Amazon’s Cinderella: Looking Back?

I just watched Amazon’s new version of the Cinderella story, and I like it.

Do I love it? Ask me again tomorrow. I need to think about it. I need to internalize it. Maybe need to watch it again.

I was struck by allusions to past versions, but I couldn’t find any discussion about it on the web, so I thought I’d throw out some observations, and see if anybody else notices the same thing.

-The intro starts with a screen-filling view of the sky that definitely calls to mind the opening of Disney’s 2015 live action Cinderella (2015.) The inclusion of the butterfly (remember “un papillon?”) is also reminiscent of that version.

-The dancing in the town square reminds me of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “The Prince is Giving a Ball,” particularly, in my case, the Lesley Ann Warren version.

-The mice harken back to the original Disney cartoon, which was in turn revisited in the Lily James version.

-The intermingling of contemporary music as well as the big musical number at the end are, in my opinion, a definite reference to Ella Enchanted with Anne Hathaway. Pay particular attention to the costuming choice for Ella and tell me what you think.

-Also like Ella Enchanted, this Cinderella uses “Find Me Somebody to Love” by Queen, but in a very different way. Minnie Driver, Ella’s fairy godmother in the Ella Enchanted version, is a significant character in this one, but most definitely not the bumbling guardian angel.

-The prince-reluctant-to-be-king calls to mind Dougray Scott in Ever After. Cinderella (2021) also has a potential suitor for Ella whom she finds distasteful, but he is not nearly as disgusting as Richard O’Brien’s Pierre Le Pieu.

Do not mistake these allusions for copies. This production of Cinderella is very original and brings a fresh take while recognizing its place in the much larger body of Cinderella interpretations. It manages to deliver the classic story in a way that satisfies a total Cinderella-phile like me, while offering significant differences that weave smoothly and seamlessly into the well-established storyline. Some notable differences are:

-the inclusion of a sister with the prince

-an interesting take on the relationship between the king and queen

-a fairy godfather instead of godmother who is a real hoot but not overtly silly

-interactions between the newly human mice footmen

-a different take on the stepmother, inspired no-doubt by the singing talent of Idina Menzel

I will be checking the web regularly for other reviews of this production, and I am interested to see if anyone else shares my perspective on the references to previous versions. I am most eager to hear/read the opinions of others, so please leave comments with your thoughts.

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