Courage and Kindness: A “Cinderella” Review

This is one movie that several of my gay friends enjoyed a lot. With all that twirling and curtsying and butterflies fluttering, I can already foresee them daydreaming about a fairy grandmother popping out of nowhere to set free the beautiful princess trapped inside the closet.

I’m pretty sure the Prince Charming has also got something to do with why they loved the film

Apparently it wasn’t just my gay friends, but even my lady office-mates were also raving about how “kilig” the movie was, and how this version of Cinderella had “more substance and structure” than the usual story that we know. I stare at them with a raised eyebrow (yep, just one) because c’mon, all that I saw in the film was really the same old story just played by new actors.

Cinderella 2015 Trailer

The challenge with having a movie about a classic fairytale is that you have to make it engaging and even unpredictable in spite of everyone already knowing how the story would end. Earlier films like Snow White and the Huntsman, Hansel and Gretel: WitchHunters, and Jack the Giant Slayer, addressed this by adding some sort of twist the plot: Snow White became the leader of an army, Hansel and Gretel are…well..witch hunters, and a mind-controlling crown was thrown in in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk to make it a bit more interesting. With the 2015 Cinderella film, there’s nothing new in the story, and it’s basically a retelling of the tamed version of Cinderella’s story (I say tamed because the original version by The Brothers Grimm isn’t exactly as cute).

It wasn’t a happy ending for everyone in the Brothers Grimm version.

Heck, the trailer already shows everything that happens in the movie. From the ill-treatment at home, to the fairy godmother, and finally having the glass slipper, the teaser-trailer already shows us everything there is to expect in the story, that it’s only reasonable to anticipate some sort of surprise up in the sleeves of the movie makers. Alas, we didn’t get any.

If Cinderella already had a horse, why did the fairy godmother have to transform those poor mice?

I asked my lady friends what they liked about the movie so much, given that there wasn’t really anything that’s significantly different that happened in the plot. The say that the characters in the film were more developed, in the sense that we get to see the motivations behind their actions – like why the evil stepmother is the way she is, and we even get a peek at Cinderella’s life with her biological parents. Another thumbs-up for my lady-friends was the fact that the love story wasn’t a love at first sight situation. The Prince didn’t see Cinderella the first time at the ball – he meets her earlier in the forest and her aura of mystery and innocence is what fuels his desire for her, and explains why he’s so into her in the first place.

What is it about Disney villains and lime-green?

To be fair, they did have a point.  The characters in the film were indeed well-developed compared to the cardboard cutout , one-dimensional personalities of the characters in our storybooks. We can probably treat this movie as a comprehensive version of Cinderella’s story – one that gives emphasis to the characters much more than the magic and the love story.
Still, I’d rather see something new in a classic fairytale or if we can’t have that, maybe make the adaptation a bit more with contemporary through modern spectacle and humor. If you ask me, I enjoyed more the version of Into the Woods (the flirtatious Prince is probably the answer to the twist and humor I’m looking for).  But that’s coming from a guy who doesn’t enjoy seeing films about love stories.

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Credits to the images, videos, and materials  used in this post go to “Cinderella” and/or to their respective owners. .I do not own these materials. No copyright infringement intended.