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Cinematic Bliss: Cinderella (1950)
To mix things up, my bosses thought it would be nice if I reviewed a good movie... this is not going to happen all the time so I'm going to savor this moment as much as possible. So what's on the desk today?
Oh wow... the bosses downstairs must really like me this week. Cinderella is not only one of my favorite Disney movies ever, but it's quite underrated and has a bad reputation. Not a lot of people know that Cinderella pretty much was the movie that saved Disney studios. Yeah if Cinderella had failed at the box office, that would been the end of Walt Disney Pictures. So without Cinderella there would be no Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, Tangled and of course Frozen. A lot was riding on a movie that people knew the story to already and yet even though everyone knows Cinderella's story they still went to see this and of course it's still considered a classic. So what makes this movie so special?
I guess I'll tell you guys the plot (there has to be someone who's been living under a rock after all). Cinderella is a young woman who's lost both her parents and is now living under the abuse of her Stepmother and two stepsisters. Even though she's abused, humiliated, and forced to do all the chores, Cinderella still holds to hope that someday she will be happy again. A royal ball is announced and all the eligible throughout the kingdom are invited. After some more dream crushing abuse, Cinderella isn't able to go to the ball. Then through magic by her Fairy Godmother, Cinderella is given a chance to be happy and just maybe she could live happily ever after. First let's get the negatives out of the way, there is a lot of unnecessary filler in this movie. I would say about 20-25 minutes of this movie is focused on Cinderella's mice friends and their constant war with the Stepmother's cat Lucifer. This might entertain the kids, but as a grown up yeah it's a huge waste of time. The other big negative is the fact that The Prince has no role in this movie at all. This version of Cinderella focuses mainly on the Prince's father who wants his son to marry and have a family. We never even get to know the Prince's real name.
Anyway, what makes this movie so great? Well the animation is truly one of the best I've ever seen. Digital animation is nice enough, but whenever I see a classic Disney movie like this one I truly start to miss hand drawn animation. The bibbity bobbity boo segment is just lovely and even the landscapes are just great to look at. The voice acting is great, Eleanor Audley voices the Evil Stepmother and she just is so good at being a conniving evil person simply because she has control over someone's life. Ilene Woods also does a lovely job voicing the hopeful Cinderella and of course her singing voice is always a pleasure to listen to.
Now let's address the elephant in the room, the whole bad reputation of this movie and just the fairy tale of Cinderella in general. Both the movie and this story gets constantly accused of being a sexist story about how a weak defenseless girl needs a man to rescue her. Yeah if you're a Feminist you should stop reading this because I am about to burst this whole sexist story bubble. First of all, we have to remember when this story was written. Charles Perrault wrote the most popular version of the story in 1697. During this time, women had very little to no rights unless they had a fortune or good connections. Cinderella's step family does have some money but they pretty much squandered it on clothes, jewelry and other material stuff. So that would explain why the stepmother at least is desperate for one of her daughters to marry the Prince.
Second of all, Cinderella is not and never was meant to be a Feminist story. A lot of people forget that this whole story is not just about 4 women who can't get along. Cinderella is not only forced to do all the chores, she is emotionally abused and is treated like dirt by the only family she has. When someone is abused and mistreated like that, there is no fighting back. A lot of people also say it's very unrealistic for Cinderella to be so upbeat and cheerful all the time in the face of this abuse. While I get where the argument comes from, you can also make the argument that hope is all Cinderella has. So really this story is about having hope and being able to get through hard times even when the whole world seems to be against you. That's a powerful message for children and I think that's why I love this movie so much. A little bit of hope can go a long way. Score: 8/10.