When Cinderella's cruel stepmother prevents her from attending the Royal Ball, she gets some unexpected help from the lovable mice Gus and Jaq, and from her Fairy Godmother.When Cinderella's cruel stepmother prevents her from attending the Royal Ball, she gets some unexpected help from the lovable mice Gus and Jaq, and from her Fairy Godmother.When Cinderella's cruel stepmother prevents her from attending the Royal Ball, she gets some unexpected help from the lovable mice Gus and Jaq, and from her Fairy Godmother.
It DOES look good. The backgrounds are subtle and consistent; the colours are pure without being too bright. The animation varies a bit. I'll swear that some of the humans are rotoscoped - but then, the rotoscoped humans (including Cinderella herself) aren't full-blooded characters in the script, so this approach works well enough. It's really the animals that make the movie. I think the studio had never quite used animals in this way before, as totems rather than sidekicks. The mice, for instance, are the creatures who draw us into the story; but they are really representatives or allies of the more colourless Cinderella. The cat, Lucifer, is a kind of witch's familiar to the Wicked Stepmother. (The cat is brilliantly conceived and animated - one of the best feline creations of all time. The supervising animator was Ward Kimball and he modelled it on his own cat. I wonder how he put up with the animal.) This approach allows the animals to steal the show without drawing our attention from the main story. Their actions are of maximum interest only in the light of the main story.
Among the supporting cast the notable humans are the King and the Grand Duke. The King is a one note character - he wants grandchildren and appears to have no other desires at all - but the note is struck in a pleasing fashion. The Grand Duke is a put-upon character who deserves to be lifted out of his sphere as much as Cinderella does. (Although he, of course, is richer.)
"Cinderella" is Disney's return to features after an eight-year hiatus, and neither with it nor with any subsequent movie would he recapture the raw brilliance of his early years. Moreover he made things hard for himself by picking "Cinderella". She's a passive heroine and there's not much anyone can do about that. (Maybe I'm wrong on this score - I haven't seen the recent "Ever After".) Nonetheless it is remarkable how successful Disney was in bringing this unpromising story to life, without cutting across the grain of its spirit.
- Aug 12, 1999