It is a story as old as time. Tales of fairy tales are a phenomenon that has always existed in all cultures and all times. While it might feel like Disney has a monopoly on taking familiar stories and turning them from outdated pumpkins into horse-drawn carriages, people around the world have always rewritten stories to make them their own. Over the past decade, Disney has been involved in a new kind of fairy tale storytelling – remaking animated films into live-action films. Remakes are always controversial. While some people were thrilled to see their favorite films reimagined, others felt that Disney didn’t do classic films justice in their new guises. Many fans agree on one idea: Disney doesn’t create enough new original content and constantly redoes old ideas, it’s lazy.
Although it’s hard to pull off a live-action remake, there was one movie that stood out above the rest – the 2015 Cinderella. While the movie itself was beautiful and easy to watch, just like the beloved animated original, there are specific reasons why it was actually a good movie. On the one hand, it paid homage to the original classic while creating its own story. It didn’t become a shot-for-shot remake; and he took a traditional story and inserted deeper ideas about life.
On the surface, the years 2015 Cinderella seems like a stereotypical version of the world’s most famous tale. There are all the classic hallmarks of a Cinderella story – an enslaved orphan, a cruel stepmother and stepsisters, animal friends, a fairy godmother, glass slippers, a palace ball, a beau prince, if the shoe fits him, happily ever after. But it is heavily influenced by the traditional French version of the fairy tale. Without anchoring yourself to a specific historical period or place, think For all time, the film is set in a fantasy version of France. It appears to be set when France was ruled by a monarchy, most likely in the 1700s. This assumption is based on the presence of a royal family and the class structures that are in place, such as resident servants and status social that depends entirely on a man. The clothes also recall this historical period. But the story retains the magic that makes it a true fairy tale, so creating historical accuracy isn’t important.
The 2015 live-action film took the story’s normal tropes and incorporated them into its own tale. Through moments of joy and sadness, audiences can see Cinderella grow from a child to an adult. This part of the story was skimmed over in the opening moments of the animated version. Although the focus is still on Cinderella as an adult, audiences are allowed to see more of her story and development.
While some scenes in the film are close to the animated version, the 2015 film was not a shot-for-shot remake. Several of Disney’s other live-action adaptations, such as The Lion King and The beauty and the Beast, chose to try to recreate the original film as faithfully as possible. But people love classic animated movies and don’t want to see them played perfectly by real people. It’s much more satisfying to watch a whole new take on an old story. In this way, Cinderella far surpassed all other recent Disney remakes. However, a few moments in the film pay homage to other famous Cinderellas. One of them is when the prince tries on shoes on different single women across the kingdom. During this montage there is a photo of colored feet dressed in stockings which looks exactly like a photo of Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1997 Cinderella.
The story also inserted more information about the characters, such as Cinderella, the stepmother, and the prince. As audiences watch Cinderella grow, they witness some incredibly difficult times that contribute to who she is as a person. One of those scenes is when she learns that her father has passed away, a heartbreaking moment where her whole world falls apart. There are also a few scenes where the prince, named Kit in this story, is fleshed out as a character. One occurs during a portrait session, where he is shown joking with his palace staff. This scene uses humor reminiscent of the king and his right-hand man in the animated film, sweet and funny.
There is also a sweet encounter where Cinderella and Kit meet for the first time. While Kit is hunting in the woods with his men, he is separated from the group and encounters Cinderella. Although she doesn’t find out he’s the prince, they form an instant bond and attraction. It deepens their relationship and makes it believable.
All of these aspects made 2015’s live action Cinderella not just a successful retelling of the world’s most famous fairy tale, but a good movie overall. It created its own story, was a standalone movie, and gave new depth to familiar characters. No other Disney remake has been able to achieve this, making it its best live-action movie yet.