Cinderella opens in theaters everywhere TODAY!
Cinderella brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece.
This classic tale is one many of us know… either we watched the 1950 animated movie as a child or read the stories to our children. As Kenneth Branagh said, “Everybody from five to 95 knows what’s gonna happen next.” But it’s what Kenneth Branagh has done to update this classic tale! Cinderella is not a helpless young girl, she is a strong young lady who doesn’t need a prince to save her!
I have always loved the movie Cinderella and I have shared that love with my children (Logan – 7 & Kira – 5). I can’t wait to take them to see Frozen Fever and Cinderella (rated PG)!
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Ella (Lily James) is truly loved by her mother and father. They have raised her to be courteous and kind. Unfortunately, her mother passes away when Ella is just a young girl. Her father, a merchant, still loves his wife, but is in need of company. He remarries Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and opens his home to her and her daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera). Ella is eager to please her father and believes he deserves happiness. She opens her heart and home to her new family members, but her father dies unexpectedly on a trip and Ella becomes more a servant than a step-daughter.
Cate Blanchett plays the role of the wicked Step Mother like no other. She has beauty on the outside and an ugly sole. Her laugh will show her true colors. It’s the perfect villain laugh… completely menacing. As for her Step Sisters, they are caddy and cruel. They too are fair and beautiful, but choose to tease Ella.
This live tale takes pieces from the classic animated version and gives more of a back story. Ella is disrespected and treated as a servant. Lady Tremaine and her two daughters boss her around, degrade her, and mock her… but in light of how they treat her, Ella is strong and full of kindness. She remains positive and is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to
“have courage and be kind.”
So why doesn’t Ella run away? Why does she stay with the wicked Step Mother and mean Step Sisters? It’s to honor her mother and father. This home holds memories of her family. But a girl can only take so much, so Ella jumps on her horse and rides into the forest. There she meets a handsome young man ~ the Prince (Richard Madden). Kenneth Branagh made the Prince more vulnerable by having him introduce himself as Kit, an apprentice at the palace. He wasn’t the typical prince trying to rescue a young maiden in distress. He was a gentlemen in awe of a young, strong woman. You could see the immediate connection between the Prince and Ella.
As the Prince, the King (Derek Jacobi) desires his son to marry. Kit is so mesmerized with Ella, that he convinces his father to summon all maidens in the kingdom to attend a royal ball at the palace. Ella is thrilled to have another opportunity to meet Kit.
Lady Tremaine is excited with the news of the upcoming ball. She immediately orders 3 dresses to be made. Ella initially thinks the third dress is for her, but her Step Mother laughs… as the third dress is for herself. Selfish, rude, and mean!
After Ella works so hard to finish her chores and even fixes up her mother’s old dress for the ball, her Step Mother destroys her dream. She forbids her to attend the ball and callously destroys her dress. This is devastating to Ella. Her mother’s dress is ruined. She runs into the garden crying as her Step Mother and Step Sisters are whisked away to the ball.
In the garden she meets an old woman who is hungry and thirsty. Ella, with kindness, puts her emotions on hold to take care of this elderly woman only to find out that she is actually her Fairy Godmother! The Fairy Godmother is slightly off with her magic. It doesn’t always work just right (which is so perfect for Helena Bonham-Carter).
Like the classic original, it’s her Fairy Godmother who helps transform Ella into a princess with an amazing dress and glass slippers (the transformation is a sight to see… all of the girls will wish to be Cinderella). Ella is sent to the ball in a golden carriage with four white horses, a driver, and two footmen. She even puts a spell on Ella that makes her unrecognizable to everyone but the prince.
The only catch is the magic ends at midnight!
But that’s all Ella needs. She just wants the chance to see Kit again.
The ball is glamorous… a dream come true. Ella immediately spots Kit only to find out that he is the Prince. They dance, they talk, they fall in love. The moment the Prince puts his hand on the small of Ella’s back you won’t be able to keep your eyes off them. Kenneth Branagh, Lily James, and Richard Madden all told us that this was one of the most difficult scenes to film. However, they did a magnificent job. It is breathtakingly beautiful.
When the clock tower begins to chime, Ella runs away before the magic can wear off… and the chase is on! The Prince rushes after her only to find one glass slipper on the steps of the castle. He sends men out to find her.
Meanwhile, Lady Tremaine figures out that Ella was the mysterious princess and locks her away in the tower and destroys the other glass slipper. She devises a plan with the Grand Duke to thwart the Prince from ever finding Ella.
Like any good fairy tale, evil never wins!
There is a happy ending…
the Prince finds his Princess!
Directed by Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh (“Thor,” “Hamlet”) and starring two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine,” “Elizabeth”), Lily James (“Downton Abbey”), Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”) and Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter (“The King’s Speech,” “Alice in Wonderland”), “Cinderella” is produced by Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Elysium”), Allison Shearmur (“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1”) and David Barron (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1”) with Tim Lewis (“Edge of Tomorrow”) serving as executive producer. The screenplay is by Chris Weitz (“About a Boy,” “The Golden Compass”).
“Cinderella” will be released through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on March 13, 2015.
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Have you been following my #CinderellaEvent journey? Just last weekend I had the pleasure of going to The Glam Ball by JCPenney, got a sneak peek at the costumes and props at the JCPenney Pre-Premeire Party, then walked the Red Carpet for the first time!
Keep an eye on the blog for more Cinderella interviews…
Coming soon: Richard Madden and Sandy Powell!
Disclosure: I was invited on an all expense paid Disney press trip in exchange for my honest opinion and coverage of the #CinderellaEvent red carpet premiere, press junket, and movie review. All opinions are my own.