Film review: Disney live-action Cinderella & new short Frozen Fever

I don’t know anybody (boys included) who hasn’t watched the classic Disney animated film Cinderella at least twice. The expectations for a live-action feature movie were very high and have not been disappointed. The new Disney live-action Cinderella is the truest adaptation to film and more traditional retelling of the classic cartoon fairytale. Here is why London Mums’ believe this is a perfect family film for this Spring and beyond. Cinderella collage

The story

Do we need to tell you how the story goes? Really?

The story of Cinderella follows the fortunes of young Ella (Downton Abbey‘s star Lily James) whose merchant father remarries following the death of her mother. Eager to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother (Cate Blanchett – the real superstar of the movie) and her daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera) into the family home. But, when Ella’s father unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” She will not give in to despair nor despise those who mistreat her. And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an apprentice at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming Kit (Game of Thrones star Richard Madden). Alas, her evil stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand, and a kindly beggar woman (Helena Bonham Carter) steps forward and – armed with a pumpkin and a few mice – changes Cinderella’s life forever.

 

The trailer

 

The verdict

The undisputed queens of this Disney production are Cate Blanchett (the wicked stepmother Lady Tremaine) and Helena Bonham Carter (in the scene-stealing role of the Fairy Godmother). Their performances are stellar. The youngest cast does not disappoint either. It is refreshing to have British cast in so many ‘good-hearted’ roles in a big Hollywood production for a change. We are so used to associate British accent with the super villains in films, aren’t we?

The strikingly vivid photography, colours of the outfits as well as locations are so distinctive and original that will be memorable for many years to come. Also British is the iconic director Kenneth Branagh who worked from a screenplay by American writer Chris Weitz. I guess Britain will continue to be the perfect location for more Hollywood productions. And not just for its tax benefits …. the British team both behind and in front of the camera is the pride and joy of British film industry.

Cinderella

Richard Madden as the Prince in Disney’s live-action CINDERELLA is not disappointing. The chemistry with Lily James ‘Cinderella’ is not excellent but for a family movie works just fine.

The film has many funny moments and the young girls from the London Mums’ Kids Club who came with me celebrating their birthdays at the UK premiere suggested the following: the smelly feet (down to the ‘yeast’) of the fat maiden who wanted to try the glass shoe and marry the prince, pumpkin transformation into the golden carriage, Cinderella getting back into her dirty old clothes after midnight, the little mice helpers, all animals friends of Cinderella and many more. Those hilarious moments were tainted by important deaths though.

Contrary to the classic cartoon where you don’t know the parents of Cinderella, in this movie the audience is faced with the death of both Ella’s parents as well the prince’s father. This can be a bit tough on the children watching It. But as it seems Disney is showing what life is about – both the good and the bad – and we have experienced similar deaths in Frozen, Maleficent and Big Hero 6. Often the kids are cooler than the parents about death. Children in the audience were not too bothered about that while the mums were more worried about their reactions.

Mums rating: 8/10
Kids rating: 10/10

Disney live-action Cinderella is in UK cinemas from 27 March 2015.

Frozen Fever

Following the huge success of Frozen, a all-new 7 minutes film Frozen Fever welcomes Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf back to the big screen, right before Disney’s Cinderella. Maybe Disney thought that it would attract all millions of Frozen fans to Cinderella, but actually the short film is a small treat for a potential future Frozen sequel yet to be announced. But Cinderella really doesn’t need any extra push because it is the real show stealer.

disney frozen fever logo

In Frozen Fever, it’s Anna’s birthday and Elsa and Kristoff are determined to give her the best celebration ever, but Elsa’s icy powers may put more than just the party at risk. The audience (and our Kids Club’s girls in particular) loved the little snowmen that came out of Elsa every time she sneezed. They cause a lot of mischief to the party…

Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, and produced by Peter Del Vecho and Aimee Scribner, with an all-new original song by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Frozen Fever marks the first project reuniting the Oscar®-winning original team from Disney’s FROZEN.

FROZEN

FROZEN won two Academy Awards® (best animated film and best original song with Let It Go) and a Golden Globe® (best animated feature film). It is the fifth highest grossing film of all time and the highest grossing animated film earning more than $1.27 billion globally.

Frozen Fever is in cinemas (with Cinderella) from 27 March 2015.

Here are images from the premiere of Cinderella in London. Girls and London Mums’ contributors did certainly have a ball and posed with the gorgeous Princes who were available.

 Cinderella Amelie girls and prince collage Cinderella Monica & Princes collage

cinderella monica & london mums poster cinderella monica poster

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