I’m Richard Roeper and coming up next, on the eve of March Madness, it’s the original “Cinderella” story. My review next!
Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella” movie is not some reboot filled with irony-laden dialogue, and that’s just fine. Not that your humble male reviewer isn’t a thousand percent in favor of well-told, cleverly updated takes on old-fashioned stories, e.g., “Frozen.” But there’s nothing wrong with a straightforward, beautifully done retelling of this classic tale.
It’s OK for your little girl to see this movie and to identify with Cinderella. She’s six. There’s still time for her to become a doctor and the president of the United States AND wear a fabulous dress on her wedding day.
Director Kenneth Branaugh and screenwriter Chris Weitz have fashioned an enchanting, exhilarating romantic adventure with gorgeous scenery, terrific sets, first-rate cinematography and Oscar-worthy costumes.
Of course, none of that brings the story home if the acting isn’t there. “Cinderella” has a wonderful cast, including Lily James (“Downton Abbey”), who has a marvelously expressive face and sparkles in the title role…Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”), who takes the rather thankless Prince Charming role and actually gives it a little depth…;the great Stellan Skarsgard as the scheming, manipulative Grand Duke…and Cate Blanchett, who plays the evil stepmother as a cross between Maleficent and Joan Crawford in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” She’s deliciously terrifying.
You know how the story goes, from the death of Cinderella’s father to Cinderella braving the endlessly cruel treatment at the hands of her stepmother and stepsisters, to the pumpkin and the slipper and yada yada yada. It’s all in the telling of the tale, and on nearly every account the live-action “Cinderella” of 2015 is a worthy companion to the classic Disney animated feature from 1950. I give it an A!
I’m Richard Roeper and you can get all my reviews at richardroeper.com on the free RR app available on iTunes, and on YouTube and elsewhere on those Interwebs.