Saturday, March 14, 2015

Cinderella Review: An Enchanting Fairy Tale

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this movie. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% my own and honest.

Grace is obsessed with Disney princesses and her favorite right now is Cinderella. The timing of Disney's newest live action film, Cinderella, couldn't be more perfect for her and we were excited for our mommy daughter date to see it this week. We got the chance to attend the press screening of Cinderella at the Union Station Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre on Wednesday and it was an absolutely amazing venue. The lobby was filled with princesses and princes greeting each guest and Grace, who up until now has freaked out at the sight of costumed characters, gladly talked to one of the princesses and even let me snap a photo. When we got to our seats, she excitedly told me that everyone had called her princess. Even at the movie theater, Disney magic is amazing!

I hadn't told her before we arrived that the new Frozen short, Frozen Fever, would be played first so when it started she almost jumped out of her seat with excitement. If you have a Frozen fanatic in your house, this short film is worth the trip to the theater. I was worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype, but I was totally wrong. It was cute, clever, and fun with glimpses of all of our favorite (and not so favorite) characters from the original film. After going home for the night, Grace told Mike that the Frozen part was her favorite part of the evening so it obviously didn't disappoint!

Grace and I had watched the previews for Cinderella before heading to the theater so she knew what to expect. I didn't want her to be disappointed that we weren't seeing the animated version. At the end when I asked her if she liked it, she said "kind of".  Like her, I left the theater with mixed feelings so I'll start with the good stuff. This movie is gorgeous. The settings, the costumes, and the makeup are all extremely well done and truly make you feel like you are in a fantasy world. The story of Ella, the little girl whose perfect life is turned upside down with the death of her parents draws you in. With some added segments not in the original Disney animated film, we get a glimpse into the mind of the step mother and the prince that helps flesh out their characters.
Lily James plays a wonderful, believable Cinderella and her message of kindness really sunk in to Grace. She keeps telling me how important it is to be kind to everyone no matter what. Much to my surprise, I liked Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother. I went in expecting to dislike her portrayal but she makes the character just quirky enough to be truly memorable. I didn't realize going in that Drizella, one of the evil step sisters is played by Sophie McShera. For all of you Downton Abbey fans, she plays Daisy, the kitchen maid, and Lilly James (Cinderella) plays Rose. So these characters are a fun role reversal that made me smile. The step sisters are hilarious and lighten up some of the more serious tones in the early section of the film. I have always been a huge Kenneth Branagh fan so it's no surprise to me that overall I really enjoyed the film.

Despite my enjoyment of the film, Grace was obviously bored through sections of it. The first half moved slowly with lots of scenery shots and emotional dialogue focused on the death of Ella's parents. The middle kept her interested with the amazing and hilarious fairy godmother transformation scenes (Ella's dress is AMAZING and Grace has declared that she absolutely needs it) and the ball scenes. But again the end featured a lot of dialogue and slowed down so she started to get fidgety. It is a very emotionally based movie that I feel is better suited towards older children, teens, and adults. With the inclusion of the Frozen Fever short, it seems like Disney was aiming to reach the younger demographic and I don't think most little ones would be able to sit through it. Grace has a very long attention span for movies and still had a difficult time staying focused. I do intend on having her watch it again when she gets a few years older as I really enjoyed it. The movie features so many of the magical enchanting qualities that made the original Cinderella so wonderful.

If you are in Kansas City, make sure to visit Union Station to see a beautiful replica of Cinderella's glass slipper displayed under the station's clock to complete your Cinderella experience!

Check out these fun crafts and activities to keep your Cinderella fans busy while they're waiting to go to the theater:

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