I feel bad for the children of this generation if this is the Cinderella they have to grow up with. Once upon a time, Disney nailed this with a wonderfully animated masterpiece full of whimsy and magic. Now we get this mashed up, sloppy mess to slog through. The songs all feel forced and out of place, like the person in charge of song selection just picked out a bunch of songs they liked and then threw them all over the timeline of this film whether they make any sense or not. We get like three rise up/empowerment songs in the first 20 minutes, a love song about 30 seconds after Cinder and the Prince meet and a few too many reprises.
But hey, it's a musical, so the music has to at least be good ri- NOPE! 99% of the songs feel so off because it's painfully obvious they weren't sung anywhere near the moment but rather were recorded in a studio and then later layered on top of all the lip synchs. I get that doing songs during shoots could be tough but they could've at least tried a little to make it sound better and more accurate. Got Cinderella running and jumping all over the place while singing and her tone never changes in the slightest and you can feel that.
The characters are classics, pre-written for the movie with years of history and background to pull from. They still mess it up. Motivations are sloppy and muddled. Character growth happens in fits and spurts rather than feeling like there's any sort of progression. The prince goes from a perma-bachelor bro to in love with Cinder in no time at all for something completely stupid (that would've gotten her imprisoned as well). Cinderella rarely feels like the downtrodden, put upon sister we all know her to be. Instead she's got a couple of mildly annoying step-sisters but don't worry! Rather than dealing with them she'll spend her time in this surprisingly large and fairly stylish basement/dress making area. There's only one or two times she really seems all that put upon and they feel so shocking that, once again, it draws me out of the film.
The only redeeming factors, to me, were the mice, Idina Menzel and the fairy "godmother." The mice added a nice little splash of comedy but were hit and miss at times. Idina Menzel brought he spectacular pipes to show and she belts out some stunning notes throughout this that really showed off the difference between pop star and stage star. Then we have Billie Porter as the Fabulous Godmother. While I don't love the character, I really appreciate how Porter was just going for it. It was clear he was having fun in the role and that's what this really needed.
Cinderella is a mess. It's tone deaf, confused about it's message, poorly written, poorly paced and as much as I can appreciate anachronisms in film when done right, these are not. The random influx of modern terminology and jokes feels so out of place in this setting and when coupled with the clash of empowering and degrading women it just doesn't work. Even the big finale was telegraphed to the point that as soon as we meet a certain character I looked at the friend I was watching it with and we both immediately called the ending of this. This is not worth watching the actual movie for. If anything, wait a little bit until the scenes are all available on youtube and just look up Menzel and Porter's moments. The rest of this is just a waste of a classic property.
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