If your movie is based on the world’s most popular fairy tale, then it can be understandable why you would want to put a twist or two on the story. Whether it was told by Disney (animated or live-action) or the lead was either Hilary Duff or the 90s pop star Brandy, Cinderella was always about a story enchanting girls and young women with the dream that they would one day be swept off their feet by that special someone. The newest version of Cinderella likes to add on that Ella can be her own woman and does not need a man to have her dreams come true. This of course is not a problem, but it was never what the source material was about.
They may as well have called this CRINGErella.
This is not entirely the fault of the actors. The titular role is given to Camila Cabello, a singer in her first role. While she does a fine job, I can’t overlook the fact that there were moments when it was clear to see the lip syncing. The evil step mother Vivian (who knew she had a name?) is played by Idina Menzel, who of course has her two daughters Malvolia (Maddie Baillio) and Narissa (Charlotte Spencer). Unlike in previous adaptations, the daughters are not entirely mean to the nicer Ella (the step mom still is, despite what she thinks). Malvolia does tend to take more after her mother, while Narissa is just set up to be comic relief as a dullard.
Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) actually meets Ella before the ball as he is in disguise in the marketplace (like a reverse Aladdin scenario), as she is trying to sell a dress she has made. He is on the run from his domineering father, King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan, who thankfully is told through out the movie he can’t sing) and his mother Queen Beatrice (Minnie Driver). His mother is more understanding, but his father is exceptionally old fashioned, not even wanting to hear any opinions from his young daughter, Princess Gwen (Tallulah Greive). Then, of course, there is the “Fabulous Godmother”, played by Billy Porter. When the idea of this character is represented this way, there is no other actor who would fit better than Billy Porter. The talking mice are another set of prevailing characters in the movie, one of whom is played by James Corden. Corden is undoubtedly talented, but with CATS (2019), The Prom (2020), and now this film, this talented guy needs a break when it comes to the musicals he makes.
As for the music in the film itself, a good amount of the songs are unoriginal. This includes versions of Queen’s “Somebody to Love”, Madonna’s “Material Girl”, Earth Wind & Fire’s “Shining Star”, and even The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”. All are good songs, but by the way they (and the original songs, some by Mendel and Cabello) showcase them, the performances give off the effect that they were trying to produce them like a third rate Lin Manuel Miranda flick.
Parents, there is no swearing or violence. There is some joking that may go over a child’s head, but nothing to worry about.
The film itself looks like it should have been a straight to TV movie, but that almost seems like an insult to straight to TV movies.
It is one of the worst musicals I have ever seen.
And I saw CATS.