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Disney releases trailer for live-action Cinderella

Is Disney missing the chance to do for Cinderella what Maleficent did for Sleeping Beauty?

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Disney releases trailer for live-action Cinderella

The official trailer has been released for Disney's Cinderella, a live-action retelling of the story of an abused girl rescued from a life of drudgery by a strange woman with the power to convert vegetables into modes of transport.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh, who as a director has come a long way from the soul-deadening awfulness of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, it stars Lily James, Cate Blanchett smirking as the wicked stepmother ('Oh, you needn't call me that! "Madam" will do'), Richard Madden (Game of Thrones' Robb Stark) as Prince Charming, and Helena Bonham-Carter bringing her inimitable mojo to the Fairy Godmother.

Although Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the original 1950 Cinderella and 1959's Sleeping Beauty are still fondly regarded, when you come to view Golden Age Disney movies as an adult, there's not much to enjoy in their somnolent pacing and highly dubious sexual politics.

For many viewers, Disney's fairytale movies only became watchable when the creative team of Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman injected camp and energy into Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Still, despite the sparkiness of Mulan and the utter insanity of The Emperor's New Groove, if you're the parent of a daughter you tend to watch Disney films with a sinking heart. Girls in them generally don't make things, or do things: they are princesses, whose only moral code is to be 'kind' and whose only aim in life is to be swept off their feet.

Or so it seemed until Frozen, the first Disney princess film in which the prince was the bad guy and nobody got married at the end. Frozen's runaway success was impossible to repeat, but last year's Maleficent brilliantly retold Sleeping Beauty from the point of view of its villainess, even if it finally lost its nerve.

If the Cinderella trailer is anything to go by, Disney has learned nothing from the fact Maleficent overcame stupid, sexist reviews and made them a ton of money. It looks very much like Disney as usual, with a few good jokes, some perky performances and a heart of golden syrup. Let's just hope we're wrong.

Cinderella is released on Fri 27 Mar.

Cinderella

  • 4 stars
  • 2015
  • US/UK
  • 105 min
  • U
  • Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
  • Cast: Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera, Stellan Skarsgård, Nonso Anozie, Derek Jacobi, Hayley Atwell, Ben Chaplin
  • UK release: 27 March 2015

Cinderella (James) loses her parents and is left with stepmother Lady Tremaine (Blanchett) and cruel stepsisters (McShera and Grainger); but soon enough, she's off to the ball. Weitz's crafty script has enough surreal touches to keep you interested and the result, while hardly a new take on the story, is still a pleasant…

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