Cinderella (2015): A Movie Review

Photo credit: IMDb

Once upon a time, Ella lived a wonderful life with her father and mother. When Ella is still young, her mother passes away, urging her to remain kind and brave throughout the rest of her life. Several years later, her father marries a widow who has two daughters of her own and Ella keeps her promise to her mother. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes twice and Ella’s father also dies, leaving her alone with her step family, who treat her cruelly. When the palace announces a ball where the prince will choose his bride, Ella is forbidden to go. But with help from her fairy godmother and her own bravery, Ella makes her way to the ball, hoping to enjoy herself and, if chance allowed, meet the handsome prince.

Disney’s live action version of the fairy tale Cinderella remains faithful to the original story line, taking bits and pieces from different versions of the tale created over the years. Probably my favorite fairy tale, I was surprised how much I loved this version. One of my favorite parts of the movie is that they actually had the mice that are included in the animated version, as well as the cat, Lucifer, which many versions of the tale leave out.

I also loved all of the actors they chose for the leading roles. One of the main reasons why I wanted to see the movie is I’m a Downton Abbey fan and Lily James plays Rose. I love her in that show and so wanted to support her in this new role. I’m also a fan of Game of Thrones and kept forgetting that Richard Madden (Robb Stark) was in this movie. However, every time he came on screen I couldn’t stop myself thinking: Winter is coming!

As for the villains, Cate Blanchett was the perfect evil stepmother. I was also doubly excited when I realized Sophie McShera (who plays Daisy on Downton Abbey) was the evil stepsister, Drisella. A complete contrast to Daisy, I thought McShera did a great job in the role. Holliday Grainger, who played the other evil stepsister Anastasia, was also great in her role and the two complimented each other spectacularly.

And then I found out Kenneth Branagh was the director, which, to me, explained one of the reasons why the movie was so good. To my knowledge, I have yet to hate a movie that Kenneth Branagh has had any hand in (whether it’s producing, directing, or acting).

So parents, do not dread taking your children to see this movie! I guarantee you will like it just as much as they will!

Much Ado About Nothing (2012): A Movie Review

Out of all the times I’ve read and watched different versions of Much Ado About Nothing, I do have to say that Joss Whedon’s version takes an interesting view on the Shakespeare play. Like several other directors and writers tried to do with other Shakespeare works, Whedon takes the play and places it in modern times, but keeps the Shakespeare language intact.

Now, I always have mixed feelings on this. The first time I’ve ever seen it done was in the 1996 Romeo + Juliet movie directed by Baz Luhrmann and I did not care for it at all. Which was one of the reasons why it took me over a year to see Whedon’s version of Much Ado About Nothing, despite my love for Whedon’s directing and screenwriting.

Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s comedies about love and how two couples see love differently. Hero and Claudio meet and fall in love at first sight, while Benedick and Beatrice mock and make fun of each other, choosing to ignore their feelings for each other until they are tricked into realizing it.

While I did enjoy Whedon’s version more than I thought I would, looking at it as if I had never heard of the play before I did think it was confusing. You really don’t know who the characters are, or why they are all gathering together at Leonato’s house. Is there a celebration of some kind or are they all just friends getting together? It was also difficult to keep up with who was who and what their titles were and how they knew each other. I guess that’s where reading the play would come in handy, although those plays are really best watched to fully understand the context.

What I did love was that it was shot in black and white. I think that helped bring some of an old time movie feel to it, keeping it from being too modernized. I also thought the acting was well done. The actors made sure to keep the production comical, even when it becomes upsetting at some points. The delivery of the lines was similar to the 1993 version starring Kenneth Branagh, which is probably my favorite version of the play.

Something I thought was a bit weird was that they changed one of the character roles from a male role to a female role. While it did work, the lines in the play were kept the same making some parts of scenes awkward and a bit confusing, but comical at the same time.

So while Joss Whedon didn’t completely change my feelings on the modernization of Shakespeare plays, he didn’t completely disappoint me.

Grade: B