Then vs. Now: Cinderella

Released 03/04/1950                               Rated: G

I grew up on Disney. I have watched these classics over and over to the point where they’re ingrained in my brain. Wanna know how I know? I chose to mute the “Work Song” (which is when the mice are making her dress) and despite the fact that I haven’t seen this movie in decades, I totally heard it in my head as the animation played out. It was as if I just saw it yesterday.

Watching this film again I’ve realized a couple of things. The first is how well the characters were made. Lady Tremaine is amazing. Elanor Audley also voices Malificent from Sleeping Beauty. She’s very calm and collected, especially when it comes to her own daughters. She’s very calculating. “I said ‘If’.” Cinderella’s home life always intrigued me the most because we get to see so little of it. I want more of that, but half of this movie is about the mice, (poster included!). Rewatching it now as an adult, I’m sorry, but I just don’t care that much about the mice anymore. I do have a question, though. Cinderella names the new mouse Octavious. “But for short, we’ll call you Gus.” How in the hell did she get Gus out of Octavious??

Another character whom I’ve come to find really interesting is the King. He’s impatient to have grandchildren, and he’s clearly not all there. He’s so confident in his scheme of finding his son a bride by hosting a ball that he automatically it sabotage when the Grand Duke tries to inform him that the girl got away. He is so focused on the concept of grandchildren, he slips and says out loud that at least one of the maidens from his entire kingdom should make a suitable mother. When the Grand Duke shushes him he amends with “a suitable wife.”

Another thing that caught my attention on rewatching this movie is how orchestral animation used to be. I mean, that’s nothing new; Looney Tunes and other older cartoons have always been like that. But to notice how hand in hand the animation and score go together is interesting. Nearly every movement on screen is accented by the music. Nothing special to add here. I just wanted to note it.

And last but not least violence toward Lucifer when he has Gus trapped under a cup with the key. The mice fight him with forks and plates and a candle and even bite his tail. Bruno then scares him out the window. That’s a freakin’ hundred-foot drop at least! There’s no way that cat survived. I haven’t seen either of the sequels, but I saw Lucifer is on cover of the third one, and I was just like “Yeah right.” I get that it’s Disney, but come on.

Released 03/15/2015                              Rated: PG

I wasn’t super interested in this movie when it came out. It was more like “Oh that’s nice,” rather than “I can’t wait to see that!” which is how I feel about all of the ones coming out this year. Maybe it’s because Cinderella has been done and redone so many times. Or maybe it’s because I’ve already found my perfect version: Ever After. But it was nice to see Disney proper take a stab at a live-action variation. I mean, we have the Roger and Hammerstein’s version but that one was for the Wonderful World of Disney so it’s not quite the same scale.

The movie didn’t wow me. There wasn’t even a portion that stood out more than the rest, which is a shame because I would have thought Cate Blanchett’s Lady Tremaine would have done that. Not even that won me over. Were I to make a selection as to who could pull off the cold and confident Tremaine I would have to with the choice of Blanchett, but for some reason I didn’t get that distant, authoritative woman from the animated movie. Much like the movie, Blanchett’s portrayal wasn’t bad, I just didn’t fall in love with it. When there have been so many iterations before now it takes something extra to stand out. Sadly this version was just under memorable.

There’s a lot that I could nitpick about this movie. It’s all personal preference so there’s really no point in my going on about it. I will say though that I thought it was a nice touch that the Fairy Godmother placed a spell on Ella so that her family wouldn’t recognize her at the ball. The fact that her family didn’t recognize her when she was all glammed up was always a bit unbelievable in the animated version.

I’m also glad we got to spend some time with Ella’s mother; normally we don’t get that. Her mother was such a strong aspect in her life that truly shaped Ella into the young caring woman she turns out to be. Watching them all say goodbye was heartbreaking. You really feel for  Ella. She promised her father she’d be nice to her new family and help them around the house, and because of that she just gets grandfathered into being their only maid once her step-mother lets the staff go. Despite  their treatment of her Ella still considers herself as part of the family.

It’s not a bad movie. The kids will love it. I’m just picky.

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