I am notorious amongst myself for not having seen The Lion King. The original 1994 one. I hear it's good. Usually I don't put much emphasis on such petty things as the general consensus, but somehow I've come to build such an expectation on the greatness of the original Lion King that I've firmly decided not to see the 2019 live action remake.
But Cinderella? Bah, I have no hype with Cinderella. Some chich with glass shoes? So I watched the 2015 live-action remake, without ever seeing the original one.
The plot, in a nutshell, goes like this: a recently orphaned young woman allows her stepmother to continually reduce her dignity until a series of deus ex machinan give her one chance to make a rich guy save her.
(It actually sounds kinda good when I say it like that.)
I have three issues with it:
- The protagonist LETS herself be treated poorly. She WILLINGLY becomes a servant. She has through her actions and behavior TOLD the stepmother she wants to be treated a certain way, and then she tells her no one deserves to be treated that way. WTF?
- One moment there's the idea of becoming your best self, and the next, the prince is expected to accept her as her worst self.
- Cate Blanchett is above this shit.
I can't help but think Ella thinks she deserves to be punished on some level. As if she blamed herself for the death of her parents. She does not have any right to complain if she chooses to become a servant. The message seems to be "suffer enough and you will be rewarded". But this doesn't happen in real life. All the movie perhaps succeeds to do is teach children that letting people take advantage of you is a value, and the universe will repay you tenfold.
And the prince - he falls for her, thinking she's a princess (she doesn't even correct him!), and I think this is nice in the way that it suggests being royalty is a state of mind instead of a blood status. But then, at the end, when he's about to try the shoe on her, she says she'll take him if he accepts her the way she is, obviously referring NOT to her being a country girl with relatively wealthy family history (they had a manor and servants), but to her being a servant, with ragged clothes and ash on her face - a state she has chosen herself.
And finally, about Blanchett. She creeps me out in a good way. But it doesn't shine through in this movie. She's too good for it.
But hey - I just remembered - there's one good thing about the movie! The scene in which the fairy godmother changes the dress that Ella requests remain the same is interesting because it begs the philosophical question: how much can you change a thing before it turns into another thing?