Disney Revisited: Cinderella (A Collab with Blackbird’s Nest)

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the blog. My good friend, Blackbird has been doing some reviews on the Disney movies in her past. After a little convincing, I’ve joined her in this adventure of looking back at the old Disney movies I used to watch as a child. 

Check out all her other Disney reviews (Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi) by clicking this fantastic link. DO IT NOW!

Onto the review!



EXPECTED SCORE: 3/10   REALITY: 6.5/10


Expectations


Everyone knows the story of Cinderella. It is tired and cliched. We see this story everywhere in the media. Of course, nothing compares to Disney’s mega-hit, though. Right?

I can remember from my childhood hating Cinderella. So booooring! With her face on every bit of Disney merchandise, she seemed to follow me wherever I’d see Disney products. And how couldn’t she? She’s the cardinal Disney Princess. The picture of a perfect fairy tale romance where everything goes wrong for a girl before it goes right in spectacular fashion. As an adult, it makes total sense to me; but even then, from what I remembered as a child, Cinderella was that boring story about that boring girl who meets a nameless prince and goes on to live happily ever after.

Beyond that, I couldn’t remember much. As such, my expectations going into this movie were at about a 3/10. “Thank god it’s only an hour long,” is what I was thinking when I first put it on to write this review.

You can imagine my surprise when I realised, quite quickly, that I was actually enjoying the movie. Who would have thought, after all these years that I’d actually come to enjoy boring Cinderella? But why? What gave me such a different opinion from all those years I had as a child?


Reality


I think the real reason comes down to Cinderella herself. I think it comes down to the way she was advertised to me. Cinderella, being the poster-girl for all would-be princesses out there was made to look like anyone could become her. They stripped Cinderella of all the personality that she’s given in the movie (and she has loads of it to spare in the movie) in order to appeal to as wide a net as possible. In the movie, Cinderella would get frustrated when things don’t go her way. She was firm, but fair with characters she had agency over. Maybe a little too complacent and needing of a push, but willing to take any call to action that she receives.

Compare it to what I knew of her as a kid, this is an overwhelming improvement in terms of characterisation and a real treat when I discovered how lively she really is.

In comparison, the Prince oozes like a wet rag on a hot summer day. Any chance to bring about character or personality dries up as quickly as its revealed. The prince becomes more of a prop (like the glass slipper) to propel the story forward to its happily-ever-after conclusion. The Prince doesn’t even have much of any agency in his finding of Cinderella. His Father, akin to Otto von Bismark in appearance, sends someone else to go look for Cinderella after the ball.


Otto von Bismark or Cinderella’s King? I can hardly tell the difference!


This doesn’t really detract too much from the main story, however, as most of the real action happens before the Prince has a chance to bore you with his presence. And even when he does, he is outshined ten-fold by Bismark, who is the story’s only enjoyable comic relief.

Every scene Bismark is in becomes a charming story about a father worried that his son, the Prince, is too dull to ever find love on his own. He and his advisor have me laughing at some ridiculousness any time they’re on the screen. Nothing much more to say about them. They’re a real hidden gem in this movie for me.

Back with Cinderella and her life. I have to talk about her stepmother and stepsisters. They’re believably wicked in their portrayal, especially the Stepmother, who has a look that weep life out of you like blood to a leach. It is a real testament to the animation. But also, the voice actress, Elenore Audley. The eerie way she can hold a beat and keep you captivated, yet revolted by things that seem rather mundane in a relative sense to the stakes that exist in this movie… its extraordinary. I wouldn’t be surprised if the woman killed puppies. Wait… wrong movie.

The stepsisters are not nearly as wicked. They’re merely enabled and spoiled by their mother. They make for rather forgettable characters when all is said and done. Their main purpose is to make me hate the stepmother even more.

Now, let me get to the worst part of this movie. The Mice. This becomes a really big problem as their screen time probably exceeds even that of the titular character. Most of their scenes consist of them talking in annoying pitchy tones that are difficult to understand. They play a game of cat and mouse with the stepmother’s cat, Lucifer. This only serves to distract from the main plot and hardly ever really pertains to the actual conflicts in CInderella’s life. And why in hell do they make those horrid creatures sing? The music already isn’t the greatest in this movie, but listening to the pitchy squeals that we’re supposed to call, “singing,” grates on my ears.

I think the mice can be summed up by the fact that I don’t have any problem rooting for a non-speaking character called, “Lucifer” in a fairy tale story. When your story has me cheering for the Devil, there’s probably an issue.


Music


As I said a few paragraphs earlier, the music isn’t the greatest in this one. Like the plot of the movie itself, the music reflects a rather generic pattern without much complexity to it.

The movie starts with a song sung by a chorus.The first lines being, “Cinderella/You’re as lovely as your name.” and then goes on to describe Cinderella, her predicament, and what she can expect by the end of the movie. It’s your traditional early-Disney Chorus number and works as a loose summary of the plot, I guess.

We move onto CInderella singing a song about the dream she had. The premise of the song is sort of interesting in that she calls her dream, “a wish [her] heart makes.” She’d dreamt of her happy ending. This hearkens later to when her Fairy Godmother comes about to grant her dream-wish. I’ve got to applaud the creativity of the song, but I’m not very impressed by it… and the damn Mice! Good lord, those fucking Mice! Ilene Woods’ voice is fantastic, but can’t make up for the Mice’s horrid voices.

I’ll skip “Sweet Nightingale” because its a rather uninspiring song.

“Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo” is great. It’s catchy and it seems to perfectly sum up the ridiculousness of the scene. Up until then, we hadn’t seen any magic. You better know it exists and it isn’t going to make much sense to anyone other than the Fairy Godmother. It has whimsy and better; it has character. Some might call it a nothing song. I’ll happily disagree.

The Mouse music can go to hell.


Overall


With all of this considered, I really did enjoy the hour I spent with Cinderella. I can completely see why she was Disney’s Princess mascot for so long. She’s a very relatable character with a believable personality. I mean, who doesn’t want to shout at their clock when it interrupts you in the middle of your morning song? It’s a shame that Disney sucked all personality out of her to appeal to the widest audience. It makes me feel like something special was stolen and sold from my childhood by some corporate board over at Disneyland.

There are some problems with this movie and at the end of the day, a lot of annoying things detract it from giving it greater praise, but I can’t deny that I had a smile on my face for any moment that Cinderella was going through the motions of her story. For that reason, I’d give this movie a 6.5/10.


Things That Made Me Laugh


Finally, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge some funny things I noticed while watching.


  • Cinderella has the coolest room in the entire house. I’d kill for that room.

  • Cinderella kidnaps and forces these mice to work for her. Cinderella is a ruthless slave laborer.

  • Who names their cat Lucifer?

  • Why does the King have an army of evil horsemen? Seriously, they look like they’re out to kill Cinderella as she’s getting away, not capture her.


I hope you enjoyed this review. As I mentioned before, my good friend, Blackbird, has a complementary review over on her blog that you can check out by clicking this link.


Until next time,












-Plotstains

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