After last week’s release of Disney’s live action Cinderella (the UK gets film about 8 light years after the rest of the world), I thought I’d take the opportunity to adore one of Walt’s original princesses- in an aptly named list:
The Casting: after a live action is announced the first thing to be criticized is the cast, conversations such as “Wait! Isn’t that the girl from that film with that guy who saves that dolphin from drowning?” and “He just hasn’t got the right earlobes, if you ask me” start to circulate. Fans and trolls alike swarm to twitter to discuss the proportions of famous faces to newcomers as well as predicting who they’ll ship a year in advance. However Cinderella has been cast faultlessly with Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden and Helena Bonham Carter just to name a few, gracing the screen with a remarkably talent filled presence that gives the animated characters a run for their money. God bless Lucy Bevan. .
The Costumes: you know that princess dress you always wanted as a kid? Yep, Lily James is wearing it. And the year after? Yep, Holliday Grainger’s got that covered. Prom? Look no further than the hundreds of extras dressed up to the nines for the royal ball. I’m pretty sure you could buy a small family of narwhals for the cost of the costumes, but when they look that good? We’ll let Disney off…just let us have a twirl every now and then, yeah?
The Lily James: until really recently I thought you were a married Lily Collins, however now I’ve been informed otherwise I want to thank you for being such an incredible Cinderella- not only because you look and sound the part but- because you’re the type of woman that young girls should aspire to be. Grounded, kind and NORMAL LOOKING. It’s so refreshing to have someone on screen that radiates prettiness simply by the way they are, instead of through fakery and falseness. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Miss James.
THE SONG: don’t you dare pretend you haven’t been singing it in your sleep- all together now “Lavender’s blue, dilly, dilly, lavender’s greennnnnn, when I am king, dilly, dilly, you shall be queennnnnnnn”
The Queen: I refuse to write a piece on Cinderella without dedicating a section to HRH Helena Bonham Carter who plays the Fairy Godmother (aka herself) with such a whimsical eccentricity that I almost personally complained to the film releasing board- whatever you’re proper name is- about her lack of air time. As Disney performances go, I didn’t think it was possible to top the Red Queen, but wow she competes.
The Interview: as much as we love you Cinders, we can’t deny that Disney’s first attempt to bring you to life in 1950 reflected the gender roles of the time rather passionately- but now? I think Hayley Atwell summed the modernisation up perfectly when she said “Cinderella isn’t about a man saving her, it is a woman saving herself.” So kudos to you Kenneth Branagh, your alterations to this traditional tale may be small- the Prince is actually given a name, the fact Kit meets Ella before the ball and the new found strength of her Mother’s character, to name a handful- but they are greatly appreciated.
The Carriage: *Toy Story alien voice* ooooooooooooooooh
The Happy Cinema Faces: massively huge THANKING YOUS for all the princesses that donated their Cinderella pictures to my blog: Em (who’s also responsible for the exhibit photos), Yvonne, Mae, Allison and Amanda, think of how boring this would be without your faces brightening my words up!
The Exhibit: London: on any other day I would limit your description to overpriced, crowded and cold, but after the Swarovski exhibit in Leicester Square my faith in the capital has been restored. Over 30 costumes, 100+ props and 1.7 MILLION crystals later, fans could quite literally interact with the film’s set and gawp at that real life glass slipper. (I’ve heard it’s basically a souped-up crown jewels.)
The Message: Cinderella-who I have notably renamed Kinderella- teaches children to “Have Courage and Be Kind”, which I personally adore. (Warning: we’re about to get deeply feminist) I have since read many articles suggesting this kind of message is ‘Holding Girls Back’ and presenting women as ‘Doormats’- but they all fail to notice that when the Prince is kind he doesn’t reflect these weaknesses. How can we say niceness in women is a flaw, but in men it is not? Instead of being a word we should use to empower ourselves and future generations, ‘kindness’ is getting confused with being passive, shy or complaisant, tainting its true meaning. Being kind is not a disposal of power nor a trait that should be looked down on and Lily James proves this to her audience as hers is the story that ends with a happily ever after.
So yonder fourth boys and girls, with courage, kindness and Cinderella selfies, while I work out what yonder actually means.