Fairy tale movies are on the rise: Maleficent scored global box office success this summer, Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods is coming to theaters just in time for awards season, and in March 2015 Disney’s Cinderella will premiere to continue its trend of adapting beloved classics from its animation vault into live action updates. Interestingly, though, Cinderella‘s new full trailer (seen above) doesn’t look like much of a renovation effort at all. If anything, it just looks like, well, Cinderella.
Kenneth Branagh‘s vision of the movie has its own, modern renovations, of course – perhaps most notably notably, Cinderella’s first meeting with her Prince Charming occurs prior to the fateful ball where she becomes the object of everyone’s attentions and loses her glass slipper. But these are minor tweaks rather than serious overhauls. Maybe the most surprising thing about Cinderella is that, unlike a Maleficent or a Snow White and the Huntsman, it doesn’t appear to reinvent the wheel. That’s refreshing, if big budget studio renditions of time-honored touchstones can be called that.
So the trailer treats us to the basics. There’s Ella (Downton Abbey‘s Lily James), the kind-hearted soul who is trod upon by her cruel stepmother (The Hobbit‘s Cate Blanchett), there’s Ella’s fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter), and there’s Kit (Game of Thrones‘ Richard Madden), a handsome, dashing stranger of royal bearing; there are also animals turned into chauffeurs, a pumpkin turned into a carriage, and the aforementioned swanky soiree that the story’s plot pivots upon. It’s a far cry from May’s teaser, which leaned on Cinderella‘s iconography rather than its cast.
While the results look magical enough here, the sensation of familiarity is hard to ignore. Some of the cues here feel like they’re taken wholesale from Disney’s 1950 film (see: the overhead shot as Cinderella’s dress transforms into her signature gown ) without a single alteration. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind, but there’s a fine line between retelling a tried and true narrative from a new angle and simply copying the flourishes that make it work.
Grant that this is just a taste of what Cinderella has up its sleeve; we’ll see what else Branagh does with the film in a few months.
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Cinderella arrives in theaters on March 13th, 2015.
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