Cinderella (A J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 21, 2015 by Dennis Amith
The Disney film adaptation is magical, captivating, gorgeous to look at and magnificent! “Cinderella” is highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
FILM RELEASE: 2015
DURATION: 105 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:38:1 Aspect Ratio), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Description Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles
RATED: PG (For Mild Thematic Elements)
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Screenplay by Chris Weitz
Produced by David Barron, Simon Kinberg, Allison Shearmur
Executive Producer: Tim Lewis, Barry H. Waldman
Music by Patrick Doyle
Cinematography by Haris Zambarloukos
Edited by Martin Walsh
Casting by Lucy Bevan
Production Design by Dante Ferretti
Art Direction by Ravi Bansal, Anthony Caron-Delion, Paul Laugier, Stuart Rose
Set Decoration by Casey Banwell, Francesca Lo Schiavo
Costume Design by Sandy Powell
Cate Blanchett as Stepmother
Lily James as Cinderella
Richard Madden as Price
Helena Bonham Carter as Fairy Godmother
Nonso Anozie as Captain
Stellan Skarsgard as Grand Duke
Sophie McShera as Drisella
Holliday Grainger as Anastasia
Derek Jacobi as King
Ben Chaplin as Ella’s Father
Hayley Atwell as Ella’s Mother
Celebrate Disney’s “Cinderella,” a modern classic that shines with beauty, imagination…and magic! Despite being mistreated by her stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters, a spirited Ella (Lily James) resolves to take charge of her fate. Add a royal ball, a Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham-Carter) and a glass slipper, and suddenly – magic becomes reality!
The story of “Cinderella” has endured for centuries, with the first fairy tale known as “Cendrillon” by Charles Perrault and has been a tale that has entertained generations upon generations.
While the most well-known story of “Cinderella” in the past 60-years would be the animated fantasy film popularized by Walt Disney and released back in 1950, fast forward 65-years later and Disney would release a film that would become a box office hit, earning over $542.4 million in the box office (the film had a budget of $95 million).
The film is directed by actor Kenneth Branagh (“Thor”, “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”, “The Magic Flute”, “Hamlet”, “Henry V”) and written by Chris Weitz (“About a Boy”, “The Golden Compass”, “Antz”).
The film would star Cate Blanchett (“The Lord of the Ring” films, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “The Hobbit” films), Lily James (“Downton Abbey”, “Broken”, “Wrath of Titans”), Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”, “A Promise”), Helena Bonham Carter (“Fight Club”, “The King’s Speech”, “Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber Street”), Stellen Skarsgard (“Good Will Hunting”, “The Avengers”, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “Thor”), Sophie McShera (“Downton Abbey”, “Highway to Dhampus”, “Waterloo Road”), Holliday Grainger (“Jane Eyre”, “The Borgias”, “Anna Karenina”) and Derek Jacobi (“The Gladiator”, “The King’s Speech”, “Underworld: Evolution”).
“Cinderella” revolves around Ella, who grew up in a beautiful estate with her wealthy family but taught to treat people with kindness and grace. Read stories by her mother about magic, has allowed Ella to befriend all living animals including the mice. But as perfect as this family may have seem, unfortunately her mother became ill and has died of her illness.
Many years later, Ella (portrayed by Lily James) has grown into a fine young woman. Her father (portrayed by Ben Chaplin) asks Ella if she is OK if he find another woman to marry and she approves, as she loves her father and wants him to be happy.
Her father marries Lady Tremaine (portrayed by Cate Blanchett) and she and her spoiled daughters, Drisella (portrayed by Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (portrayed by Holliday Grainger) begin to show how unkind they are to Ella, but she continues to treat them with respect.
As her father goes to travel on business for a few months, Lady Tremaine and her stepsisters treats Ella as if she is a servant and never lets them eat with her family. She even goes as far as taking her bedroom away from her and giving it to her daughters. But Ella does not make a fuss, because she is with her friendly mice.
One night, as Ella slept by the fireplace for warmth, her face is covered in cinders and her stepsisters begin to call “Cinderella”.
As Ella rides her horse into the woods, one day, she tries to save a stag from a hunter. The hunter named Kit immediately is enchanted by her but before he gets her name, she leaves.
Meanwhile, we learn that Kit is actually the son of a dying king. The King wants Kit to marry and decides to hold a ball open to every young woman in the village and wants his son to find a bride. But Kit can’t get over the girl he met in the woods, hoping that he can finally know who she is.
As Lady Tremaine prepares her daughters for the ball in hopes one of them will marry the prince, Ella wants to go with them and wears her mother’s dress. But Lady Tremaine tells her that she is a disgrace and her dress is a disgrace and rips it up.
As her stepmother and stepsisters leave, Ella is in tears. As an old beggar woman asks for help, Ella kindly helps the old woman out, who reveals herself to be her fairy godmother (portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter). She uses her magic to reveal her true form and turns a pumpkin into a carriage, her mice into horses, two lizards into footmen and a goose into a coachman. She also gives Ella a beautiful blue gown and two glass slippers. And now Ella can go to the ball, but under one strict rule, that the spell will only last ’till midnight.
What happens when Ella goes to the ball?
“Cinderella” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:38:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality is magnificent! Featuring vibrant colors, amazing detail and wonderful saturation. While watching this film, I saw no signs of artifacts or banding. This is truly a wonderful Disney Blu-ray release showcasing amazing picture quality!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Cinderella” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Description Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks. Similar to the picture quality, the lossless soundtrack is amazing. Dialogue and the film’s musical score is crystal clear, surround and rear surround channels are well-utilized for ambiance, especially during the more action-sequences. LFE is also very good and for the most part, audiophiles should be happy with this lossless soundtrack.
Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles.
“Cinderella” comes with the following special features:
- A Fairy Tale Comes to Life – (9:23) Director Kenneth Branagh, cast and crew discuss the live film adaptation of “Cinderella”.
- Costume Test Fun – (2:40) Costume designer Sandy Powell showcases the costume tests used for the film.
- Staging the Ball – (11:27) A featurette showcasing the set design, costumes, choreography for the elegant ballroom scene.
- Alternate Opening: Ella’s childhood – (3:03) A motion storybook by “Jumanji” author Chris Vann Allsburg.
- Ella’s Furry Friends – (3:43) Director Kenneth Branagh and animal trainers Julie Tottman and Guillaume Grange discuss the use of animals in “Cinderella”.
- Frozen Fever – (7:58) An animated short from 2015 featuring Elsa & Kristoff, who are trying to create a surprise birthday celebration for Anna, but Elsa’s cold may get in the way.
“Cinderella” comes with a slipcover and Disney Movie Rewards code.
Having seen what Disney was able to accomplish with film adaptations of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Maleficent”, I have had no doubt in my mind that “Cinderella” would be a wonderful and also successful romantic fantasy film.
The film boasts a strong cast with the involvement of Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Lily James and Richard Madden, but you also have the talented actor and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh behind the helm, as well as the involvement of writer/filmmaker Chris Weitz. Having Disney’s pre-existing story, with a talented cast and crew, for me, all I wanted to see was how the end product would be. How elegant the ballscene and also the costume design would be.
Because after all…”Cinderella” is a tale that everyone knows. It’s a tale that has been ongoing for centuries and for those of us today, we have grown up with the story of “Cinderella” courtesy of Walt Disney, an it’s a beloved storyline about love.
And after watching the film, I was captivated. For one, Lily James did an exceptional job playing the character of Cinderella. She managed to capture the grace of the character, while award winning actress Cate Blanchett, did a wonderful job of playing the mean stepmother. And Helena Bonham Carter in her short scene as the fairy godmother, was also well-done!
And it’s one thing to have great acting performances but when you think of Cinderella, you think of the fairytale and if the crew would be able to capture Cindrella’s carriage, the beautiful gown, the glass slippers and the elegant ball scene. And the crew literally hit a grand slam in capturing what we saw in the animated film, for the big screen. I was just in awe of how beautiful this film was overall.
As for the Blu-ray release, Disney once again gives us a film with fantastic picture quality and an immersive lossless soundtrack which both were impressive. There are a few special features included especially for “Frozen” fans who have been wanting the “Frozen Fever” short that was shown before “Cinderella” in theaters.
Overall, “Cinderella” is one of the most well-known romantic tales of all time. The Disney film adaptation is magical, captivating, gorgeous to look at and magnificent! For anyone who has loved the classic Disney animated film, will no doubt be entertained with this film!
“Cinderella” is highly recommended!
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