The Grumpy Man’s Review of Cinderella – WARNING SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD

SeanDohertyOk, so this review of the movie Cinderella really isn’t a SPOILER in the sense that unless you’ve been living on Pluto, you know how the story ends. I could go on for days about how people were shocked and saddened when they saw the movie Titanic, but really, what did they think was going to happen? The movie Cinderella is made by the same producer who did Maleficent with Angelina Jolie so I had high hopes for the film since that movie was dark but still wonderful. I was greatly mistaken. Now, just to prove to you that I love all things make believe, let me inform you that I have seen every incarnation of Cinderella from the original Rogers and Hammerstein play, to the Disney cartoon, to the one with Whitney Houston and Brandy where nobody seemed to question how Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber ended up with a son who was Filipino.

The Movie Setting: Cinderella is, by definition, a French folktale. The “wicked stepmother” is actually named Lady Tremaine, a distinctly French name and yet, the entire cast was English. Now, rather than have the movie take place France or in England or “In A Kingdom Far Away,” the movie made the kingdom seem like another planet. The geography was landlocked, on a river, and by a cliff ALL AT THE SAME TIME! They had absurd names for people in the kingdom (that was never named) and of the supposedly neighboring kingdoms, alien names that I can’t even remember because they were that ridiculous. I think one was named Schizara and I don’t know if that was a person or a place.

The Cast: Cinderella has an amazing cast including Cate Blanchett, that girl from Downton Abbey as Cinderella, that other girl from Downton Abbey as one of the step sisters, and that guy from Downton Abbey as the Captain of the King’s army. I mean really? Is there nobody else in England looking for work? And aren’t these people sick enough of dressing like they’re in 1900s England and now they have to be in 1600s France? If I saw any of them on the red carpet I probably wouldn’t recognize them because they’re finally wearing makeup and heels.

The Plot: This is a CHILDREN’S MOVIE. It is rated PG and was made by Disney. The audience of the theater I was in consisted of me, five other friends in their 20s and toddlers. Within the first five minutes of the movie children were crying. Why? Because unlike any of the other fun, animated, and suitable-for-children versions of Cinderella, in this one we get to watch Cindy’s mom die. Oh yes, Barbara-Hershey-in-Beaches die. Why was this needed? This was the 1600s and divorce wasn’t that common . . . unless you were married to Henry VIII and we all know how well that worked out. We get that she ends up with a stepmother and unless there’s a Real Housewives of Disney somewhere that Cinderella’s mom ended up on, chances are even the youngest of children could put together that her mom died. We did not have to see it unfold and it was heartbreaking. I also might have cried.

Then, the dad dies. We don’t see it but we do get to see Cinderella receiving the news of her now orphan status, and, again, this isn’t a new story and we certainly could have been spared. Looking for even more Disney despair? Don’t worry, soon after the ball that is thrown by the Prince and his father, The King, we get to be bedside while the Prince has his final goodbyes with the King, because then we watch him die. Honestly, I thought Nicholas Sparks directed this. It was so sadder than The Notebook.

There was no singing for 99% of the movie. NONE. There was classical orchestra music which we all know children have a great ear for, but up until the end when the forgotten servant girl in her digitally enhanced corset giving her an 11” waist (way to go again Disney, positive body image all around) sits in her attic singing Blue Lavender, we don’t hear a single note from anyone else.

I could get into my thoughts on the actual acting but for what it was, everyone was fine. Just fine, nothing exceptional which disappointed me because although I find Cate Blanchett to be a very talented actress, her role in the movie did not allow her to really go full range and that was disappointing. She looked AMAZING though and really, isn’t that all that matters?

The Saving Grace: There was one part of the movie that made the $17 ticket, $25 popcorn, $38 slushy and a room of screaming children all worth it, though, and that was Helena Bonham Carter! Helena Bonham Carter (HBC for short) was the most amazing part of the entire movie! If you’ve seen her work then you know how great her skills are. She can play a crazy queen in Alice In Wonderland, a crazy witch in Harry Potter, and a crazy pie maker in Sweeney Todd. I’m actually not being sarcastic. She is the best actress to make crazy people look amazing and this was no different. Rather than your typical lace and white glove, older, and caring Fairy Godmother, HBC took the character and made her…you guessed it AMAZING AND CRAZY. Her look was a cross between Patty Stone in Absolutely Fabulous and Dina Lohan. She was less “Fairy Godmother” and more “Crazy Stage Mom.” She was funny. She was flighty. SHE DID NOT SING but she did an amazing job. They also capped her teeth and just like Meryl Streep looks so different with new eyebrows every movie, those pearly whites on HBC made all the difference.

Final Verdict: I am a 28-year-old male who found this movie to be depressing. There’s your barometer. Save it for Netflix and save your pennies for Frozen 2. I’m also running low on sleep so if this blog is exceptionally grouchy, that could be it too.

Until next time!


About Sean Doherty

Sean Doherty is the mid-day host weekdays on 99.9 the Q.
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Hyannis, MA 02601
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