This live action re-imagination of the classic Disney tale may seem totally unnecessary, but “Cinderella” still manages to completely enchant audiences of all ages. Starring Lily James, Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter, this female-driven powerhouse earned itself $70 million on opening weekend and an 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Cinderella,” directed by Kenneth Branagh, utilizes every bit of costume design expertise and CGI effects to create a magical fairy tale universe. Truly the most remarkable aspects of the film are the technical designs. The signature blue dress is vibrant and full of impeccable detail. According to costume designer Sandy Powell, the dress is made up of 12 layers of silk and different colors. It took Lily James about 45 minutes to get in and out of the dress. The glass slippers were made of real Swarovski crystal, but CGI when Cinderella actually wears them. CGI also assists the magical “rags to riches” transformation of Cinderella and the pumpkin carriage, bringing new life to the animated scene. The technical elements of “Cinderella” are enough to justify the live-action version on their own.
The film is dreamy and romantic and does not deviate much from the original storyline. Audiences should expect a classic retelling of the traditional fairy tale without some exciting “twist.” Some audiences might also rejoice that there is no singing. The leading ladies dominate in their roles with Blanchett bringing a perfectly human element to the wicked stepmother’s character. She’s fashionable, too. Helena Bonham Carter, minus her typical counterpart Johnny Depp, is hard to imagine, but she makes an adorably maternal fairy godmother.
The film adds more to the usual “love at first sight” trope by introducing the prince and Ella before the ball. Prince Charming instead poses as “Kit,” a young man who works at the palace, when he meets Ella in the woods and they develop a relationship beforehand. It’s a more realistic update to the original, and gives Kit, played by Richard Madden, a chance for some real character development.
While “Cinderella” is a traditional adaptation, it still manages to create a new fantasy world with some amazing technical elements. If audiences want to see something beautiful and reminisce with the old romantic classic, this live-action version is a perfect choice.
Cinderella is rated PG for mild thematic elements.