cindellera Wishing About Everything
Stars: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Madden, Derek Jacobi, Holiday Grainger and Sophie McShera
Director: Kenneth Branaugh
Scriptwriters: Aline Brosh McKenna and Chris Weitz from “Cinderella Cendrillon” by Charles Perrault
Composer: Patrick Doyle
Costumes: Sandy Powell
Company: Walt Disney
Rating: PG
Running Length:  112 minutes
*Note: accompanying the “Cinderella” film is a seven minute animated short continuing the “Frozen” film story. Comments at the end of this “Cinderella” review.
For many years, adapting a children’s story meant sticking to the original story. However, of late, there can be side stories and side characters (referencing “Alice in Wonderland” from the animated version to Johnny Depp.) Such is “Cinderella,” and now, with director Kenneth Branaugh at the helm, it is back to mostly the original story, Disney animated version, that is---which means animated mice, a pumpkin, a goose and other creatures. “Cinderella” this time around is played by Lily James (the bubbly “Rose” from “Downton Abbey”), with Richard Madden as the Prince. Cate Blanchett, complete with green dress, plays the wicked step-mother, while Holiday Grainger and Sophie McShern (the kitchen maid, “Daisy” from “Downton Abbey”) as the questionable step-sisters. To complete the cast, Derek Jacobi is the Prince’s father, while Ben Chaplin is Cinderella’s father, who unfortunately, moves the story along by passing away.
We begin with “Ella,” as a happy child with two parents. Mom passes away, eventually Dad re-marries, goes traveling, passes away and Ella is left with three women who hate her, call her “Cinderella” for sleeping by the hearth, and make her live in the attic and do all the work. Cinderella has a happy disposition, though, and her friends (household mice) keep her in a good mood in spite of it all. Cinderella rides in the woods, meets the prince (in disguise), he falls for her and later there is the search for her----and the appearance of the Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter, also in disguise). Godmother moves the story along with magic, including the coach, but only real before midnight, that is. You know the rest, though at almost two hours, it seems long.
What makes this story is the acting (Cate Blanchett, especially), the mice, and the intrigue in the background at the palace and in the home. Marry for love? No….marry for the welfare of the country. You can guess what happens there. Music is appropriate to the film and you will notice an old favorite, “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo.”  Having two actors from the television favorite, “Downton Abbey” is a bit off-setting, as you expect “Rose” to do something rebellious and “Daisy” to start talking about being a better cook. The gowns are well-done, including Cinderella’s blue ball gown. (For beautiful gowns, “Jupiter Ascending” has them, too.)  Costume designer Sandy Powell gives the audience a colorful array of clothing to view. Another “Cinderella” film with princess-wish-fulfillment.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner
Frozen Fever
This seven-minute animated short film is a microcosm of the “Frozen” film story that is popular. It follows the adventures of the two sisters, Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell.) It is Anna’s birthday and the plot is how to give a party without Elsa, who has a cold, sneezing ice droplets over everything. Characters of  Olaf, Kristoff and Sven are also there. The story should help “Frozen” movie fans who so enjoyed the full-length film.