time. Now THAT’S what I call an elaborate Take-That.

    Your quips are a real laugh. The suggestion that an annoying pop song wouldn’t be out of place at all in a classic Disney film was a great chuckle. Also, ruling in hell sure is nice, Lucifer, go tell Panchito that, I think he’ll appreciate it.

    I always seem to remember the one most memorable “feels” moment in the movie for me was that moment the shoe broke and the Duke was just completely distraught about it. I guess I’ve always had weird sympathy habits when it comes to fictitious stories. I don’t remember being gutted when Mufasa died when I was little, but according to my parents, Timon and Pumbaa’s bursting into tears after Can You Feel The Love Tonight got me bawling every time. But still, I guess that was a real rough moment for the guy. He knew that he was in all likelihood going to get slaughtered probably brutally, and all for the spite of a mean old fairy-halfbreed-hating lady.

    So yeah, I’d probably agree on your verdict that Cinderella was safe, making it a less interesting movie, but a likely necessary one. Also, your putting “fairy god” in constant quotes was funny. I agree that Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo is the most memorable song. I think it’s got the only Cinderella quote ever used in my household.

    Hey, weren’t the stepsisters’ eyes eaten by birds in the original story? Hey, Comrade, did Tsarina eyeballs taste as sweet as you expected them to? Also, I wonder if Pinocchio ever tried to get revenge on his maybe-kind-of sister for the offing of his Russian semi-brother. Something tells me he wouldn’t have been much of a supporter of the Axis alliance.

    Great review, I think it says something that you managed to make this vaguely Milquetoast movie’s review as much of a laugh as you did. Nice going as always.

    1. Why thank you very much. I’ll be honest, the medium/genre thing has always been hazy to me. I suppose you’d more accurately call it a “sub-medium” of the medium of film. I do think that full length animated films (as supposed to simply “animation”) constitute a genre.

  9. I think I have to defend this movie after this not so kind review. Let’s start with Cinderella herself. To me, she is by far the best of the three “classic” Disney princesses. She is never as annoyingly sweet and naive as Snow White, and she actually has a personality unlike Aurora. And I also think that Lady Tremaine is a fantastic villain. She proves that you can be an effective antagonist even without having magic powers, or even trying to actually kill someone.
    So I don’t find this movie to be bland or safe at all…

  10. Have to say, this review is somewhat harsher than I’d expect, though I can see why this is the case. Prince Bland and n real effort made to explain why they were they way they were – something the 2015 Live-Action remake at least covered to its credit.

    Those Mice took up 60 of the 74 minutes of the movie, frankly, it’s not unreasonable to argue that it was more about them with some Cinderella tossed in on the side. And yes, I did find the high-pitched sped-up voices to be rather annoying, hence why when they were made the horses I wasn’t upset as it kept them silent, leaving Major (the horse) to handle the reins. Okay.

    As for Lady Tremaine? She worked as a villain for me because she had no supernatural powers, or titles of power. All she had was power over one woman. Which she milked for all it was worth. Managing to keep her under her thumb without a single act of physical violence upon her by herself, leaving her own daughters to conduct the deed in a manner eerily reminiscent of Rape.

    To close off, the 2015 remake I mentioned, How do you plan on covering that? If at all? Compare/Contrast? By itself?

    1. That is one of the most common complaints about this movie: we see too much of the mice and too little of the prince. But that is what worked for the animators in 1950 (who seem to have been scared of drawing handsome young men), I’m afraid.

  11. “Horses don’t look like horses on film, you gotta use mice.”
    I thought you had to tape a bunch of cats together.

  12. Most of the time I don’t feel bright enough to read this blog and yes, I had to look up the Reed Dance! I love your sense of humor. It makes your post so enjoyable.

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