Disney Cinderella opens in the United States March 13, 2015. Preceding the film is a new Disney Animation Studios short titled “Frozen Fever”. Below is a relatively spoiler free overview and my first impressions of this new Disney film and short.
Frozen Fever –
A seven minute animated short that picks up the story not long after the Frozen film ended. Elsa has planned a “prefect day” to celebrate Anna’s birthday, the first she has been able to celebrate with her sister in years. Unfortunately a cold is taking hold and could ruin the day. The original voice talent is reunited with the directors and other team members from the feature film. The short features all the key characters from the original film including Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven and of course Olaf. Even Oaken, Hans and Marshmallow make appearances. A new set of characters, snowbabies, are introduced in the short as is a new song – “Making Today a Perfect Day”. If you are interested in hearing the song, which is just under 5 minutes of the short, Disney has posted the audio to the DisneyPlayList Blog
This live action version of the classic 1950 Disney animated film of the same title transports you into the fairytale world of Ella. The basic plot and many key elements stay true to the original Disney film.
A quick recap for anyone who has not seen or remembers the plot: Ella looses her mom at a young age and her father remarries. Her step mother and step sisters move in and she is forced to adapt to her new life. Her father also dies leaving her with her step family who over the years treats her more as a servant then member of the family. A grand ball is thrown by the King and Prince to look for a wife for the Prince and all maidens are invited to attend. Cinderella is told she cannot go to the ball and is left at home. Thanks to her fairy godmother she is given the opportunity to attend but must leave by midnight when all the magic that enabled her to go expires. She arrives in grand fashion and enjoys the ball and spends time with the Prince. She cuts it close and quickly fleas the castle as the clock is striking midnight. In her escape she leaves behind a glass slipper. There is a kingdom wide search for the mystery woman that fits the glass slipper. Cinderella is found and she and the prince live happily ever after.
Geek’s 1st Impressions:
Frozen Fever –
I found to be an entertaining short and fun to revisit the world of our Frozen friends. The new song fits into the same mold as the originals and the new snow baby characters seem to be a perfect fit for Disney merchandise sales and kids will be wanting them. I think Frozen fans of all ages will enjoy the short and most likely want more, the 7 minutes goes by extremely quickly. If you are one of the couple people on the planet that have not seen Frozen the short can stand on its own, you just will not know the backstory.
Overall I enjoyed the film and found it true to the original. If you are a fan of Disney fairy tales you should not be disappointed with the film. If you were expecting a different angle or twist on the story you will be disappointed.
A challenge for this film was how do you retell a story most of the audience knows and many cherish. They had strike the right balance between a new film and including story elements the audience is expecting to see, all the while making something that can stand on its own and entertain audiences. For this retelling the filmmakers opted to stay true to the original and not stray too far afield. Some changes were made due to the medium of live actors vs animation. After screening the film I think they struck a good balance. They pay homage to the Disney original and stay true to the story while exploring the characters a little more and filling in some additional pieces of the story that the animated film did not cover. It is interesting to note that this is not a musical and the songs have been removed (or moved to the credits). There are some references to Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, So this is Love, and a Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes but if you are expecting to hear them in the film you will not unless you stay through the credits.
The look and feel of Cinderella is classic Hollywood. Down to the detail of actually being shot on film vs digital even. The grand sets, composition, and story feel as if this film could have been made decades ago (ignoring the CG effects and other modern elements that go into production now a days). I think this look and feel worked very well for a classic fairy tale.
I can already hear young children echoing the soon to be iconic line from the film… “Have courage and be kind”. Which if the follow the advice will not be bad. In addition to this enlightenment as to why Cinderella acts the way she does she is also portrayed in a more modern light as a stronger role model/woman. The prince is also explored more deeply in the film with the relationship between him and his father and his motivations and views on marriage.
Parents should know the film is a tad on the long side for younger children, clocking in at 112 minutes and there are some relatively slow parts. Be warned some of the action sequences and transformation scenes are a little loud and dark. And the mice plus some lizards do get some screen time if you are squeamish about those types of critters, they are all computer generated but still some are sensitive to this.
El Capitan –
I had the opportunity to attend a screening at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. From March 13- April 16 Cinderella will be playing there and the theatre features some props from the film including Cinderella’s blue dress and a glass slipper which I was able to see. There will also be an immersive light and projection show before the film (this was not running when I visited).