As you may know, I am not against a remake, a reboot, reimagining, etc. However, I do have high expectations if a studio decides to take on the challenge. This Cinderella jukebox musical is no exception. Personally, I’m a huge fan of jukebox musicals; but when the idea was first announced to do another musical version of Cinderella, my thought was, “Why?” We already have so many renditions of this story under different names. Now, after having seen the film, my question still remains…WHY?!

Before I dive in, let’s discuss the giant cast Amazon Studios was able to procure for this wild idea. Cinderella is written and directed by Kay Cannon who sprang to jukebox fame with her hit Pitch Perfect film trilogy. Pierce Brosnan plays the King. His wife, the Queen, is played by Minnie Driver (The Riches/Circle of Friends). Billy Porter (Pose) takes on the role of Fab-G – Cindy’s Fairy Godmother. Finally, playing Cinderella, in her acting debut, is Camilla Cabello. Of course, James Corden (Cats) squeezed himself into the role of a mouse-turned footman. Because if there’s a musical movie brewing Corden just can’t help himself.

The Cast And Great Things About Cinderella

On top of a stellar cast, in order for Cinderella to be successful (in my eyes), the writers need to make some interesting twists on the tale we all know so well – and that is where I think this rendition of the story shines. In Amazon’s version, Cinderella isn’t just a girl who is abused by her stepmother and stepsisters, she is a girl with a passion and a dream. Cindy wants to be a dressmaker and dreams of selling her original pieces in the marketplace – where currently only men are allowed.

Similar to Henry’s story, our latest Prince Charming learns of his privilege and the country’s antiquated rules and ideals through his accidental run-in with Cinderella. There are a handful of other storylines that help push this progressive narrative along that I truly enjoyed. As a viewer, I was able to see the entire kingdom come together in solidarity proving that they were all ready to make some serious changes for the better.

Another storyline change that I genuinely loved was that of the “evil” stepmother. Menzel plays this character with ease and heart. We learn so much more about her character through a fantastic backstory giving us the motivation needed to understand the choices she makes for herself, her daughters, and even Cinderella. Now, that’s not to say the evil stepmother doesn’t have atrocious moments, I really enjoyed the softness and mother/daughter moments Menzel and Cabello were allowed to have because of this change. Choosing to lighten up the “evil” side of the stepmother I believe was a risk that truly paid off. 

The Problems With Cinderella

However, with the handful of hits, there are way too many misses for me. Starting with the costuming. The outfits are all over the place – some are of the assumed period, others are incredibly modern, they also looked really cheap – this includes Cinderella’s ball gown. Cinderella’s entire storyline and dream are to become a dressmaker. How are they going to let her roll up to the ball looking like a raggedy mess in cheap shoes? Fab-G couldn’t design a better dress and do the girls’ hair?! How is he going to let her leave for the ball with the same messy braid she cleans the house in! I’ll never understand it.

Next, are the song choices. Yes, there are a couple of great numbers that get you pumped. Honestly, the use of Rhythm Nation was fantastic. I haven’t heard that in a jukebox musical yet and I loved it. However, there are many moments that fall flat, including the original song, ‘Million to One’, and can someone please come up with a new song choice for finding love? I can’t hear Queen’s “Somebody to Love” one more time in a musical. In the vast library of music available at our fingertips, there has to be another option. Let that song die with Happy Feet.

Overall, I can’t say I was let down by Cinderella. The film definitely met my extremely low expectations. I’m sure there is an audience out there for it somewhere. It’s just not me.

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