Amazon, why would you do this to Cinderella?


Cinderella via TikTok has arrived with a new, non-Disney musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale on Amazon Prime Video. But this anachronistic reinterpretation of history is not remotely understood by the audience it is speaking to.

You know the story: a long time ago in a distant kingdom an obedient and beautiful young woman is bullied by her wicked stepmother and ugly stepsisters and then escapes because of a fairy godmother, a glass slipper and a charming prince. But what if Cinderella’s wicked stepmother (Frozen‘s Idina Menzel) was more of a Jane Austen mother worried that a rich marriage is the only way a woman can make happiness? What if the stepsisters aren’t ugly but rather insecure? What if Cinderella is redeemed not by a distinguished prince, but by her own creative desires? That sounds promising on paper. In progress, Amazons Cinderella is absolutely not to be seen.

Writer and director Kay Cannon delighted critics and audiences with her debut Blockers, that tells a slippery but heartwarming story of parents and teenagers. However, she also created the unforgettable Netflix series Girl boss, so it may not come as a surprise that her idea of ​​female empowerment already feels old-fashioned.

Photo: Amazon Studios

Pop star Camila Cabello hits the headlines as Ella, who dreams of leaving her basement apartment behind and challenging her stepfamily to become a fashion designer with her own business. The fashion she creates is ugly, full of frills, and thrives without any sense of sophistication. Even the big ball gown, which is supposed to be a moment of style spectacle – and is referred to in the film as “pure fantasy” – looks at best like an expensive prom gown. Even more disturbing, however, is how Cannon trades confirmation of a prince for confirmation of commercial success. The focus at Ella’s tailoring is not on the pride she brings, but on how she could make money from it. Because your passion means nothing if you cannot take advantage of it under capitalism. Remember children! Do not learn anything from the burnout of the Millennial Hustle Culture!

But don’t worry, Ella still captivates the prince even though he’s not everything. Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) has no interest in politics, in becoming king, or in anything other than the “heart with its merry bonds”. At least until he sees Ella. Then he transforms into a pick-me-boy, dresses to impress, and buys Ella a dress to get her attention. Does he believe in your work or is he just hot for you? Who should say It is as poorly developed as it is boring. He has no ambitions other than reaching Ella, which by today’s standards isn’t exactly a fairy tale romance.

Fortunately for the Kingdom, his sister Princess Gwen (a brave Tallulah Greive) is constantly making progressive suggestions (Sustainable Energy! Welfare Programs!) When she’s not sneaking around the castle looking for a literal “place at the table”. However, that’s all it does. It’s a joke with a note, but it’s funnier that it’s supposed to be inspirational.

Lip service to feminism is abundant in Cannon’s script, with talk about self-love, social justice, and standing up against men in power. But the narrative undermines these platitudes. Cinderella’s success as a seamstress is based on her closeness to wealth. Even her “Fabulous Godmother” (Billy Porter) realizes that “Rich people will … change your life!” He also insists that she wear uncomfortable high-heeled glass slippers because “Women’s shoes are what they are. Magic also has its limits. ”You see, it’s funny because it’s impossible to fight or not to contradict painful gender norms!

A ball gown Cinderella (Camila Cabello) and her fabulous godmother (Billy Porter) dance outside in Amazon's Cinderella

Photo: Amazon Studios

The film also hits one of the self-doubting stepsisters with messages of body positivity, but the filmmakers mostly target the skinny one (Charlotte Spencer). In the meantime, Cinderella mocks fat people with regressive stereotypes. The lumbering stepsister (Maddie Baillio) is clumsy and described as “hideous,” and when she feels hurt she turns to Essen for consolation. James Corden (who also produced it) is one of Cinderella’s three mouse friends. And how with Cats, his jokes revolve around his weight, volume, and insatiable need for food.

Amazons Cinderella Also, queer culture digs after the mainstream pieces for a sheen of inclusion and glamor. The mice make dark sides while Ella sings. recall RuPaul’s Drag Race, a brigade of would-be queens who drift into eleganza lip-synchronicity to win their lives for a judge’s favor. Then, of course, Porter comes with a bold orange outfit that goes well with his red carpet highlight role. But the Fabulous Godmother is little more than the Magical Sassy Black Friend, whose sole purpose is to give Ella life-changing advice while keeping her cool by being close.

In addition, the musical numbers are unfortunately disappointing. The choreography is uninspired, offers nothing fascinating, let alone memorable. The pre-existing songs that have been selected often seem unmotivated, with lyrics that have little to do with what is on the screen. (“Seven Nation Army,” sung by a pouting prince at a ball, is an especially bizarre choice.) The songs are written to the the movie is doing better, especially if they give Menzel the chance to put her Broadway dazzles in the foreground. But the cinematography feels sloppy, with poor coverage and lighting that often leaves the characters’ eyes in shadow. In a great moment of romantic rapture, Ella and her prince become as boring as the mice hopping around under their feet. And frankly, Cabello and Galitzine could use any help they can get. They are pretty, but sorely lacking in chemistry or charisma.

Cinderella (Camila Cabello) and her prince arm in arm at the ball

Photo: Amazon Studios

Simply put, this film is amazingly bad. It’s full of half-hearted ideas, blah fashions, and stale stereotypes. In a clunky attempt to make it modern, Cannon claps in songs by Ed Sheeran, Madonna, and Janet Jackson, along with slang passages like “chicks dig it,” “dude,” and “that’s how old people say ‘poppin’. “Besides, there is no flow in the narrative. Scenes collide with one another without grace, which is all the more noticeable in a musical.

Maybe it’s so incoherent because the filmmakers felt that Generation Z embraced TikTok so fully that it didn’t require flow. It’s easy to imagine a producer introducing this to Amazon with “Today’s kids only want dance numbers, fashion and social justice, delivered in bite-sized bites!”. But TikTok users show more uniqueness in their dance, more nerves in their politics and more talent in their fashion than this studio film can muster. It’s frankly annoying that a princess movie is so lacking in size. Everything Cannon has delivered is a terrifying eyesore that is deadly boring and intellectually shallow.

Cinderella will be released exclusively on Prime Video on September 3rd.

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