Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Nonso Anozie, Stellan Skarsgård, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Ben Chaplin, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon
Genre: Family, Fantasy, Drama
Age Rating: U/G
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Adapted from the original CINDERELLA in 1950 from Walt Disney Studios, 2015’s live-action tale tells the same story of Ella (Lily James), an honest and kind young girl who finds herself cleaning, washing and living in the attic of her house to serve her cruel stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her stepsisters Drisella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) following the loss of her father. Blessed with beauty and kindness in her heart, Ella never gives up hope and her fortunes begin to change in the most magical of ways.
As a Disney fan, the recent surge in live-action adaptations of animated classics has been something that I have been in two minds about. On the one hand, it is great to see these magical, timeless stories brought to life, but on the other, it is something that depends largely on the director chosen to bring the fairy-tale to life and also the protagonist chosen to lead the story of a globally recognised character. In some cases, such as MALEFICIENT starring Angelina Jolie, this strategy can be a success; however in others such as Tim Burton’s adaptation of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, the live-action direction can take a lot away from the world of Disney.
Kenneth Branagh’s CINDERELLA however, is an unrivalled success to date which truly captures the essence of the 1950 Walt Disney animated classic in every which way it possibly can. From the brilliant casting of ‘Cinders’ herself, to the endless amounts of money plunged into the costumes for this 105 minute feature film, CINDERELLA creates all the magic and glamour we could have possibly pictured in a real world setting, with some stand-out performances from the likes of Cate Blanchett (as Ella’s evil Stepmother) and Helena Bonham Carter (as the strange yet life-changing Fairy Godmother).
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience of 2015’s CINDERELLA. It was simple, true to the story, entertaining, glamorous (prepare to be amazed by the amount of time a certain brand called Swarovski have put into this live-action experience) and most definitely magical. CINDERELLA is a must watch for any ‘Classics’ Disney fan in my books, and is certainly the best live-action adaptation I have seen to date! Bring on THE JUNGLE BOOK this year!
“Midnight is just the beginning.”
Recommendation: Well worth a watch, and definitely worth a purchase to add to any Disney collection you may have! Out now on DVD & Blu-Ray!