I'm not really sure what my expectations were heading into the theater, especially after not liking Maleficent as much as most of my friends and family. I just didn't find it appealing, and with Beauty and the Beast on the horizon, I've been faced with questions about whether or not I'm excited for that film. My only answer? I'll decide after I see Cinderella. Of course, now I am excited for Beauty and the Beast, but that's a blog topic for another day.
I'm pretty skeptical about these live action remakes, especially when they're fairy tale based. I watch Once Upon A Time, where Captain Hook becomes a hero and Prince Charming is currently in some deep trouble with his grown up daughter. The creators of OUAT have changed around these stories to the point where things don't really shock me anymore, and in order for me to like a live-action version of any of these tales, it has to be good. Every element has to be there, and in some ways, I think that's where it fell flat for Maleficent. I'm one of those hard critics, and something was missing from that storyline.
Cinderella, however, really pulled through for me. I absolutely adored it, and I left the theater wanting to see it again (I probably would have if not for a recital I had to attend about a half hour after the movie ended). Right from the beginning I could see not only the slight changes to the story, but the numerous references that go right back to the original tale. And I'm not ashamed to say that I cried three times while watching it, one of which was during the dress transformation scene.
But the best part about this movie? It breaks as many stereotypes as a film such as this can. Cinderella is an absolutely strong female character who, ultimately, stands up against her stepmother in an attempt not to protect herself, but to protect the one she loves and the entire kingdom. Kit is an exceptional character in every aspect as well, showcasing that even grown men are allowed to cry. The scene with Kit and his father was one of my absolute favorites of the film, and is one of the main reasons I recommend it for everyone to watch at least once.
Overall though, it was different and new, but still rooted in the deep traditions that fairy tales stem out of. It's that same tradition that Walt Disney brought to life through many of his original animated films, and the same tradition that will keep these tales alive for many, many years.
If you haven't seen Cinderella yet, I encourage you to do so. It's brilliantly made with a spectacular cast. Lily James is perfection as Cinderella and no one can tell me otherwise. While we may live in a society far away from one dominated by Kings and Queens, there is one thing that we should all take to heart: Have Courage and Be Kind. It's a powerful message that I hope to live my life by, and you should too.
Have a magical day!