Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Celebrate Disney’s “Cinderella,” a modern classic that shines with beauty, imagination…and magic! Despite being mistreated by her stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters, a spirited Ella (Lily James) resolves to take charge of her fate. Add a royal ball, a Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham-Carter) and a glass slipper, and suddenly – magic becomes reality!
Disney’s timeless animated classic ‘Cinderella’ comes to glorious life in this new beautiful, emotional and impressive live action adaption for the whole family. Following the story that most are already surely more than familiar with, the tale follows the kind and beautiful Cinderella who after tragically losing both of her parents in separate occurrences is forced to reside with her cold hearted stepmother and her selfish daughters, treated as a servant and forced to live in the attic. After being left behind while the others attend the ball with the hopes of impressing the prince who is seeking a wife, Cinderella soon realizes magic is real when her fairy godmother appears in the nick of time to help Cinderella realize her dream of attending the ball. Yet, it would seem magic also has an expiration date and after being forced to run off at the stroke of midnight, only fate could possibly bring the two lost young lovers together again.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh who does a wonderful job at the helm guding a script by Chris Weitz, this live action adaption of Disney’s magical fairy tale ‘Cinderella’ also includes an impressive collection of talented individuals comprising the cast, including Lily James as Cinderella, Richard Madden as the Prince, Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother and more, all of whom deliver impressive performances in each of their respective roles, although Cate Blanchett easily steals the show in her deliciously perfect portrayal of the evil Stepmother.
Disney’s live action adaption of Cinderella is gorgeously crafted and also surprisingly manages to exude a hint of an animated presence that both perfectly complements the story and reflects the feel of Disney’s original animated classic in the best way possible. This is a beautifully done and worthy remake of the animated masterpiece that the entire family is sure to enjoy. While this version does delve more deeply into some of the more heartbreaking moments of loss and tragedy, it never displays anything that should be visually troublesome and the language and content is kept clean and family friendly throughout, providing a generally wholesome and entertaining remake that should easily be tame enough for the young ones while still able to captivate many of the older children as well.
Fans both of Disney’s Cinderella in particular as well as Disney films in general will almost surely want to make sure to pick up a copy of ‘Cinderella’ on Blu-ray combo pack to add to their collections, especially for the households with young ones who will surely be quite eager to relive this magical tale brought to life time and again. The Blu-ray release also delivers exceptional high definition video and audio presentations along with a few great bonus goodies, including the ‘Frozen Fever’ Theatrical Short which accompanied ‘Cinderella’ in theaters and more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below) easily making it a must own.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Cinderella’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole, delivering a sharp, detailed presentation throughout that beautifully displays the rich, warm colors that are so prominent in the film, holding up impressively even during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation complimented by a more than sufficient bitrate that should easily please the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack is quite wonderful itself, providing a crisp, clean and discrete audio presentation from start to finish, utilizing all seven available channels on numerous occasions to surround the viewer with the films beautifully fitting score in addition to crowd chatter and some more hard hitting effects such as carriage activity and more, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is an impressive 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every regard and should not disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Cinderella’ includes a number of magical extras, although the majority of them are short, but sweet. Included on the release is the ‘Frozen Fever Theatrical Short’ (running approximately 8 minutes in length) which accompanied ‘Cinderella’ in theaters. Also included are an ‘Alternative Opening: Ella’s Childhood’ with an introduction by director Kenneth Branagh (approximately 3 minutes), plus a number of Behind the Scenes Featurettes and short videos that explore different aspects of bringing this film to life with interviews and comments by members of the cast and crew along with some fun moments, they include: ‘A Fairy Tale Comes to Life’ (9 minutes), ‘Costume Test Fun’ (2 minutes), ‘Staging the Ball’ (11 minutes), and ‘Ella’s Furry Friends’ (4 minutes).