The new Cinderella has come at last! I just saw the movie today, and it was so worth it!
I was glad that they stayed true to the original Disney version of the movie for the most part. I was a bit disappointed that the mice didn't talk and sing, but they still did communicate with Ella. I really liked how Ella had this connection with the mice and other animals, and how she always stayed true to follow what her mother told her before she died: Have courage and be kind. This is really the heart of the film, and it is repeated many times throughout it. Ella is always kind everyone, including people who treat her like dirt, and she never ever complains. She has courage to not just help herself, but others as well, and to spread her message to the prince, who takes it to heart, and falls in love with Ella because of her kindness and courage. This is one of the things the naysayers of Cinderella should reconsider (along with other things...), because if they say that "Ella doesn't do anything but just gets a prince and lives happily ever after", then they should remember that we get what we give: if we give out kindness to others, it will come back to us in turn, and likewise for hatred. What kind of story would it be if the stepmother got what she wanted and married off one of her daughters to the prince instead? She was the conniving and blackmailing one, so what kind of message would the movie be giving if she got her way? What kind of world do you want to live in? In any case, whether there are such things as fairy godmothers or not, the message that courage and kindness pay off is a good one.
Lily James was great as Cinderella. I wouldn't say perfect, but she was a very real and compassionate Ella, and she had the right look for the part, as well as an innocent expression and strength behind it. The prince was really good, and he even looked kind of like the prince in the original film, but he wasn't as handsome as I had hoped. Maybe I just thought he looked too old. Not that it really matters though :) But he had a name! It was Kitt: ok, so kind of disappointing, but better than no-name. Also, his relationship with his father was well done. His father (the king) was dying and trying to prepare his son to be king. They spoke on numerous occasions about who he should marry, and eventually, his father came around to seeing that he should marry for love and not for some proficient matching for the kingdom. The prince was saying they should find strength in their own kingdom and not elsewhere. Also a good message.
And I loved the animations and the costumes! The animals were cute, and it was really well done when they transformed into people (or almost people--you could still tell the gecko wasn't fully human). The glass slippers were beautiful, and the butterflies on them and Ella's dress were perfect. The dress was amazing, and wasn't over the top (though the poofyness was a bit much...). Everything just looked so authentic. The costumes were realistic, and I loved the dresses! The castle was beautiful, nothing like the Disney World castle, but it did have that long staircase and beautiful gardens that Ella and the prince walk through. It was a "secret garden" (they even called it that) complete with swing and all (not sure if this was an intentional reference to Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden).
Though one thing I was disappointed about was the lack of music. Or at least, if there was music, I didn't notice it much. Ella did sing once, but this is Cinderella we're talking about. She needed to sing more! Ok, so this review might be sounding a bit odd with my "I want singing mice and more Cinderella singing," but I'm comparing it to the original Disney movie. Lily James was a good singer though, so it was a wasted opportunity not to have her sing more.
Another thing was that there wasn't much magic. It was really just the fairy godmother, but that was alright: it was not supposed to be a "fantasy" movie really, but something that could have happened. The kingdom was one on Earth, and it was supposed to be "real" (just like the original Disney film).