Brandy Norwood became the first African-American to play Cinderella. This version broke viewer ship records when it debuted, and it holds the record for the bestselling video for a made-for-TV movie. See more »
When Cinderella and her fairy godmother are in the pumpkin going to the ball at the end of "Impossible/It's Possible," watch Whitney Houston's mouth. There's one point where she's singing and her jaw is moving as if there is vibrato in the note, but if you listen to the note, it's a straight tone. See more »
[after Fairy Godmother turns the pumpkin into a carriage]
Oh my goodness.
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If there's anything to be criticized in the Cinderella story, it's the fundamental premise that Cinderella is passive...but then it's a one-plot story that doesn't give her the chance to "evolve" as Harry Potter does. But don't we all wish to have our problems solved and our dreams made to come true for us?
I love this updated version of the story because, at least for me and my family, it represents a double fantasy of the way the world should be. While the multi-colored cast might be jarring for those who knew the original version (which I saw as a kid), I thought it was brilliant. My kids don't look like me--my daughter is Chinese and my son is Guatemalan. So for them to see a black queen and a white king with an Asian son, who falls in love with the beautiful but misused black stepdaughter of a white woman with one black and one white daughter--neither of whom look remotely like her--isn't as un-real (or merely PC) as some people might think. For my family, it's an affirmation of modern reality. For my daughter to see a handsome Asian prince fall in love with a beautiful dark-skinned Cinderella is incredibly powerful.
Also, while I am not a huge fan of any one person in the cast, I thought they all performed wonderfully within the limits of the genre. Peters' "Falling in love with love" blew me away, because it actually gives you a moment of real sympathy for the stepmother--no one is wicked always, it seems to say, and heartbreak has hardened her heart against her beautiful stepdaughter. Instead of merely evil, she becomes tragic.
The costumes and sets were great--firmly placing this in the vaguely "old world" romantic place that fairy tales live--the pop stylings and characters of the actors instantly make this a period piece of the late 20th century--but that's just fine. Cinderella will be reborn many times in the coming generations.
It would be nice to see a subtle re-working of Cinderella with even more sympathy for the stepmother and sisters, and a little more complexity of character and plot to make the heroine and hero less two-dimensional--but then it wouldn't really be a children's movie, would it?
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