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Disney Does Cinderella—Again

Cinderella-Lilly JamesThe Disney studio’s latest effort to reinvent one of its
animated classics as a live-action movie is sumptuously produced and
well-cast…but it bored me to tears. We don’t need a new rendition of Cinderella any more than we did a reboot
of Spider-Man. Of course, I’m not the
target demographic. I suppose kids deserve an opportunity to see this timeless
story on a theater screen; that’s the only case to be made for resuscitating such
timeworn material. Never mind the enduring 1950 Disney cartoon classic, or Drew
Barrymore’s Ever After, or Ella Enchanted with Anne Hathaway. In
today’s Hollywood, anything worth doing is worth doing again… and again…and
again.

Cinderella-richard madden-derek jacobi

Lily James, late of Downton
Abbey
, is a sweet and likable heroine. Cate Blanchett arches her eyebrows
expertly and stops just short of caricature as the wicked stepmother. Sophie
McShera and Holliday Grainger embody the self-centered stepsisters just as they
should. Richard Madden is a stalwart Prince Charming and, best of all, the
peerless Derek Jacobi adds poignancy to his characterization of an aging King. The
cast is fleshed out by other talented actors including Stellan Skarsgård, Nonso
Anozie, and Helena Bonham Carter,  as the
Fairy Godmother.

Screenwriter Chris Weitz has brought some new ideas to the
Charles Perrault story and borrowed more than a bit from the Disney cartoon, as
well, incorporating Cinderella’s mice friends, who are now rendered as CG
creatures. He has also managed to breathe life into potentially two-dimensional
characters and filled the script with graceful dialogue.

But it’s still Cinderella,
and anyone over the age of 10 knows the story all too well. Parents will be
happy to have a film they can take their kids to see, but they may have a
difficult time stifling a yawn; I know I did.

         

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