ASHES TO ASHES: Movie review of Cinderella by Howard Casner

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cinderellaThere is one absolutely lovely and magical moment in the new live action, non-musical Disney version of the animated, fully musicalized Disney version of the classic Charles Perrault fairy tale Cinderella.

Our titular character, frustrated and defeated by the cruel treatment at the hands of her step-mother and step-sisters, takes to horse and rides off into a distant woods where she stops the Prince from hunting down a stag.

What’s wonderful about this scene is that the previously optimistic (and rather annoyingly Pollyanish at times) Cinderella is finally the person she really is, beaten down, sad, furious at the circumstances she has found herself in, while the Prince, in turn, is finally the person he isn’t: here he pretends to be a mere apprentice and not royalty.

Who’d have thought something this sophisticated, clever and witty would have come from a carefully fine-tuned and micromanaged to the nth degree movie from the Disney studios, but the screenwriter Chris Weitz (who has given us such fun bon bons as Antz and About a Boy) pulled off something of a coup in this particular scene.

Other than that, for my money, Cinderella is something of a mixed bag when it comes to success. I know it’s been socking it away at the box office, but I’m afraid that it only intermittently works for me. Read the rest of this entry »