tek's rating: ½

Cinderella (PG), on Amazon
Amazon Studios; fulwell73; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

This was originally meant for theatrical release, but was released instead on Amazon, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (It did appear in a few select theaters, I guess, but I still consider it a web film.) It features several familiar pop songs, which I thought were all very well selected to fit their scenes, as well as some new songs. I also enjoyed the feminist messages in the film, and the toying with the idea of "love at first sight" not really making much sense.

So, Ella (Camila Cabello) lives with her stepmother, Vivian (Idina Menzel), and her stepsisters, Malvolia and Narissa (who call her "Cinderella"). Vivian and Malvolia aren't exactly nice to Ella (I'm less sure about Narissa, who seemed nicer), but none of them were nearly as mean as I've seen in some other adaptations of the story (aside from some internalized misogyny on Vivian's part, but that's explained later in her backstory). Ella designs dresses, but has little chance to actually make them, much less sell them, because women aren't allowed to conduct business in the kingdom where they live. To make matters worse, she has a suitor named Thomas, whom she doesn't like, but Vivian eventually promises him that Ella will marry him. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We also meet Prince Robert, who is supposed to be the next king, but he spends his time gallivanting around, avoiding responsibility. He's considered something of a joke by the townsfolk, much to the dismay of his father, King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan), who wants him to settle down and get married. Rowan arranges a ball for all the eligible women in the kingdom, from whom Robert is supposed to choose a wife, but before then he's already become interested in Ella, for a reason I won't get into. More sympathetic to Robert is his mother, Queen Beatrice (Minnie Driver), who has her own problems with Rowan no longer being the same kind of man he was when they were first in love. Meanwhile, Robert has a sister named Princess Gwen, who wishes she could become the next ruler of the kingdom instead of Robert, and seems to have a lot of good, modern ideas about improving the kingdom. But Rowan doesn't take her seriously, because she's a woman.

Anyway, Vivian forbids Ella from going to the ball, but her Fabulous Godmother (Billy Porter) creates a dress for her from one of Ella's own designs, and makes it so no one at the ball except Robert will recognize her. (I'm not sure of the Godmother's pronouns, but I think "he" seems most likely, so that's what I'll use. I apologize if I'm mistaken.) He also creates a carriage for her, along with some horses, and turns three CGI mice into humans (one of them played by James Corden, who also produced the film). So, Ella goes to the ball and discovers that Robert, whom she'd met earlier, is actually the prince, and they get along pretty well. But her main goal is to mingle with people she might sell her dresses to, and she meets a foreign queen named Tatiana, who wants to hire her to travel the world with her as her personal fashion designer. So that seems to present a great opportunity for Ella, but also a bit of a dilemma. I don't want to say how everything turns out, but I like the ending quite a bit. (I'm not sure how Tatiana was supposed to recognize her after the spell wore off, but that's a minor quibble.) On the whole, I thought the movie was pretty good. Oh, and the town crier is cool.

fantasy web films index
musical web films index

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)