“Hey Mouse, what do you think about all these live action Disney remakes?” is a question I have never been asked because I am a relic of the 2010s internet and have been irrelevant to fandom discourse for quite some time.
But if they did ask for those opinions, boy, do I have opinions! Nuanced and interesting opinions? Not really, by and large I think they’re hot garbage at best and actually morally reprehensible at worst.
I hate the whole scene, man. I hate the lazy nostalgia milking. I hate the rehashing of old songs and characters in ways that are always inferior to the originals (the 2016 Jungle Book is, I admit, a pretty fine movie but I’ll be deep in the cold ground before I say it’s an improvement on the ’67 cartoon.). I am real sick of Disney cynically trumpeting minor gay characters whose presence would have been real daring thirty years ago to earn gushing publicity. And I really hate that the biggest entertainment company in Western history is apparently unable to understand the simple fact that just because a character is a great villain doesn’t make them a great protagonist. In fact, it means the opposite of that.
That said…I’ll admit the announcement of 2015s Cinderella provoked a lot less bile and profanity to gush forth than it usually would. Mostly that’s a lack of skin in the game. The 1950 Cinderella is a film with which I am on perfectly cordial terms, but it’s not and never will be as important to me as something like The Little Mermaid or The Lion King. Plus…it’s Cinderella, you know? The Disney Cinderella may be the most famous film version but it’s certainly not the definitive version, because there isn’t one and never will be. Cinderella is one of the absolute pillars of world folklore, with versions spanning thousands of years across the breadth of Europe and Asia. And there have been Cinderella movies as long as there has been film. The earliest version I found was from 1913 (called, hilariously “A Modern Cinderella”). Cinderella has been played by everyone from Julie Andrews to Brandy to Betty Boop to Jerry Lewis. It’s a timeless story that’s remained popular despite decades of bad, pseudo-feminist critique (the story is not, and never has been, about marrying a prince. It is, and always has been, about escaping poverty and domestic slavery). So, whatever, I say. Disney want to make another Cinderella movie? Fine.
I am willing to acknowledge this movie’s right to exist, Disney. All you gotta do is make a good movie.
Here’s a question. How much narration does a movie about Cinderella need? I would argue very, very little, if any. True, most versions of the story will be aimed at young children so it might not hurt to have a little soothing voiceover at the beginning to set the scene. But the amount of wittering that the Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) does throughout this joint leaves me with the inescapable conclusion that either the screenwriter or the director did not trust the audience to follow the plot of Cinderella. Why would you think that, Kenneth Branagh?
So the movie introduces our heroine as a baby and is at pains to tell us that she had “no rank, no title, no crown”. It then pans away to show us the palatial rural mansion where Cinderella lives with her father and mother.
Little Ella is sweet and kind and ever so wonderful and her mother teaches her to look after all animals just as fairy godmothers look after human beings. Ella asks her mother if she believes in fairy godmothers and she replies that she believes in everything. Which…that’s a fucking terrifying thing to hear anybody say.
By the way, Hayley Atwell’s bleached eyebrows will haunt me to my dying day, so there’s that. So, during a fairly long and heavily narrated sequence that could have been done in half the time with twice the impact with a wordless montage, Ella’a mother comes down with a terminal case of Disneymomitis and kicks the bucket, pausing only to tell her darling daughter to have courage and be kind and probably something about Freemasons.
Flash-forward a few years and Ella has grown into Lily James and her father tells her that he’s fallen for the lovely widow of Lord Francis Tremaine.
Anyone remember that Robin Hood movie from back in 2010? I remember a great line from a review about Cate Blanchett’s performance as Maid Marian: “She looks like a Master Carpenter who’s been asked to assemble an IKEA table”. Let me not mince words. This movie is bland as all hell. It’s not terrible, but it’s so depressingly rote and minimum effort competence that it almost feels like it’s terrible. But there are moments when you see the much better movie that this could have been and I do not think it a coincidence that virtually all those moments involve Madame Blanchett. The scene where Lady Tremaine first arrives at the manor, her face covered with a great black hat that resembles the snout of a shark is excellently done.
You really get the sense of a predator entering a completely defenceless space. Everything about this scene, the staging, the lighting, the cinematography and of course the presence of Blanchett herself is leagues ahead of the movie surrounding it.
Anyway, Ella meets her new stepmother and we get a really nice exchange that sums up Lady Tremaine’s character perfectly.
TREMAINE: You did not tell me your daughter was so beautiful!
ELLA’S FATHER: Oh, she takes after her…
LADY TREMAINE. Her mother. (icy pause) Just so.
And it’s not the terrifying smile that makes it work. It’s not the hatred in her eyes before she throws up the mask. It’s the hurt. It’s the knowledge that she will always be second best to this man that you see just for a moment. It is phenomenal acting. First rate. By GOD I wish it was in a better movie.
Having unwittingly made a blood enemy for life, Ella also meets her Conventionally Attractive Step Sisters because they are ALWAYS Conventionally Attractive Step Sisters. I don’t think there have ever been actually Ugly Step Sisters in a live action Cinderella Movie (I imagine it’s a difficult role to cast).
Ella’s father goes away on a business trip and Lady Tremaine manipulates her into giving up her room and moving into the attic. And, because her mother taught her to always be kind, she just goes along with it.
Now, here’s a question. What does a modern audience want from a Cinderella movie? Now, speaking for myself, I know what I don’t want. I don’t want Cinderella re-imagined as some kind of asskicking girlboss because, y’know, the story doesn’t happen. It’s not Cinderella anymore. And, I’ll admit, in this era of constant re-imaginings, re-inventions and re-bootings there is something very appealing about a movie that says; “We’re doing a classic Cinderella movie. That’s it. That’s the pitch.” All well and good.
But, because an hour-and-three-quarters live action film is supposed to have more character development than a 74 minute cartoon, they obviously were going to have to deepen the character of Cinderella and what they went with is frankly weird and a little worrying. Now, I’m not going to claim that Cinderella 1950 is some kind of radical feminist masterpiece (that’s the other one) but Cinderella in that movie is not the smiling doormat she’s often painted as. I always took her as more of a quiet, resilient soul who knew she was in an awful situation but found her joy where she could and refused to let her spirit be crushed. And yeah, it’s not the most dynamic character but I think there is a kind of heroism in that. Cinderella 2015 though…is kind of heart-breaking. Because she’s smiling and singing as she’s slowly turned into a domestic slave by Lady Tremaine because her darling mother basically told her to always just smile and do whatever she can to make other people happy. To the point that she seems less stoic and patient and more…unhinged. And yeah, I guess I am saying that Cinderella 1950 has more agency than a movie made in the second decade of the 21st century. And you may do with that information what you will.
Ella’s father dies on the way back to his home planet, and so the family are thrown into near financial ruin.
To cut costs, Lady Tremaine fires the servants and replaces them with Ella. When it’s cold, Ella sleeps in the cinders of the fire, which leads to the following dialogue.
DRUSILLA: I’ve got a knew name for her! Cinder-wench!
ANASTASIA: Oh! “Dirty-ella”!
Distraught, Ella saddles a horse and rides off into the forest where she encounters a stag, who she helps escape from some hunters. We get another example of the movie’s addiction to superflous narration as the fairy godmother solemnly opines that “perhaps it was fortunate that Ella’s sister’s were so cruel, for if she had not run into the forest, she would not have met the prince”. Which firstly, yikes. And secondly, exactly what information is being imparted here? We know we she ran into the forest, we just saw it. And we know this guy is the Prince because who the fuck else is it going to be, Sebastian the crab?
Anyway, “Kit” is played by Richard Madden who, unbeknownst to Ella, is actually the Prince. Cate Blanchett may be the best thing in this movie, but Madden is actually the one element that I’d actually consider an improvement on the original. Granted, that’s not saying much. The Original Prince Charming is the blandest of all the bland Disney princes and it’s not even close. But Madden’s cut a niche for himself giving depth and gravitas to “generic handsome dude #1” and I do genuinely like his work here. Anyway, his heart is immediately one by her simple peasant girl purity and he returns home to the palace to tell his father the King, played by Derek Jacobi. Jacobi, like Blanchett, is also assembling IKEA furniture with the hand of a master but, dammit, there’s only one Otto Von Bismarck.
Anyway, the King this go round has been diagnosed with Disneydaditis and wants to see his son matched up and pumping out heirs before he goes to the big burger restaurant in the sky. To that end, he commissions a portrait of his son to be sent to all the marriageable princesses of Europe who will be invited to a ball. Kit asks why he can’t just marry a simple country girl and the Grand Duke (Stellan Skarsgard, dutifully assembling a Hurdal) asks how many divisions such a country girl would bring to help secure the nation. That’s right children, this monster has an understanding of royal marriage in the pre-industrial period based in logic and the politics of the time!
As a compromise, Kit agrees to the ball on the condition that everyone in the kingdom is also invited. And I’ll give credit for a nice little piece of characterisation here; the Duke doesn’t splutter indignantly at the idea of commoners coming to the palace. His reaction is “awesome, great PR move, everyone’s happy, let’s do it”. It makes him come across as a more nuanced and pragmatic villain, I dig it.
So, guess who I haven’t mentioned at all yet? The mice. You know, the characters who get probably more screentime in the original movie than any other character barring Cinderella herself?
So you might assume that this means that they’re not in Cinderella 2015. Well no, they are, but their parts and role in the story have been trimmed down to basically nothing and that (in my opinion) ends up hurting the movie in quite a big way. Gather around children, and I will demonstrate how one seemingly minor change can weaken your story dramatically.
Now, I never really liked the mice in the original movie. In fact, as a rodent, I find the portrayal deeply offensive. But, let me refresh your memory on one point. The Tremaine ladies are informed of the ball and Cinderella insists that she be allowed to go too. Lady Tremaine agrees that she can go, as long as she completes her chores, and then ensures she is worked so hard that she has no time to prepare her dress. But then, exhausted and dejected, she goes upstairs to the attic and sees this:
So suddenly she goes from weary resignation to euphoric joy. In gratitude for her kindness to them, her friends have worked through the night to ensure that yes, she shall go to the ball. Yes, she shall have one damn night of happiness. Yes, for once, she gets to win. So when you go from that euphoric height to THIS:
The cruelty and the unfairness of it hits so much harder. And when we finally end up HERE:
It feels earned and then some. By contrast, 2015 Cinderella never has that moment of reversal and euphoria. She just makes the dress herself, with a little help from the mice. I guess they were concerned that the mice making the dress for her makes Cinderella seem passive but I would have kept it unchanged. Anyway, Tremaine and the step-sister tear her dress a little (it is so tame compared to the original) and flounce off to the ball. Distraught, Cinderella runs outside into the garden where she meets Sheev Palpatine, Galactic Emperor and Dark Lord of the Sith.
Palpatine asks her for some milk and Cinderella of course, gets some, which causes Palpatine to transform into the Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter). Okay you know the drill; Pumpkin, Coach, Lizards, Footmen, Mice, Horses, Glass Slipper, you shall go to the ball. We don’t get “Bippity boppity boo” but we do get awful rubbery CGI so who’s the great movie-maker now, Walt?
Cinderella arrives at the place and confides to one of the lizard footmen that she’s nervous and he replies something on the lines of “I’m a lizard forced into a human body struggling to cope with thoughts and emotions literally too alien and advanced for me to comprehend, fucking suck it up”. Here the movie makes the classic mistake of introducing a minor character far, far more interesting and compelling than the protagonist.
At the ball, Cinderella meets up with Kit and is shocked to learn that he is actually the Prince. He assumes that she’s actually a Princess because she has a beautiful dress and all her teeth and she notably does not correct him which is shady as fuck. The clock strikes 12 and Cinderella has to amscray out of there but she leaves her…sigh…glass slipper behind…you know all this, WHY AM I RECAPPING THE BEST KNOWN STORY IN THE OLD WORLD?
Okay, let’s talk about something new. Cinderella arrives home and hides her one glass slipper under the floorboards of the attic. But Lady Tremaine realises that she was the mysterious princess and finds the slipper. We now get a monologue that is one of the better pieces of writing in the script, and which Cate Blanchett just knocks out of the park, showing us how Lady Tremaine sees herself as the tragic, perpetually wronged heroine of her own story. Lady Tremaine now offers Cinderella a deal; she will support her in her efforts to marry the Prince as long as she (Tremaine) gets a position in the royal court and good marriages for her daughters. Cinderella refuses, rather stupidly if you ask me. And Tremaine smashes the slipper.
Now, I have talked a lot of trash about this movie but this is genuinely good stuff. The movie banks on your familiarity with the original and knows that you know that that movies is resolved with…
By talking the second slipper off the board early, the movie creates tension. How is Cinderella going to get out of this?
Very easily, as it will turn out, but that’s not the point.
Another strong scene, Tremaine travels to the palace to confide in the Duke and succeeds in negotiating a title for herself and marriages to eligible men for her daughters in exchange for her silence on the matter of the Prince falling in love with a filthy peasant girl. Really nice little bit of dialogue here:
Grand Duke: You’ve spared the kingdom a great deal of embarrassment.
Lady Tremaine: And I should like to keep it that way.
Grand Duke: Are you threatening me?
Lady Tremaine: (with just the sweetest smile) Yes.
And the Duke’s reaction is just to laugh gently at how well she’s playing the game.
Kit is now King after his father passes on, and commands that every woman in the kingdom try on the slipper so that he can find Cinderella. Tremaine locks Cinderella in the attic while the step-sisters try and fail to put the slipper on and Disney once again omit the part where they cut their feet in half to make them fit because apparently that’s “awful” and “traumatising”. Pff. Oh, what happened to the studio that shot Bambi’s mother in front of us and licked the very tears from our faces? You ruin everything, millennials.
Anyway, just as the Duke and the Captain are leaving, the mice open the window to the attic which allows everyone to Cinderella singing the old English lullaby Lavenders Blue. Fun fact, this is actually the second Disney movie to use this particular song after So Dear to My Heart all the way back in 1948. And I will concede, Lily James has a beautiful singing voice. The Captain wants to investigate but the Duke is all, nah, it’s just the pipes singing wistful lovelorn dirges and then one of the soldiers takes off his hat and , oh shit look who it is…
The King orders this mysterious maiden to be brought forth and brought forth she be. They recognise each other and leave arm in arm. Cinderella stops only to tell her step-mother that she forgives her. However, the narrator is quick to tell us that “Forgiven or not, Cinderella’s stepmother and her daughters would soon leave with the Grand Duke, and never set foot in the kingdom again” which…yeah, that’s code for “they were all fucking hanged” and you can’t convince me otherwise.
And they all, as the saying goes, lived happily ever after.
There have definitely been worse atrocities committed by Disney against their own properties. It’s not the worst live action remake, but for the most part it’s just rote, safe and competent. I can’t imagine this being anyone’s favourite version of this story, but it’s harmless enough I suppose.
Ways this improves on the original: This is a tricky one. Cate Blanchett is giving a wonderful, very compelling performance as Lady Tremaine. But can that really be said to be better than the glorious original design and Eleanor Audley’s iconic vocal turn? Let’s just say they’re both wonderful in different ways. Skarsgard is playing a completely different character to the original hapless Duke but I do like him a lot. Richard Madden doesn’t have to work particularly hard to improve on the bland cipher that was the Prince in the original movie but he does do it, so points there.
Ways it doesn’t: Cinderella herself, I’m afraid. The quiet, kind-hearted, ordinary girl of the original is here some kind of avatar of saccharine sweetness who genuinely can’t understand the concept of people not being nice. Pop culture’s parody idea of a Disney Princess played perfectly straight. Also, some butt ugly CGI here.
How angry did this movie make me?: Not angry. Mostly bored.
SCORE: I’m going to take the original’s score of 57% (man, I was harsh back before I’d seen real shit) and subtract…let’s see. 8%.
FINAL SCORE: 49%
NEXT UPDATE: 28 July 2022
NEXT TIME: We’re all mad here. In the sense of being “furiously angry”.
“Oh, you ca’n’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all [furiously angry] here. I’m [furiously angry]. You’re [furiously angry].”
“How do you know I’m [furiously angry]?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” 😏
“but it’s so depressingly rote and minimum effort competence that it almost feels like it’s terrible.”
That’s it. You cracked it Mouse. The reason why I can’t summon anything resembling interest in these reboots. Live-action or CGI attempting to be live-action.
There’s just this lack of engagement. Minimalism in its…everything that takes away the magic that makes these animated movies so memorable.
I know I’ve seen this, but I remember it about as well as the last time I got a sandwich from Subway. You know you’ve had a sandwich. Your stomach is now full, and there’s a wrapper that smells vaguely of cold cuts. But damned if that wasn’t the least distinctive sandwich ever, so much so that you can’t actually remember eating it.
Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, though. That horrible memory will never leave me.
In fairness to Disney, the feet cutting scene was only in the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella while this movie as well as the original movie are based off the much tamer Charles Perrault version written over a century before the Grimm version.
Shush, don’t spoil my fun
And they put it in their Into the Woods adaptation released like five months before this lol
Wait, unless these Spanish youtubers lied to me then in the “Chinese Cinderella” Yeh-Shen the stepsister (for there is only one in that version) also tries to put on the slipper by cutting off her toes. That’s one of the oldest versions so…
One strange memory I have regarding this movie involves finding it on Disney+, then deciding to put it off, only for it to disappear so quickly, I could almost hear the clock strike midnight.
Disney remake time? Disney remake time.
My opinion is…eh. They exist over there, and I am over here, and I have no intention on emotionally investing in the lot of them because that would be A Huge Waste of Time. That said, I actually kind of prefer Jungle Book 2016 over Jungle Book 1967. Yeah, I said what I said. Deal with it.
Cinderella 2010: Haven’t seen it. Don’t want to. Don’t care enough.
Alice in Wonderland 2010: This movie is trash, and I am Oscar the Grouch. Let me level with you when I say I was almost thirteen when this movie came out. So, I was like the perfect audience for this Shadow the Hedgehog Hot Topic Alice. What can I say? I was an awkward teen who wrote Sonic fan fiction and loved Nightmare Before Christmas. This is a garbage heap, but by George, it’s MY garbage heap. *HISS*
At the time I watched this, I thought it was fine, cuz at least it seemed like it was trying to expand on some elements of the original. But as the parade of live action remakes continued, it was obvious this was the start of something horrible, so I look on it much less positively now. At least the Jungle Book remake was decent.
But I haven’t even seen the Alice remake or its sequel because I don’t even like the original Disney Alice movie (it’s near the bottom of my list), so I imagine an even worse version would make me very upset and hateful and I don’t need that.
Having seen Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, it’s not a remake at all. It’s its own story that takes elements of both books and mashes them together in random ways, most notably making the Red Queen from the second story into a generic cackling villain with a giant CGI head (making her look more like the Queen of Hearts from the first story).
It’s not a particularly *good* story, and the fact that they call the Jabberwock the “Jabberwocky” will never NOT grate on my nerves, but it’s not even attempting to remake the Disney movie.
I haven’t seen the sequel, but the plot summary on Wikipedia sounds even more random and unrelated to the books and the Disney Movie in any way other than reusing some character names.
Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of Disney’s Alice, either, but I enjoyed reading Martin Gardner’s The Annotated Alice when I was younger.
“this monster has an understanding of royal marriage in the medieval period”
Mouse, I am bit concerned if you looked the costumes of this period and said, clearly medieval. They are mid to late 19th century styles that are very heavily influenced by 1940s and 1950s styles (like in the animated film to appeal to current audience but much more so here, influence of Dior’s new look is very heavy) and 2015’s ideas of what little girls like (for current audience) as can be seen in the blue dress expecially with the bright colors and shine and overall colors.
In any case it makes sense for Cinderella to be set in 19th century when in real life monarchy actually started to be mostly symbolic and there were royals who did marry non-royals now. And Cinderella is actually not a real servant in the class system of the times, it’s important she has been forced to work as a maid in her own (gentry class) household. In that class thinking you are born to a class, you won’t loose it because your step-mother uses you. If this country is Luxembourg sized it would not be that odd for all unmarried woman of that class or higher to be invited to a huge ball. But apparently this movie is actually less based on reality than animated film anyway with its Princess talk.
The step-sisters in 1997 one weren’t conveniently attractive. Also I would say it’s medias fault for making big deal out of Disney’s gay characters for clicks and same sites later on critiquing them for clicks. It’s not really Disney having a big billbroard campaign about this. It’s the same thing every time there is a new poc character, first it’s made huge deal and then Disney is critiqued for not doing more or sooner.
With Alice in Wonderland I hope you look the screenwriter and the way she has changing the stories in adaptations (including on Broadway). She does some interesting ideas but I think she doesn’t understand the stories always and is too focused on same ideas.
Doh. Yup. I’ll change it.
I wrote a fairly detailed comment further discussing Linda Woolverton’s work on the Broadway adaps. (and why they don’t get as much hate as the live-action versions despite running on similar principles) but it hasn’t been uploaded to the comment section yet…
Sorry, I think WordPress ate it. I can’t see it pending
OK, I’ll post my comment here.
IMO, the live-action remakes and the Broadway adaptations are based on similar principles – both aim to expand the animated originals into a 2 hour-plus extravaganza with extra songs (usually from the original songwriters), “Character Development” and other alterations designed to address the imperfections of the original film. (The more cynically minded will point out that these adaptations also generate large amounts of money in sectors of entertainment where it’s pretty easy to make a gigantic loss). However, the Broadway adaptations get less hate for two reasons.
1. The constraints of the stage often allow for more visual creativity (esp. with The Lion King, Disney Theatrical’s most popular adaptation)
2. Stage musicals generally don’t get the same mainstream attention/publicity as live-action films…
Linda Woolverton being involved with both theatrical and live-action adaptations puts her in an interesting position – though the writers behind The Lion King and Frozen also returned for the stage adaptations (which premiered within a few years of the original film). Her stage version of Beauty and the Beast ran for 13 years in its original form on Broadway, and a revival has just opened in London’s West End. The stage version of Aladdin was also a huge success and is still going strong on Broadway. However, the stage version of The Little Mermaid was relatively unsuccessful, which could actually help the live-action remake…
(P.S – It’s interesting to note that both Disney’s live-action division and Disney Theatrical are developing remakes of Hercules at more or less the same time.)
Haven’t seen this one so can’t comment on it but it seemed harmless enough from the trailers and such.
Since it looks like you’re not going to be reviewing Mulan I have a couple things to share about it. First is that Ling was played by Jimmy Wong, a guy I’ve been following for years as he is one half of the Command Zone podcast/YouTube channel. It’s a show about Magic: The Gathering and it’s one of my favorites, I was stoked for Jimmy when he announced that he was going to be in Mulan. It just sucks that the movie ended up being so bland and forgettable.
Second, IMO one of the worse parts of Mulan was Mulan herself. I thought that Liu Yifei was not a very good Mulan, the character was very flat and her performance was not strong at all. But it turns out she actually WAS a great choice. My wife and I just finished watching a Chinese historical drama called A Dream of Splendor, it’s an adaptation of a classic Chinese play. Liu Yifei plays the main character, Zhao Pan’er, and she is just absolutely fantastic in it. She’s alternately a cunning negotiator, an elegant romantic lead, and even a revolutionary at times. Just an excellent performance from her all throughout the show, it convinced me that her problems in Mulan were due far more to the script and English being her second language than to her actual ability. Highly recommend A Dream of Splendor if you’re into historical dramas, it’s a damn good one.
Yep, they stripped everything that made Mulan herself special in favour of a bland 2010s #StrongFemaleCharacter. Mulan was clever but impulsive girl whose willingness to take shortcuts often got her into trouble but at the end of the day loved her father dearly because he looked past all that and saw the potential she had. And she joins the army not because she’s a chosen one blessed with magical specialness but because she WANTS to prove herself and save her father. And she has to actually work for her success and go through character development because in the 90s Disney were allowed to make good stories without fear of a Buzzfeed article trying to claim the princesses are responsible for the gender pay gap (yes that’s a thing that exists).
ooh i love cdramas! I just checked and its not available in my region on viki… I’ll have to look for it elsewhere.
It’s available with subtitles on YouTube. They’re posting slower there than they did other places so it’s not QUITE the whole show yet but should be within the next week or so. Here’s the playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMX26aiIvX5rcYjAW7p_bguZDB-imN_4u
I know of people who love this movie, and I admit it’s pretty (mostly the costumes), but I just did not like it. What irritated me most was how passive Cinderella was. She was locked in the attic, dancing and singing, and the mice open the window. She doesn’t even open it herself! In the original Disney version, she works with the mice to get free and she runs down the stairs to the Duke. The other thing was how the message of “Have courage and be kind” was hammered over and over. I watched this movie with a friend, and we followed it later with Anne of the Thousand Days. There’s a scene in Anne’s trial where she tells her brother to have courage, and I added “and be kind.” My friend hit me with a pillow for that.
I remember my friend and I commented when Cate’ Blanchett’s Lady Tremaine appears was how did Cinderella’s father go from his first wife to “Evilena”?
Clearly she was a demon in the sack.
It’s a Wicked Lady played by Cate Blanchett, who could resist?
Great review. When I saw this I mostly remember being bored.
I realize that maybe some of the internet is still too mad at Lindsay Ellis or sad for her for me to cite her here, but I will anyway. It really strikes me the irony of her going from “Disney is learning from past mistakes and heading into a great new era” in her Moana video to her now famous “thanks, I hate it” in reference to Disney trying to fix things and making them worse.
And that’s the frustrating thing about the Redemption Era from my perspective. It showed so much promise because with the actual animated cannon films that have come out during it, Disney has picked on their past but still come up with new ideas that were interesting in their own right (Lindsay and I disagree on Frozen, but I’m getting into my views at this point). But with the live action remakes particularly Beauty and the Beast, which is one of the few I’ve seen, I think they’ve forgotten at times that revisiting and revising the past isn’t good enough and they have to also add some kind of additional appeal. With Beauty and the Beast, I’ve concluded they had some interesting new ideas, but felt too tied to the original plot to use them well. That could be a whole other blog post of my own though. I did like Pete’s Dragon though.
Branagh has an odd thing for bleached eyebrows, doesn’t he? He did the same thing to Hemworth in the first Thor and it was by far the most unsettling thing about that movie.
Glad to read this! Yeah, the character of Cinderella in the original Disney adaptation is way better and more accurate than this “pop culture’s idea” version of Cinderella, as you said.
Pretty much laughed at “it’s just the pipes singing wistful lovelorn dirges”!
I think the problem I have with these live-action remakes is that they delegitimize the animated films somewhat. There’s always been this idea that animation isn’t important, or that it’s only intended for small children. I’ve always felt that these remakes were intended for people who feel embarrassed about liking Disney animated movies. Since they’re live-action, they don’t have to feel weird about liking them. Of course, it’s all bullshit. The original animated movies are great, and nobody should feel bad about liking them as adults.
I’m personally not keen on that interpretation – Disney have adapted their animated films into every conceivable medium (Comics, Video Games, Ice Skating Shows, Broadway Musicals), so why NOT adapt them for live-action? However, snobbery towards animation is still a problem, and turning these films into CGI-heavy extravaganzas feeds into that a bit. Most importantly, there is a sense that for all the lavish production values and big-name stars, the live-action films merely exist to make money in the moment instead of being timeless like the originals…
Live action Dumbo makes me want to break things.
I haven’t watched all of the remakes, only Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, the first Maleficent, Alice (if it even counts), the first Glenn Close Dalmatians, Aladdin and Dumbo. All the others I can kind of tolerate with a snort, but Dumbo actually makes me angry.
Jeez, that intro. You doing alright man? I feel like things have been getting a bit…Cynical around her lately. Well…Hopefully, Encanto can help.
Huh? The A Monster in Paris review was ‘positive’ enough.
I kinda miss the times where a critic could have a comedically sharp tongued strike without having their emotional stability questioned, to be honest.
I’m fine! Everyone leave me alone! *bursts into tears*
I’ll give the film this, it let me watch MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN and think “Of course she sings, she’s an actual Disney Princess” when Miss PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES very neatly ran away with the whole d*** musical. (-;
Also, I am morally certain that ‘Lily James’ is the most Harry Potter name possible without going straight to parody.
That is all.
Dear Mouse, have just watched THE SEA BEAST – which is quite good, but leaves me with somewhat ambivalent feelings towards it by virtue of … well, I’d rather not spoil things for you.
Still, I suspect this little movie is more tailored for your tastes than mine, so I’m happy to recommend it to you as a pastime in good company (I suspect that ‘Mini Mouse’ might well fall almost precisely in the target demographic for this film, if nothing else!).
Well today I learned that Disney is doing a live action Lilo and Stich. This train is never stopping no matter how sad it gets
Oh dear God no.
In all fairness, it could be from the director of Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (That stop-motion indie everyone’s raving about at the moment) but Lilo and Stitch is a questionable choice for remake.
It has the same issue as BTAB and The Lion King (The original was strong enough to render any attempts to “improve” it totally pointless) and being recent means that there isn’t really that much nostalgic attachment to it, so there is none of the curiosity about fan-casting or adapting the story to a new medium. Disney seems to be splitting the live-action remake sausage factory between blockbuster remakes for the cinema (The Little Mermaid, Snow White) and smaller ones for Disney + (Pinocchio) – Lilo & Stitch will probably be in the latter category – ensuring more creative freedom – but that doesn’t really make any great case for it. In addition, choosing to remake Lilo & Stitch violates one of the rules Disney’s live-action division established for these remakes – don’t remake any animated film from after 2000.
Doing Lilo & Stitch makes it obvious that once Snow White is released, there isn’t really anywhere for the live-action remake factory to go, and Disney’s live-action division will need a new strategy. Trouble is, said new strategy will likely result in originals that a) aren’t much better than the live-action remakes and b) make FAR less money…
This one was always incredibly middling for me, but I always remember it fondly for one reason. I was getting into Big Finish’s Doctor Who audios, and Alex Macqueen played a damn fun version of the Master in those, so imagine my surprise when he shows up as the Royal Crier in this film. He’s a really talented guy and I still relish that rush of recognizing his voice the first time. Him and Jacobi makes two Masters in one film!
That said the film is pretty forgettable, some improvements but a couple of bits that are worse. I’d still watch this over Beauty and the Beast’s remake any day though, that one really got me frustrated.