Cinderella Review

How the slightly promising have fallen. Kay Cannon may have set off amicably well with Blockers, but her desire to knock her career stone dead with an Amazon adaptation of Cinderella is a fascinating change of pace. Fascinating in the same way that dolphins can will themselves to die or that the first parachute jump failed. That level of ambition is there, but the result is a disaster. A glossy carnival ride, a freak show that will never end. Bright and chirpy, modern and aggressively dull. That’s showbiz. What can you do with Cinderella, really? Try not to add music, maybe? That’d be a nice start.

Cannon and the cast didn’t get that memo. The musical interludes, of which there are many, is ludicrously horrible. That idea of beauty being hidden underneath, central to the theme of the original feature, is lost when casting Camilla Cabello and lighting her up so brightly with lavish costumes that make the usually down-in-the-dumps future princess look more like a glammed-up pop star. But that’s the issue with adaptation. Make it for the lowest common denominator. Take the songs at literal, face value. Queen’s Somebody to Love features as an interlude for a prick-looking prince to sing along to. A song of deep religious strife, brought to you by corporate harmony. But if the music weren’t bad enough, the performances are even worse.

That over-the-top attitude looks to signify every bit of dialogue as something for audiences to cling to. It’s unnecessary and annoying. Cinderella (Cabello) speaks to herself rather frequently, in large pockets of absolute nonsense. Gluttonous bouts of gaudy costume design, straight from the factory of Mr. Kipling and stretched out to fit the extras who look confused and tired and underfed. They have been released from their Amazon work pen. Stop filing those rejected scripts, get this oversized costume on and stand in the background, head tilted slightly to the side as you fawn over the musical numbers. It is hard to convey much care for Cinderella when the core of this fairytale story, the real message behind it, is obsolete. Pierce Brosnan makes sure of that, adding an angle for the prince that was both never needed and never wanted. Still, plug the holes and bumps in the road with comedy characters and one-line nonsense. Brosnan survives that much at least.

Unnecessary. Unwanted. Unloved. But enough about James Corden. How he has winkled his way into yet another adaptation of Cinderella is the elephant in the room. He manages it because he smuggled himself into the hearts and minds of the American audience. Walter Kronkite wishes for this level of influence. England’s loss is America’s loss also, to paraphrase the great Stewart Lee. Cinderella is oddly dependant on the bit-part comedians from across the ocean. James Acaster, Romesh Ranganathan and Rob Beckett can all be spotted, in what is the most delicate and unfortunate Taskmaster reunion tour put to screen. Still, more fool you if you believed Cinderella was going to be anything more than a sad, run-of-the-mill bit of static that washes away the message of the original with bright colours and brighter costumes.

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