by Marie Fester
The Disney classic opened on March 13th 2015, grossing a “regal $336.2 million” internationally. Cinderella is Disney’s third live-action princess remake in the past two years, preceded by Maleficent and Into the Woods.
This re-imagined Cinderella did not alter the general storyline of the tale, but did make some welcome additions to strengthen characters. Back-stories were given to Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and Ella (Lily James), the latter of whose childhood was explored in depth at the beginning of the movie, adding substance to her decisions and actions later on.
Despite being a G-rated children’s movie, the plot is occasionally quite dramatic as multiple characters deal with the deaths of loved ones. Some become miserable life-hating people, and others step up to life’s challenges, becoming strong leaders with pure hearts. Viewers cannot help but feel for the characters.
Now, if you aren’t sold on the plot,the costumes designed by Sandy Powell will certainly convince you to see it. Truly designed to be extensions of the characters, the costumes are beautiful, elegant and absolutely extravagant. Lady Tremaine and her two daughters sport 1940s and 1950s inspired outfits. The stepsisters wear pink and yellow inspired from period sorority colors, while still remaining similar to their outrageously puffed sleeves and pink and green dresses from the original animated film.
Meanwhile, Ella starts off in a crisp blue dress, which is eventually worn out and faded by the end. The ball gown, on the other hand, has so much life to it that it seems to be glowing. The iconic gown has more than 12 layers of fine gossamer silk and 10,000 Swarovski crystals. It took 500 hours and 18 seamstresses to make each version. It actually appears to float; when Ella dances with the prince, the skirt of the dress actually takes up a pretty significant amount of floor space. The shoes are no less stunning, made by Swarovski; they were photo-shopped onto the actress who wore a pair of leather shoes while filming. The Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) sports a voluminous sparkling gown that is made to impress.
The wedding dress is equally beautiful. The creamy dress’s top layer is hand painted and took 550 hours to be made by 16 seamstresses. The Prince or Apprentice Kit (Richard Madden) matches nicely in the wedding scene, sporting cream trousers and a light blue jacket.
Despite many rumours, Director Kenneth Branagh as well as Powell, James, and Madden have all said that no Photoshop was used to alter the size of James’ waist. She wore a corset with a crinoline, which is traditional to 19th century dressing. The men’s costumes were also made to model that period. Other visual candies include the exotic pieces in Ella’s family home, the pumpkin carriage, and the ballroom at the palace. Together they create a beautiful fairytale and storybook environment that allowed Branagh’s adapted Cinderella to flourish. With such an incredible rendition, the bar has been set high for the next live action Disney Princess film starring Emma Watson as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, which