By Megan Bianco
After the string of mediocre, live-action updated interpretations of fairytales the last half-decade including Snow White & the Huntsman (2012), Maleficent (2014) and La belle et la bête (2014), Walt Disney Pictures and Kenneth Branagh finally get it right with the latest screen adaptation of Cinderella. In an era of superhero flicks and buddy comedies, an entertaining blockbuster aimed at young girls without “Hunger Games” in the title is here, thankfully.
As the classic story goes, the movie begins with both of Ella’s (Lily James) parents having passed away by the second act, and the orphan girl left to clean and cook for her cruel stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and obnoxious stepsisters (Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera). After Ella bumps into the Prince (Richard Madden) one day, her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) assists in her preparing for the castle ball, where he is searching for a new queen.
Since Disney made the classic animated Cinderella in 1950, naturally the studio would have the new live-action feature contain direct references throughout. Branagh, who has always been at his best adapting classic literature, has his most fun, light-hearted film since Much Ado About Nothing (1993). About a Boy’s Chris Weitz’s script is appropriately cute without coming across as corny or stale. One of the best things about this Cinderella, is that the filmmakers don’t feel the need to redeem their villain like Maleficent did, and just let Blanchett be evil all the way. Families looking for a magical time this weekend can find it here.
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