I tried using another title, but this one goes so well with what I wanted to say, that I sacrificed it for the cliché statement. So, in the praise of Disney fairy tales and especially, Cinderella, let me proceed.
As probably many kids on this planet, I grew up with stories, folk fairy tales, building my dream land at the feet of Belle’s castle or in the woods of Sleeping Beauty. It strengthened my vocabulary, developed my imagination and made me a bit naïve because I would always believe in good winning over evil, or in magical moments in life.
When I was a little girl, though, my family’s financial possibilities were limited, so I only had books to read, without cable TV or Disney movies I could watch. So all the mainstream fairy tales that have been made into motion pictures for the past years, were not accessible to me. Internet came along for me only in 2004, and at that age, watching animations was not my priority.
However… to reason with the title, discovering the corresponding animated Disney movies to the magazines and books I’ve read came in my twenties. (now I’m almost 24:P) I think the first time I watched Lion King was when I was 20. OMG blasphemy! And ever since I caught up on Mulan, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and so on (soooo many, including the recent ones featured with Pixar).
And sometimes … Disney produces a gem of a movie, that is not animated, and it just transfers perfectly from your imagination onto the screen.
Turning the page, I’d like to talk a bit about Cinderella 2015, one of the newest Disney movies, which enchanted my eyes and my spirit. Although Cinderella, as a story, is a mere, false ideal of how, if you’re truly hard working and humble, you’ll find your prince, and love will emerge and bam, happy ending, this movie tries to subtly and softly change this approach. And through the years I got to learn that animated or not, Disney movies are also about character building, not necessarily a nice, honey-dripping drama meant to go away.
These stories are meant to stay in a meaningful way.
I confess I was quite reluctant before watching the movie, because, well, Cinderella was not one of my favourite stories ever and especially I did not connect with the “victim” pretense of the main character, as genuine as she was. However, I thought that if Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham-Carter star in it, that might be a good reason to just go along.
Besides the fact that it is quite rare, I think, when the evil character gets her own credit and we dive a bit deeper into her past, almost to the point of reaching empathy and pity, it is also the first time I feel Cinderella stands up for herself. She does not only want to be married with the prince just like that. She is not mesmerized by the ball. She just wants to have fun, to live in the moment, to be happy with the simple things in life — having danced in the prince’s castle. She is portrayed as a brave, dignified young woman, who does not play the victim this time.
I truly loved the movie, the faithful reproduction of the story line, and the absolutely fantastic moment of Cinderella’s transformation. Call me a softie, but man, I just couldn’t resist the magical moment of the Godmother turning Cinderella into a blue pearl:
(even the music is so damn uplifting — composed by Academy nominated Patrick Doyle)
Did I glorify this enough? Nope, I still have something to add. :)) Something that made me smile sincerely and again, look at a different perspective of Cinderella. The scene where Cinderella steps out of the carriage to enter into the castle, she stops at the coachman and says:
“I’m frightened, Mr. Lizard. I’m only a girl, not a princess.”
to which Mr. Lizard so wisely replies:
“And I’m only a lizard, not a footman. Enjoy it while it lasts.”
Cinderella smiles and off she goes.
What a simple, yet inspiring message, isn’t it? Sometimes, in life, we’re given (or we create for ourselves, depends on your belief system) truly magical moments, grand things we thought are not possible for us. And we should just enjoy they while we can. :) Wholeheartedly.
Now, before I end this ode to Disney, I’d like to mention ooooone more thing, or two, about Cinderella: first things first, Lily James is absolutely beautiful and graceful and the perfect Cinderella I have ever seen EVER. There’s no one who could have been better than her. Second, her Oscar Winning Sandy Powell designed blue dress is like a treasure, so dreamy and simple, yet swoon to the eye. That blue is astonishing, and media has it the dress embroided more than 10 000 Swarowski crystals. However they made it, it looked ravishing, especially when Ella dances, the swift, soft moves of the nacreous waves .. aaaaahh … and I don’t know why I have a feeling a lot of ladies will want a wedding gown similar to this dress. Or maybe it’s just me, meh. Third thing, Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham-Carter — fabulous and excellent. Enough said.
I’m finally getting to the bottom of this long article and albeit I’d like to apologize, I’d like not to. I truly think Disney movies (animated or not) can still be inspiring for anyone, as they are ageless and so beautifully made with the current technology. Cinderella does justice to the industry by being an inspirational, yet exquisite fantasy that goes beyond “good looks” and can deliver a stronger, deeper message about women empowerment, kindness and bravery.
I don’t care if I am 60 years old and I’ll be watching fairy tales with my grandchildren. There’s no rule for wonder in this life. And Disney movies are a wonder and an inspiration.