Unlike yesterday's review, this film is a true pleasure to review because it was one of my favorites as a young child. First off, it doesn't contain anything scarier than a mean stepmother and a fat old tomcat. It's also got plenty of cute songs and anthropomorphic animals along with a comically violent king and inept stepsisters.
Unfortunately this movie's very popularity and watchability has made it the target of relentless over-marketing and shameless sequels. The marketing may be distasteful, but it doesn't bother me nearly as much as the sequels. Call me simplistic, but when a movie ends with the words "and they lived happily ever after," that should be the final word. If you want the "happily ever after" concept challenged, let me refer you to a lovely little Preston Sturgess movie called The Palm Beach Story, which opens with a wedding and the caption "and they lived happily ever after--or did they?"Please don't do that to Cinderella unless it's a satire. Legitimate sequels ruin the whole point of a fairy tale.
Let me talk about why Cinderella is a much better protagonist than Snow White, namely because she actually has a believable personality. She actually behaves like a human being. Although she's a starry-eyed romantic and an optimist, she can still experience despair and even cynicism without having an existential crisis. I know people accuse her of being the most passive heroine, but at least she realizes that her situation is cruel, and she fails to talk herself out of being sad about missing the ball. And she takes a swing at Lucifer, much to everyone's delight. I also want to point out that she tells her stepmother that she has a right to go to the ball according to the wording of the royal proclamation, which is a certain degree of self-defense. She still lacks initiative, but she's a far cry from Snow White who feels bad about crying over her sorry plight and is uniformly cheerful through the rest of the film.
I want to take a moment to point out an interesting anachronism in Cinderella's wardrobe. I know most of you probably don't care, but since I have an interest in historical fashions, I can't help but notice these things. Cinderella has a clearly Victorian setting as evidenced by the setting, and both the men and women's costumes. To be more specific, the bustle skirts would indicate that it took place between 1870 and 1890. Now I want to point out that neither the pink dress Cinderella designs, her wedding dress, nor the silver gown her fairy godmother makes for her are period-correct. They all look like a take on 1950s gowns of varying degrees of formality--trust an avid vintage shopper on this. I'm sorry, Disney, but that just ruins the period feel for me.