Do We Really Need Another Cinderella Movie?
With the recent release of Cinderella (2021), the internet is once again buzzing with the question "Do we need another Cinderella movie?"
The answer is "no." Before presenting arguments on my behalf, let's go back to 1950 when the first Cinderella movie was released.
The characters in the original Cinderella were one dimensional. Cinderella is the kindest, while her step sisters and mother are the most evil. There's no in-between. Now, this strategy may have worked in 1950 and in children's tales, but it doesn't seem relatable anymore. Sadly, most new movies didn't deviate from this. They had different settings, but not different character tropes.
One exception was Cinderella II (2002) where the focus is on Anastasia's story instead of Cinderella's. This movie also showed the post-marriage life of Cinderella where she struggled to adjust to life in the palace. Another brilliant twist of the original film was Cinderella III (2007) where time is reversed and we see an alternate timeline where Cinderella wasn't magically transformed that day for the ball.
Cinderella (2015) did try to shed some light on the stepmom's story, but the rest of the movie was purely committed to the original. The main reason this version won audiences' hearts was its gorgeous cinematography. Another Cinderella Story (2008) wasn't particularly cinematic, and had several plot holes, but it did a brilliant job of portraying the message that miracles can be found without the help of magic.
Books did better at retellings than the movies. A great example is perhaps Ella Enchanted where Ella is cursed with a spell of obedience, so she's forced to tolerate her stepsisters' maltreatment. Instead of focusing on finding a prince, the story focuses on rediscovering Ella herself. The movie adaptation (2004) of this book starring Anne Hathaway was lighthearted, quirky, and refreshing to watch. Some other great retellings are Cinder, Cinderella Is Dead and The Prince & The Dressmaker where the authors kept the characters the same, but changed the plot, added creative flavours of sci-fi, dystopian, or historical fiction.
Cinderella starring Camila Cabello tried to solve the "saved by a prince" trope by giving Ella a passion. But it didn't provide much since the period the movie is set in is inconsistent with the dialogues, the music every ten minutes was annoying and, most importantly, Ella's problems were either fixed by magic or superior authorities rather than figuring out a way for her to fix those by herself.
When I said I don't want to watch another Cinderella movie, I meant that I don't want to watch another copy of the original. The original was fun; we grew up with it. But the same trope doesn't carry that appeal anymore. I'm up for watching retellings with clever twists any day, but copycat versions? Nah.
Sabiba Hossain is a Hufflepuff who plans on going into hibernation every winter but never succeeds. Send her fantasy book recs at fb.com/Sabibastro