Remakes are always a fun example that Hollywood has simply given up on new material, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun and enjoyable at the same time. Cinderella gives an air of elegance to this time honored tale and it is only the most recent addition to the slew of remakes of a tale of a young woman seemingly content with serving awful people. But thankfully this version discarded that nuisance from the tale; I mean how many of you growing up did your chores with a smile and a song? I know I didn’t!
But the magic of Cinderella lies in the Aesop it wants us to learn: don’t ever give up hope. This new version gave us another mantra on top of that, “Have courage and be kind,” and in the end it is this that brings Cinderella fortune and not happenstance. Gone are the days where the Fairy Godmother doles beautiful garments and questionable footwear because a young girl refuses to run away from a clearly abusive home to take her skills and get paid for them. No, here, you have to prove that you should be gifted with the extravagance that you don’t think that you deserve.
Kindness is a concept that we all know but don’t always exercise (I’m looking at you in the red car who just cut me off on the freeway). But another thing that was cast aside, thankfully, was the notion of love at first sight. Granted Kit felt smitten with our lovely Cinderella, but it wasn’t really cemented until that grand entrance that no rendition of Cinderella can ever do without. But between that fateful meeting in the forest and the dance in glass slippers that thankfully didn’t end up like a bad horror flick, they had a couple of weeks to stew in their feelings.
Being captivated by someone and being in love with them are two very different things, and they at least took a couple of moments to get to know one another. You might even say they were friends because Cinderella certainly did.
But this tale isn’t theirs alone, although one could be forgiven for thinking a movie titled Cinderella was only about her (I’m looking at you Sleeping Beauty). The Wicked Stepmother and her two Ugly Stepdaughters are an important feature to this story, and a twist on a bumbling sidekick played out creatively enough for me to enjoy the banter he had with the elegant Lady Tremaine. And of course who could forget Helena Bonham Carter in the one (maybe two) scenes she was in. The transformation is often considered the quintessential scene in Cinderella; from borrowing a mask from a costume store (A Cinderella Story) to Leonardo Da Vinci masterminding the opening of a door (Ever After) and the questionable ethics of Lucinda that border on child endangerment (Ella Enchanted) it is a powerful scene all its own and I think it was handled quite beautifully.
The point isn’t that it followed the same path as those that had come before it, as every rendition does, but that it added its own spin to a classic tell, as every rendition should.