Cinderella is the upcoming live-action rendition of the iconic fairy tale, as directed for the big screen by Kenneth Branagh. The actor/filmmaker has worked on Shakespeare adaptations and similarly prestigious literary adaptations (see: Frankenstein) for most of his career, but over the past five years he’s been focusing his efforts on more crowd-pleasing studio fare like Thor and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – meaning, Cinderella is another step in that same direction for Branagh.
Branagh’s film stars Lily James (Downton Abbey) as Ella, a kind young woman who is forced to become little more than a servant girl by her stepmother Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) following the death of her parents. One day, in the forest, Ella meets a kindred spirit in the form of the handsome prince (Game of Thrones‘ Richard Madden), though the potential for romance between the two is complicated by Ella’s lower-status – and the latter’s responsibilities as the kingdom’s future ruler.
The latest trailer for Cinderella (see above) dives deeper into the film’s narrative than previous trailers have, even touching upon how the Grand Duke (Stellan Skarsgård) conspires with the Lady Tremaine, in order to keep Ella out of the picture where it concerns the prince. Beyond that, however, Branagh’s film appears to be a mashup of story elements lifted straight from Disney’s 1950 animated version and previous live-action retellings (see: Ever After).
Which is to say: the Cinderella trailer’s tagline (“There’s more to the legend than you ever dreamed”) comes off as being something of an exaggeration, based on what we’ve seen from the movie via its marketing campaign to date.
Other recent live-action fairy tale movies from the Mouse House – Alice in Wonderland, Oz the Great and Powerful, and Maleficent – have all either changed up the stories that inspired them and/or expanded upon their predecessors by serving as a prequel or sequel. In the case of Cinderella, though, Branagh and screenwriter Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Golden Compass) seem to have put together a pretty straight-forward rehash of the same old tale.
Then again, Branagh’s film will serve as an introduction to the Cinderella fairy tale for many a younger filmgoer; so, for them, this is the first time they’ll have seen the story brought to life. Problem is, this version of the fairy tale already feels a bit outdated and backwards-thinking, compared to other recent Disney fairy tale offerings – be they animated (Frozen) or live-action (Into the Woods) – and that may be in addition to the same issues that’ve plagued Disney’s other big-budget live-action remakes of late (wonky CGI, hollow storytelling, etc.).
Cinderella opens in U.S. theaters on March 13th, 2015.
Source: Walt Disney Pictures