Cinderella’s most recent adaptation, starring Camila Cabello and Nicholas Galtizine
By: Samantha Bravo
At some point during our childhood, we have all heard the rags-to-riches story of Cinderella, a girl who longed to escape her wicked family until all her problems were solved by a Fairy Godmother and a handsome prince.
This narrative is so popular that there have been numerous adaptations over the years. While many of these adaptations were successful, Kay Cannon’s Cinderella was a remake that left a lot to be desired.
The adaptation narrated by the Fabulous Fairy Godmother (Billy Porter) tells the story of a young girl named Ella (Camilla Cabello) who lives in her stepmother’s basement. Like in Disney’s live action remake in 2015, she was given the nickname “Cinderella” because “her face was besmirched by cinders and her stepsisters were not that clever.”
Unlike most adaptations, this movie portrays Ella as the girlboss stereotype. In this version of the story, Ella has a dream of starting a clothing line called “Dresses by Ella”.
Throughout the film, Ella rarely does any household chores; instead, Ella spends most of her time in her basement designing her dresses. This is one of the movie’s biggest downfalls. The movie is so inconsistent to the point where it manages to get basic parts of the story wrong.
Ella’s stepmother, Vivian (Idina Menzel) isn’t nearly as wicked. In this adaptation, she’s focused on having her stepdaughter married off and doesn’t support her dreams of owning a successful business.
The movie also attempts to give a reason for mistreating her stepdaughter. It turns out that Vivian was an aspiring pianist who eventually gave up on her dream. Her husband “believed real wives didn’t act so frivolously.”
Like Ella’s stepmother, Ella’s stepsisters, the “Obnoxious Malvolia” (Maddie Ballio) and the “Self-absorbed Narissa” (Charlotte Spencer), are also not as wicked since they don’t really pose as a threat; they spend half of the movie doing most of Ella’s chores.
Like all versions of the story, Prince Robert (Nicholas Galtizine) seeks to marry Ella, but this time he has no desire to rule the kingdom and would refuse to marry any of the women his father would force him to marry. According to Ella, there are rumors in the village saying that the prince is irresponsible and that the real brains of the family is his sister Gwen (Tallulah Greive).
There is also little to no chemistry between Prince Robert and Ella, who is reluctant to attend the ball because she views it as “weird and antiquated.” The only reason why she accepts the invitation is because he promises her that there will be people from all over the world who she can sell her dresses to.
She also refuses to marry him at first because becoming his queen would mean giving up on her dream.
There are so many anachronisms in this movie that it’s hard to tell what time period it’s supposed to be taking place.
Instead of featuring original songs like the Rodgers and Hammerstein adaptation and the Disney adaptation, Cannon decided to make her adaptation a jukebox musical. They include Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson, Material Girl by Madonna, Perfect by Ed Sheeran, and Somebody to Love by Queen.
This was obviously done to appeal to younger audiences, but this attempt immediately falls short since most of the songs are heavily autotuned, feel shoehorned in and don’t really fit in with the story.
The movie establishes that it takes place during a time where women were not supposed to own businesses and there are scenes where the characters wear period clothing. However, most of the gowns in the ball scenes look like bad quinceañera dresses.
The gowns that Ella designs are no better since most of them look cheaply made. Even her ball gown looks like something that came out of the clearance section.
The dialogue also uses modern words and phrases such as “She cray” and “Poppin.”There are also times when characters tend to over-explain their motivations and times where they shove morals about feminism and capitalism down the audience’s throats, making it awkward and cringey at times.
The only saving grace of this movie are the performances of Idina Menzel and Billy Porter, who do their best despite the material they were given.
Even though Vivian isn’t as evil as most of the stepmothers we’ve encountered, she can still be very menacing at times. Her rendition of Material Girl was also very decent compared to most of the songs in the film.
The Fabulous Fairy Godmother, on the other hand, has very witty dialogue and a stellar singing voice to match.
Overall, Kay Cannon’s Cinderella remake is so poorly done that not even a magic wand would be enough to salvage it.