Cinderella Returns With More Focus On Strength Than Dependency
By: Megan Bell
The traditional, timeless tale of Cinderella has once again been recreated. This will be the 13th adaptation of the 400-year-old story since 2000. Irish Director Sir Kenneth Branagh has reimagined the live-action Disney film.
Branagh has directed 16 films including Henry V, Thor and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. He has also produced, written for and acted in many others.
His version of Cinderella stays true to the Disney classic, but adds scenes to help develop the characters and their relationships. He said the screenwriter, Chris White, produced a script that diverted the story from viewing Cinderella as “a passive victim waiting for a guy.” White took the time to allow the character to become intelligent and strong, as well as give her the chance to let a relationship develop with the prince. White also had the stepmother explain part of her backstory and the reasoning behind her motives.
There has been a lot of controversy of Cinderella’s dress in the newest film, since the poster was been released. Arguments have been made the dress was digitally altered. Branagh quickly denied the speculation and simply stated she wore a corset. Lily James, who plays Cinderella, joked she was tied in “within an inch of my life.”
James, known for her role as Cousin Rose on Downton Abbey, had originally auditioned for the role of Anastasia, one of the evil stepsisters, but Branagh recalled as soon as he heard her warm voice, he knew she was the perfect Cinderella. She’s partnered with the bright blue-eyed Richard Madden from Game of Thrones. A couple more familiar faces include Cate Blanchett from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, who plays the wicked stepmother, and Helena Bonham Carter from the Harry Potter films and Alice in Wonderland, who plays the Fairy Godmother.
Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell created the magic behind the outfits seen in the modern Cinderella, including the magnificent ball gown and glass slippers made of Swarovski crystal.
Branagh is cautious to not take away from the film’s artistic aspects by using too much CGI. The only scene that uses major effects is the big transformation, when mice turn into horses, lizards to footmen and a pumpkin grows to the size of a carriage.
Critics have given Branagh’s adaptation two thumbs up.
“Branagh, working with a high-wattage cast led by the winsome and genuine Lily James, sticks to tried-and-true narrative formula, and infuses it with wit and style. If the glass slipper ain't broke, he seems to be saying, why fix it?” -Associated Press
“Refreshingly traditional in a revisionist era, Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella proves Disney hasn't lost any of its old-fashioned magic.” -Rotten Tomatoes
Cinderella hits theaters everywhere this Thursday, March 11, 2015.