Of all the Disney stories, Cinderella was not one of my favorite princesses. There has always been a slight discontentment with the story. As with any bright Disney story, it has been filtered from a much darker story collected by the Grimm Brothers. Pretty fascinating that the animated Disney version of the Evil stepmother was so wonderful that she became the focal villain not the originally intended stepsisters. The sisters have since been relegated to be foolish, spoiled creatures.
The story proceeds as follows: Ella becomes an orphan after losing her father. Her Stepmother and stepdaughters take it upon themselves to make Ella a servant dubbing her Cinderella. There is a ball where the Prince is to choose a bride. The step mother and daughters leave Cinderella behind to pursue the prince. A fairy godmother appears and grants Cinderella everything she needs to meet the Prince: a dress, carriage, and livery to assist her. This is the crowning moment of all Cinderella stories, the transformation, the makeover sweetness. She loses her shoe at the stroke of midnight due to weird time guidelines that I believe was established by Disney. The Prince proclaims to marry whoever fits the shoe. Lots of searching, he finds her, they marry.
These are the essential plot points in the Cinderella story and they have been explored, examined and play around with countless and countless of times. There have been really great versions such as Ever After with Drew Barrymore and the television version of Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Brandy and Whitney Houston. These and other versions filled in the gaps that Disney had left open. They have either expanded on the romance between Cinderella and the Prince (love at first sight and based off a shoe fit. Not romantic) or the relationship between Cinderella and the Stepmother. Disney has decided to fill the gaps too. There is definitely more weight and foundation to the romance between the Prince and Cinderella. There is a sort of reason why the stepmother acts they way she does, but it’s just left open in the air.
Story, schormy. We’ve all seen the original and Disney-version of Cinderella. What hasn’t been left said can be filled by our own imaginations. However people feel about the character, we all still watch it for the transformation scene. For the success of the Disney animation found the sweet spot that got our attention: the shiny, magnificent dress that appear out nowhere that fits smoothly. Most women who struggle between breathing and heavily sobbing can agree that finding a dress like that is pretty sweet indeed.
So the live action version took it a step further than just fleshing out their animated feature. It’s all about the fashion and it’s all about that Dress. Oh yeah, it’s gonna get girly.
Sandy Powell is the costume designer behind all the magnificent creations in the movie. Her costumes pretty much defined the characters and amplified the persona that the actresses play. The role of the Stepmother, the iconic villainess of the movie, was played by Cate Blanchett. Just like the animated version, Blanchett was adorned with slim fitting outfits that bespoke rigidity, control, and pure power. Each of her outfits were gloriously beautiful. Even though Cinderella, played by Lily James, wore the swishy blue gown, the stepmothers wardrobe warranted the most attention to detail.
So that brings me to the Dress. The Dress that was created by the Fairy Godmother (played in a low-key way by Helena Bonham Carter), the Dress that defined the Disney Character. Through a transformation sequence where she spins over and over, the Dress was a layered heap of satin that whenever she twirled (and the movie made sure she did plenty of that), levels of envy would rise within me. Reflecting the kind character of Cinderella, the Dress was simple but layered with differed colors of satin but the main color was the iconic blue. The only bit of annoyance for myself was the addition of the tiny blue butterflies across the trim. For those growing up in the nineties, this brought back painful fashion nostalgia. Of course it is symbolic, so I understand the addition. Still, this memory makes me cringe. More of Powell’s creations were highlighted in a Vogue article that you can see here.
Sincerely hope that there is an exhibit with the costumes from this movie. I want to see upfront the shiny beauty of it all.
I’m still pining away for another 2-D masterpiece from Disney, so I’m usually pretty reluctant to watch new ones, especially live action ones. Thus said, my expectations were set pretty looooooow walking into the theater. Especially with this movie, I had no expectations other than I just want to see the Dress. It was profoundly surprisingly that I left that theater completely in a dreamy trance. The story was sweet and the details were beautiful. It is becoming a repetitive but this movie was truly beautiful. Somehow, this live action version brought back the same feeling as I had when I watched the animated version. I may not relate to Cinderella but I still watch it.It’s a complete mode of escapism. Although my VHS copy has long since expired, I’m pretty sure that Disney will release a special edition of their animated version at some point.
Just a side mention: Lucifer on a leash? No.
Cinderella opens nationwide on March 13, 2015.