Sunday, March 29, 2015
I went to see this on opening weekend, and then last weekend, I took both my girls to see it. Sarah is 5, Tootie is 3, and they love princesses. The animated Cinderella (1950) is the first princess movie they ever saw, and remains one of their favorites, so they were beyond excited to see a new version of a story they knew with "real people in it!" Not only that, but they had only ever been to the movie theater once before (two years ago, to see Planes), so getting to go to that place Mommy goes to a lot was also a special treat. (Sam declined to go, partly because he's "not that much into princesses," and partly because he really dislikes the animated Cinderella because of how mean the stepmother and stepsisters are.)
I think what I like best about this movie is that it's a straight-forward retelling of this well-known story. There's no twist. It's not about the villain, it's not filled with sly winks to how cute such an old-fashioned story is, it's not sexed up. It's not modernized in any way, really. And while I really like Mirror Mirror's cheekiness, and I hear Maleficent is cool, it's very refreshing to me to see a fairy tale treated as if it's worth telling for its own sake, not for what someone can make out of it.
And who is more trustworthy for giving us a good story well told than Kenneth Branagh? From Shakespeare to superheroes, he's showed us time and again that he will take a story seriously, will tell it for its own sake, while still getting us to see and understand that story and its characters better than we had before.
I was going to add a bunch of pictures to this, but I've done so many picture-heavy posts over the last week that I think I'm going to leave this the way it is. If you want to see some amazing production stills, I highly advise you go here and just keep clicking on the pictures to see more and more and more. This is a sumptuous production, every frame filled with exquisite detail, and I have to admit I'm kind of tempted to go see it on the big screen one more time to drink it all in.
Oh, and I bought the soundtrack because I love Patrick Doyle. It's awesome!
Is this a family-friendly movie? Yes. There's a bit more cleavage on display than I would be comfortable showing myself, and there's one mildly scary moment where a carriage almost goes off a cliff, but there's zero bad language or truly frightening things. I felt perfectly comfortable letting my 3- and 5-year-olds see it, and I'm pretty sure we'll be buying the DVD and watching it over and over and over too.