Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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Cinderella

Film #240

THE PLOT

When Cinderella’s cruel stepmother prevents her from attending the Royal Ball, she gets some unexpected help from the lovable mice Gus and Jaq, and from her Fairy Godmother.

Year 1, Day 242

BEFORE: So, I needed to take another day off to finish up a few segments and prep for my midterm tomorrow, but I’m back for a quick film today, Cinderella. Going back to some old-school animation, Clyde Geronimi (director of both Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland) returns to finish off the animation chain with a one-two punch (Sleeping Beauty being the other). I do recall seeing Cinderella as a kid and it’s one of the stories I’m more familiar with so it should be interesting to see how it’s held up.

AFTER: Out of all the films I’ve seen in this animation chain, Cinderella is the closest to a fairy tale and it’s very evident in the style. The film even starts out with “Once upon a time” and a shot showing the book and flipping pages. In some ways this is a good thing and in others it is not. Let me try and explain.

The best thing about this story and this film is the comical and piecemeal development. A lot of the entertainment for me came from watching the various animals around the house like the mice Gus and Jaq, the cat Lucifer, and the dog Bruno. Their characterization made them such easy to understand and therefore appreciate their perils and accomplishments. Every time the mice come and Lucifer come on screen you know it’s going to be a good scene. The other word I used was piecemeal. When I watched Alice in Wonderland I noted the film was very episodic which in that case hurt it. But piecemeal is different than episodic and in Cinderella, these smaller scenes were much better connected and didn’t feel separate.

But there’s also part of this fairy tale style that I didn’t enjoy so much mainly the myriad of questions that came to mind. Things like the fairy godmother, the talking animals, and the coincidental actions (e.g. the movements of the mice around the house) aren’t what I have issue with. It’s a fairy tale, there has to be some suspension of disbelief and some expectation of coincidences. But there are some other questions that aren’t as easy to look past and they include, but are not limited to: why does the glass slipper keep falling off Cinderella’s foot if it fits so well, the animals are nice but is this a story about the animals or Cinderella, and if Cinderella is the stepmother’s daughter (through her second marriage to her father) why would she try and keep her from marrying the Prince especially after her own daughters didn’t make the cut.

Cinderella is about the same as I remembered it from all those years ago: a decent film but nothing really memorable about it. Sure, the mice stuck with me and were just as funny but most of the story doesn’t really have a solid hook. The issues with the story, while possibly not important for a child who is watching the film, still effect the overall quality. In other words, many great moments of entertainment that ultimately fall flat.

RATING: 3 out of 5