I tried to watch the new version of Cinderella, and I could barely get past the first hour.
There are many films out there that tell the classic Cinderella story. Since 1950, when Disney released their cartoon version of Cinderella, remakes of the Grimm Brothers’ fairytale have told the story of the princess through various lenses.
71 years after the original, another Cinderella remake has hit the big screen, released on Sept. 3, on Amazon Prime Video and in select movie theaters. A few notable names in this film are Camila Cabello as Cinderella, Billy Porter as the Fabulous Godmother, and Idina Menzel as the evil Stepmother.
This version is different from prior tellings of the story, with a centering theme of Cinderella wanting to become a fashion designer. This film also takes on a jukebox musical approach, taking songs from Janet Jackson to Ed Sheeran for the characters to sing. Some are loving this version of Cinderella, but most are not.
It was hard to not turn the film off in the first half-hour. The film starts with all the townspeople singing “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson. Although some moments had me cringing, overall it was a fine start to the film. After this number, the film started to go downhill quickly.
Next was the only original song in the film, “Million To One,” sung by Cinderella. This song is getting dragged through the mud on many social media platforms, and I can see why. The song itself is fine — the singing, however, is questionable.
Cabello is not the strongest singer in the world, and I felt like this song was setting her up for failure. The end of the song really was where my mouse teased the exit button, but nevertheless I continued watching.
What I liked about this film was that it gave a little more background information on Prince Robert, which followed the song “Million To One.” In the adaptations I have seen, we never really get any dedicated time to learn about the Prince, so getting a little bit of background information was a delight to see.
The actor, Nicholas Galitzine, gave us the best vocals of the film so far with his rendition of the song “Somebody to Love,” but all that was going on in the background really was a sight to see. There was a random church choir for the song, and then there were guards dancing. It was a lot to take in, and very uncomfortable to watch. After this scene I had to take a break from the film to collect myself.
Coming back to the film, nothing really bad or good happened right away. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a pleasant surprise came. I never knew I needed to hear Menzel singing “Material Girl,” but now I can’t imagine a life without it. The best part of the film, hands down.
Back with the new theme of Cinderella wanting to become a fashion designer, the next scene entails Cinderella trying to sell one of the dresses. Prince Robert spots her, and sparks up a conversation between them.
In an interesting format, the ball gets announced to everyone in the town as a rap. Following that sequence, all the characters sing a rendition of “Am I Wrong,” which I had to mute halfway through.
A reprise of “Million To One” introduced the Fabulous Godmother. Porter gave an amazing performance with the song “Shining Star,” which transformed Cinderella and her surroundings to be ready for the ball.
What I cannot stand in any movie is the typical lines given to LGBTQIA+ characters. You always will hear a “yasss queen” or a “slayyyyyyyy.” It honestly feels offensive to see how the media portrays these characters in such a stereotypical way.
In this movie, on top of all the “yasss queen” that was going on, the interaction between Cinderella and the Fabulous Godmother really had me cringing once again. My love for Porter kept me watching, but not for much longer.
At this point in the film, I was just trying to enjoy it as much as I could, because there was not much to enjoy. Getting to the ball and hearing Salt-N-Pepa’s “Whatta Man” took me by surprise; never once did I expect to ever hear that song involved in a telling of Cinderella.
When it went into “Seven Nation Army,” I got even more confused. Next came the big dance between Cinderella and Prince Robert to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, and this is where I had to turn the movie off — I could not watch it anymore.
After reflecting over the hour of my life I spent watching this film, I started to question why this film was made at all. We have many beautiful renditions of Cinderella that we can watch, so why did this director feel like we needed yet another version?
It seems lately that the only films being produced are remakes of old classics, but why? It’s an instant money grab and people crave visiting things that brought them joy in the past. Of course people will want to see new versions of what they know and love, but at what point does it become too much?
So many new stories are out there, wanting and needing to be told, yet it seems like no one wants to tell these stories because it won’t make a good amount of money. It’s a sad sight to see, it feels like Hollywood is turning into a sellout rather than creating art that matters (PULL QUOTE).
Cinderella is one of my favorite classic fairy tales. While this retelling of the story may not have been the best, it still does not take away the love that I have for the story. If this retelling wasn’t your favorite, I recommend the Whitney Houston and Brandy version of the tale, which is impossible not to love.