Who is ready for a whole new adaptation of Cinderella? I know…there are like 50 of them but it is such an iconic story that we can always use more, right? I am not sure I would go that far but I was interested by the talent coming in. I was ready to check this one out back in the spring but then Amazon swooped in and now we all get to enjoy the comfort of our homes on Amazon for Labor Day. It is convenient but does that mean it is worth checking out? Let’s find out!
What type of personality does writer-director Kay Cannon bring to the table? I am a huge fan of Cannon’s as she brought plenty of laughs in her writing for 30 Rock and the Pitch Perfect films. She also showed she had the directing chops with the hilarious and surprisingly heartfelt, Blockers. Cannon channels that musical spirit of Pitch Perfect as we are treated to a full-blown musical. Some of the songs are popular songs and some are more original…but they are all equally fun. Some of the numbers are an absolute blast including Let’s Get Loud and What a Man and then there are a few originals that capture the spirit of the story as well. Even with overly shiny and produced cinematography, Cannon can bring plenty of energy and fun to the proceedings. The dance numbers are a lot of fun too which makes it even better.
How does Cannon make her version of Cinderella standout amongst such a vast presence of adaptations? There are some clear changes that go a long way for representation. I was so excited to see Billy Porter as the fairy godmother and he certainly brings the goods. This revamp of this character is a refreshing addition. The relationship between Cinderella and her stepfamily is a lot less toxic than it has been in previous versions. I appreciate the complex relationship that provides more depth for all the characters. There is a lot more agency for both Cinderella as she wants to make dresses and sell them instead of marrying. Prince Robert also has more to do as he rebels against the patriarchy his father (the King) has put in place. The narrative takes a few fresh takes on some of the characters and most of them are done tastefully.
There is plenty of energy and fun in this film and how does the cast bring this to life? Camila Cebello is charming as heck and delivers plenty of charisma to her title role. Her singing is great (obviously) and her acting is really solid. Nicholas Galitzine is a fine partner in the narrative for Cabello as he holds his own. Idina Menzel is a real standout as Cinderella’s stepmother (a character that gets plenty more layers this time around in the story). Menzel kills every song they set up for her to knock down. Porter is an absolute delight with all the pizzaz you could ever expect from such a performer. Pierce Brosnan absolutely hams it up as the King which just might be my favorite character in the film while Minnie Driver makes a great foil and partner to Brosnan. Then there are the three mice…including James Corden. Their comic relief (specifically as humans) is needlessly vulgar and out of place. Eventually you just want them to leave because they are so annoying (especially Corden).
Is Amazon’s new Cinderella worth checking out? This is a fresh take on the film with a modern sensibility worth exploring. The motivations feel deeper, and the music just makes every scene better. There are times where the film slows with a runtime of almost two-hours. But you will be charmed so much by the cast and the music, you will forget the flaws and just let the fun all sink in.