Earlier in the year (back in the spring) my friend wanted to see the live-action film version of Disney’s Cinderella, and so I accompanied her.
When it comes to the online world, Cinderella is not typically considered a prime role model for the “modern female”. Cinderella being the traditional “rags-to-riches” story depicted a young lady forced to be a servant in the home that she grew up in by a step mother and step siblings, her fairy godmother creates the means for Cinderella to go to the ball, she meets the prince, they fall in love, she flees, and the prince finds her.
On the surface it appears that actions happen to and around her in order for her happily ever after to come around. In a way emphasizing the notion that “good things comes to those who wait” which in today’s modernized way of thinking, is not always the case.
Disney’s original animated classic, stays along the lines of that mythos, that someone that was neglected and abused and quieted would one day receive their reward for their kindness. Although this is typically true in the sense of karma in today’s world, what is not necessarily true is the sense that things will happen to the protagonist, versus the protagonist seeking out what they desire.
Granted if there is anything that the Cinderella does emphasis to their audience and is something that I would emphasize as well is to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (which if memory serves is a biblical verse, but I am not going to go and do any comparisons at this point in time).
So how does Disney’s live action version of Cinderella compare to that of the original animated classic?
Well for starters, I found myself enjoying the film so much that I am already looking into purchasing the BluRay whenever it comes out.
Most of the characterizations are as you have come to expect between the two versions, but a few exceptions:
The Prince (Charming aka “Kit”): He actually has a bit of a character arc in this film! He goes from being someone just trying to please his father and do what is expected to coming into his own (albeit very subtly) and making choices and decisions that made sense to him versus “what is done”. His father (The King) sees this change and acts / reacts accordingly. It isn’t a massive piece of the story and it did take meeting Cinderella to for him to see that sometimes “what is done” isn’t what “should be done”.
The Grand Duke: He has a bit more of a presense in this film and it takes a while to see exactly where he stands. A lot of what he does in this film is not that much more from the original animated classic, but it is interesting what a couple more scenes and a few well placed lines could do to adjust a character from supporting to key player.
Cinderella: Characterization-wise she did not change much. She promises to her biological parents that she would “be kind and have courage”, stays with her step family as a promise to her father despite how they treat her. She has moments where she disappears from the home to clear her mind and for that moment of “escapism” that we all probably needed every now and then. However, what has changed is her willingness to stick with what she believes in and putting her foot down when it really matters. She knows she cannot change her step family’s ways (she has probably tried), but her words do end up carrying weight with others when it is needed… and this (to me) demonstrates a kind of inner, quiet strength that may not have come across nearly as well in the original animated version.
There are no songs from the original animated classic that came into this film. In fact there is almost no singing at all, except for a quick lullaby that most Disney aficionados will recognize that carries throughout the film.
All in all if I were to show / choose which version of the film to show my daughter I would probably go with the live-action version versus the animated classic. Granted there are other fairy tales / films that would be better suited as a role model… but that is neither here nor now.