Review: Cinderella (Amazon Prime 2021)

The wait is finally over. The newest version of Cinderella starring pop sensation Camila Cabello is one of the films that was most affected by the theater closures during the lockdown. It was supposed to be released by Sony at the beginning of this year but was sold to Amazon Prime and released today instead. Does it live up to the hype? Many fans of the original fairy tale and its countless adaptations frown upon "jukebox musicals" that incorporate pre-existing songs, especially when there are already so many original musical adaptations of the story, including one that was just released in England this year. Though original songs are more creative and inspirational than something I've heard on the radio a million times, I appreciate that the marketing for this movie was honest and straightforward. Plus, the film's featured original song, "Million To One," is incredibly catchy and fun.

Amazon Prime Cinderella Poster featuring Camila Cabello with the rest of the cast behind her

Cinderella was filmed prior to the pandemic when the world was a more optimistic place, and boy, does it show. While it may incorporate some modern themes and character archetypes, the overall tone is reminiscent of a light-hearted romantic comedy from the '90s rather than the types of gritty nostalgic reimagining we see from modern-day Hollywood. The hodgepodge of anachronistic costumes, music, and sets have no intention of making sense, and that's perfectly fine as long as you don't go in expecting a historical drama. Not every movie needs to be taken seriously. Instead, Cinderella provides an opportunity to take your mind off your problems for a couple of hours. Everyone in the cast looked like they were having a ball making it (pun intended) regardless of how little sense it makes if you think about it too hard.

Camila Cabello shines in her role as Ella, an aspiring fashion designer reminiscent of another film that came out earlier this year. Her hopes and dreams revolve around her aspiration to sell dresses to kingdoms far and wide. Falling in love was never something that she factored into that future. When she learns that the handsome young man who bought her dress in the marketplace was actually the crown prince, Robert, she respectfully declines his offer of marriage, thinking it would interfere with a job offer she received from a powerful queen she met at the ball. The movie teaches girls that they have the right to choose what they want to do with their lives and to never let anyone decide for them, which is an important and respectable theme. I also liked that Ella was not tough in the sense of modern Disney Princess archetypes and that she was interested in a career that could be considered traditionally feminine even though she was ahead of her time.

My favorite part of this movie is when Cinderella shared her romantic dance with the prince at the ball. Though I have no strong feelings toward the song "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran that they danced to, the lighting, acting, choreography, and cinematography worked together beautifully to recreate this iconic fairytale moment. Cinderella's dress looked amazing in this scene with its crystal accents that reflected rainbows into the camera's foreground, though I have mixed feelings about it during other parts. The corset seemed too stiff and big in the chest for some of the modern dancing she did with her gender-neutral godmother. One thing that I really liked about the godmother in this version is that they came from an act of kindness that Cinderella performed near the beginning of the film, which made their appearance more meaningful.

I think it's unfortunate that this movie is getting a lot of hate from critics due to the lack of original music and its stubborn refusal to take itself seriously. We can all use a chance to escape our troubled lives for a while and enter a world of pure fun where anything is possible. Sure, it's not Rodgers and Hammerstein, but it also isn't the disaster that Ella Enchanted turned out to be. It's a perfectly fine non-Disney fairy tale adaptation that gave its actors an opportunity to have a lot of fun before the world turned into a not-so-fun place. Cinderella makes no pretenses about what it is in its marketing, so if it doesn't look like it would appeal to you, don't watch it. However, if you're looking for some mindless fun that doesn't require heavy thought, then by all means, check it out on Amazon Prime today.


jar1234 said…
That was a good review of the movie and I am glad you liked it.
PrincessContent said…
So, finally I got the time to watch this!

I probably will never watch this movie again but I had fun while watching it. It was cute and charming at times with, yes, some cringe stuff but I think that critics are being way to hard on this film. Like you said, the marketing for this was pretty straightforward, not trying at all to hide what it wanted to be.

It’s completely fine not to like this film and I can agree on some of the criticism it has received. Still didn’t rob me of my fun while watching it though. I always find it fun to watch fairy-tale adaptations to see what new details they will add to the story.

I really liked the scene where Ella climbs the statue to see better, the king calling her out and the prince falling for her right then and there. A fun and unique way for the prince to “meet” Ella before the ball. It’s also a bit funny that this Cinderella climbs onto a statue too, just like ALW’s Cinderella.
Lisa Dawn said…
Yes, I said the same thing about the statue! I was like "OMG That's what she did in the other new Cinderella musical!" I agree that people are being way too hard on it. It's a mindless good time, plain and simple. I'd like to see more non-Disney adaptations of classic fairy tales in the future.

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