Friday, March 13, 2015
CNS/USCCB (J. McAleer) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review
RogerEbert.com (S. Wloszczyna) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review
Cinderella  (directed by Kenneth Branagh screenplay by Chris Weitz based on the European Fairy Tale best known by that name [wikip]) gets credit from many of the above listed critics for "for once" "playing it straight" with the story.
Yet, I'd honestly beg to differ. I found both the set design and costuming about as _over-the-top_ ostentatious / STUPIDLY "frilly" (honestly, can one say, no shout "FAAAABUULOUUS...") as I've seen in years, fit far more for Rio de Janeiro's annual Carnivale than for the retelling of a Central European story about THE HUMBLE (if put-upon) little heroine of the _Tales of the Brothers Grimm_.
And while I understand that various tellings of the story have portrayed Cinderella's Evil Stepmother (played here by Cate Blanchett) and Stepsisters (played here by Sophie McShera and Holliday Granger) as "cheap / gaudy", honestly this version has the main difference between Cinderella (played here by Lily James) and her new, forced-upon-her family, being simply that Cinderella certainly had "better hair." ;-).
Add to this the UTTERLY THROWAWAY / STUPID "flourish" that the Stepmother's CAT was named "Lucifer" (!?!) and one wonders what the heck were the film-makers thinking ...
Positively, the film portrayed the kingdom in which the story played out as race neutral. So there were darker complected characters scattered throughout the cast.
YET even here, it actually also turns out that the "real rival" to still blond haired / blue eyed Cinderella for the Prince's (played by Richard Madden) affections in this film was _an added_ dark haired/brown eyed, darker-skinned princess named "Chelina" (played by Jana Perez) "from Zaragoza" (read HISPANIC...). One wonders how many DECADES more we'll have to wait before CINDER-(meaning ASHEN)-ella will be played by a humble DARKER-complected girl rather than a blonde playing the character in a kind of fairytale "blackface" ...
So I guess I really didn't like the film ... ;-) ... And I will note that there is a strange irony in traditional Hollywood renderings of the Grimm Fairytales: "Snow White" is generally played by a brown eyed / dark-haired girl while Cinder-(Ashen)-ella is played generally by blue-eyed blonde. Go figure ...
But above all, I found the "Baroque" / "Rule Britannia" over-the-top frivolity of the costuming/set design of this film most difficult to bear. Perhaps it all "looked better in 3D" (I saw it in two) ... but the appalling gaudiness of the film would probably make even the makers of the recent remake of The Great Gatsby  (where the _decadence_ of the 1920s era was _part of that tale's point_) blush.
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