Cinderella (2015)

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Have courage and be kind,” said Ella.

There were several attempts in re-imagining some classic fairy tales into live-action during the past few years. The results are always in the fine line between hit and miss; and it’s being too stereotypical lately. Some attempts with darker tones like Red Riding Hood or Snow White and The Huntsman were barely a festivity; and even, Disney’s attempt fueled with over-the-top CGI to build the world of Maleficent last year was not as fruitful as imagined. All of those features were mostly stuck in attempting to rejuvenate those stories with modern genre-cliche and presumptuous freedom to twist the ‘un-twisted’. Frankly saying, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella is a better film than any of those.

The reason is simple: Cinderella never attempts to find a gap to modernize the source with modern thought of filmmaking. No twisting the untwisted, no over-the-top CGI, no over-the-top darker tone, that’s what Cinderella‘s done. The Shakespearean director who made the poetical Thor, Kenneth Branagh, has his visions of this sweet ol’ story just right. He and Chris Weitz keep the narrative’s fidelity to respect the source and keep everything humble although some intrigues were stuffed inside. After all, that’s what means more than “making it different”—it’s being what Cinderella should be.

For generations, people know the source story albeit many versions alter each other. There, the filmmakers find a way to polish the tale with care—adding preface to Ella (Lily James) before she ended up being Cinderella during her wicked stepmother’s (Cate Blanchett) miserable days of torture. The moment where she learns a credo from her deceased mother to have courage and be kind. That’s what gives this film a convincing motif than just too make it new.

It’s not altering the origin story of Cinderella that makes this film worth an appreciation; it’s the way it remains loyal to the source and polish it with deeper but understandable thoughts. Some political intrigues were added to the story but it’s never been the focus; some miraculous work of CGI were also devised but never overshadows the focus—the plot.

With a television-star-laden ensemble of casts aided by stellar performance by Cate Blanchett, the film attempts to keep it humble. James, as Cinderella, seems like enjoying her role like it’s written solely for her. Blanchett as the exact opposite is able to give a grievous threat in a theatrical performance of a wicked woman. Richard Madden from Game of Thrones, who portrays the Prince Charming a.k.a Kit, is an odd addition to the cast, yet, his character gives a new insight to the typical prince charming only this one always gives me a goosebump imagining Red Wedding during the royal ball scene.

Kenneth Branagh brings out his Shakespearean style vividly here, constructing scene by scene in a precision and a theatrical way. It’s not just about the eye candy here and there or all the sweet art designs, it’s the spirit that makes this a grand Disney work. It’s a tribute to the animated version of Cinderella that goes well, that’s all.

VERDICT: Cinderella is best served as it is—without any wasted attempts to reenact the good ol’ fairy tale but the spirit.

Cinderella (2015)

Drama, Fantasy Directed by: Kenneth Branagh Written by: Chris Weitz Starred by: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgard, Helena Bonham Carter Running Time: 112 mins Rated PG for mild thematic elements

IMDb | Official Site

Sudah ada beberapa usaha untuk re-imagining beberapa dongeng klasik lewat film live-action. Hasilnya kadang sukses, kadang gagal total; dan malah menjadikan stereotype buruk—Red Riding Hood, Snow White and The Huntsman, Maleficent. Kebanyakan film-film yang gagal kebanyakan gagal meremajakan dongeng yang terlanjur ‘kuat’ itu karena terjebak dalam genre-cliche dan kecenderungan untuk menyiptakan twist. Namun (catat ini), Cinderella karya Kenneth Branagh jauh lebih bagus daripada film-film itu.

Alasannya sederhana: Cinderella tidak dibuat dengan gaya modern: tanpa twist yang dibuat-buat, tanpa CGI yang berlebihan, tanpa atmosfer yang dibuat gelap. Sutradara Shakespearean yang pernah menukangi Thor, Kenneth Branagh, memiliki visi yang tepat untuk kisah ini. Bersama Chris Witz, ia menjaga kesetiaan naratifnya sesuai source-nya dan tetap rendah hati sama seperti Cinderella-nya.

Para filmmaker-nya mempermak kisah ini dengan care—memberi preface untuk kisah Ella (Lily James) sebelum ia menjadi Cinderella karena kejahatan ibu tirinya (Cate Blanchett). Ada momen di mana ia mempelajari sebuah kredo dari ibu kandungnya: to have courage and be kind. Dengan motif itu saja pun, film ini punya cukup energi untuk tampil indah. Ditambah dengan beberapa intrik politik serta CGi yang pas—tanpa membayangi plotnya—Cinderella menemukan pangerannya literally dan figuratively.

Kenneth Branagh menampilkan gaya Shakespearenya dengan sempurna dalam adegan demi adegan selayaknya teater. Bukan cuma masalah art design-nya yang luar biasa, tapi semangatnya untuk menjadi Cinderella—adaptasi dari film animasi Disney—lah yang menjadikannya anggun.

Sekali lagi, mungkin ini bukan versi terbaik Cinderella, tapi ini adalah versinya yang paling rendah hati dan anggun.

6 responses

  1. I really love your website layout.
    Lovely review – looking forward to this one.

    1. Thank you! Looking forward to read your review

  2. I was surprised by how much I liked this movie. It felt right they didn’t try to make it hip or modern, but stuck to a classic that didn’t need improving. I was pretty satisfied with the casting as well. Definitely more of a hit for me than many of the other fairy tale adaptations of recent years.

    1. Yes! Agree with you. They did not try to invent, they enrich.

  3. Great review Paskalis! Glad you agree about this movie, I have similar thoughts as yours. In fact, my review will be up shortly, it’s one of the longest I’ve ever written!

    1. Thanks, Ruth! I’m looking forward to it! Great that you found it okay.

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