tek's rating: ½

Cinderella (G)
AFI Catalog; Disney Movies; Disney Wiki; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TCM; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Disney+; Google Play; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu; YouTube

Caution: spoilers.

So, this came out in 1950, twenty-five years before I was born, but of course I saw it when I was a kid in the 80s, on VHS or whatever. And I finally watched it again in 2013, on DVD. Of course it's a classic Disney movie, so I hold it in fairly high regard, though I don't quite love it. The animation is nice enough, for its era. And it's got some sweet and memorable songs... although it seems to me when I was a kid, I was upset to learn that one song was called "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," because to me it sounded like the words being sung were "bippity boppity boo." With P's instead of B's, you know. It's even possible that would have made more sense to me, which is ridiculous because it's complete nonsense either way. (It's also possible I felt vaguely sorry for the other magic words in the song, which sounded just as good to me, but which were treated like they had no power of their own.) Whatever, watching it now... I think through most of the song I heard B's instead of P's, so I'm pretty much over it, though I'm sure I did still hear a few P's in there. (On an essentially unrelated note, I've also always been annoyed whenever I read things that say the Road Runner from Looney Tunes cartoons says "Beep Beep," when in fact I'm sure he says "Meep Meep." That's something I'll never get over, but it's okay, because I think I'm probably in the majority on that one.)

But I digress. Um... so, of course the movie is based on a fairy tale, and is set in some small kingdom (which nevertheless includes a very impressive castle). There was some rich widower who had a daughter named Cinderella, who was a sweet kid. But her dad decides she needs a mother, so he marries some wealthy widow who has two daughters of her own, Drizella and Anastasia. What happens next is nothing whatsoever like The Brady Bunch. At some point, Cinderella's father dies, and her stepmother squanders the family fortune on her daughters, while treating Cinderella like a servant. In fact, Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters are total... (word I won't say). Anyway, Cinderella tries to stay positive, in spite of the crazy number of chores she has, and the utter contempt with which she is treated. And she has some help in her positivity from the birds and mice who are her friends, as well as a dog named Bruno and a horse... who I don't recall having a name. But while there are lots of mice, only two are of particular importance to the story. One is Jaq, a fairly clever and helpful mouse, though his manner of speech is a bit odd (like saying words twice, or changing the end of words to "y," i.e. "Cinderelly" or "Lucify"; he also frequently says something that sounds like "zoot," which I think means something like "understand?" or "yes" or... meh, I dunno what it means). Early in the movie, a new mouse moves into the house, whom Cinderella names Gus (Jaq calls him Gus-Gus). Um... Gus is fat, and kinda dumb, and definitely foolish, which always leads him into dangerous situations. Particularly in regard to the stepmother's aptly-named cat, Lucifer. And Gus's speech mainly consists of repeating what Jaq says, and often laughing at inappropriate times. But... both mice are likable enough, I guess.

Anyway... there's also a king, who wants his son, the prince, to get married, so he can give the king grandchildren. The prince apparently has no interest in such things, so the king orders the Grand Duke to arrange a ball, and invites all the eligible young women in the kingdom to attend, hoping the prince will like one of them. Of course Drizella and Anastasia are eager to attend, and Cinderella would like to as well... but her stepmother and stepsisters prevent her from doing so. But then just when Cinderella has finally lost all hope of her life ever getting better, her fairy godmother shows up and magically transforms some stuff into other stuff to help get her to the ball, and then magically gives Cinderella a new dress. But she says the spell will be broken at midnight, which doesn't give Cinderella a lot of time. But she does get to the ball, and dances with the prince, though she doesn't realize he is the prince. Basically, the two of them fall in love at first sight, and don't do much besides dance. In fact, the prince barely has any dialog at all, so we never really get to know him. (I don't believe in love at first sight, but I can suspend disbelief for the purposes of a story. Anyway, the dude would have to be pretty horrible for marrying him not to be an improvement over Cinderella's current situation. Seriously, he wouldn't even have to be a prince, or handsome, or anything. But he is those things, and presumably he's a reasonably nice guy. So whatever... I can root for them to get together, whether I believe they're really in love or not.)

Um... so I need to mention- as if you didn't know- the gown the fairy godmother provided Cinderella included a pair of glass slippers. That's always seemed weird to me... I know I sure wouldn't want to wear shoes made of glass, but maybe they weren't really glass, I don't know. In any event they're magical, so it's fair to assume they're safer than I would expect real glass slippers to be. (They're also not really slippers, at least not what I mean when I use the word "slippers," but I might as well let that slide, too.) The thing that I can't let slide, however, is that at midnight, everything else turns back to what it was before, including Cinderella's tattered old dress. And yet, the glass slippers remain. That's an essential plot point, but it really doesn't make any sense to me. (Also I think it took a lot longer than it should have to get from the first stroke of midnight to the twelfth stroke, but that's another thing I'll overlook.) Anyway, Cinderella loses one of her slippers in her haste to get away from the castle, so the prince, who doesn't know her name, declares that he'll marry the girl whom the slipper fits. So the Grand Duke has to go try it on every girl in the kingdom. (The guy really has a thankless job.)

Anyway... in spite of my minor gripes, it's a good movie. There's some real humor in it, and of course a happy ending. And stuff. I feel like I should say more, but... at the moment, that's all I can think to say.

In 2015, there was a live-action remake.

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Cinderella adaptations
movies: Cinderella (1950) * Ever After * A Cinderella Story * Ella Enchanted * Cinderella (2015) * Cinderella (2021)
TV: Faerie Tale Theatre (episode) * Cinderella (1997) * Once Upon a Time (episode)
ensembles: Into the Woods (1991) * The 10th Kingdom * Shrek the Third * Into the Woods (2014) * Once Upon a Time (season 7)