1 The Mickey Mindset: Disney Animation Reviews #12 - Cinderella

Monday, December 30, 2013

Disney Animation Reviews #12 - Cinderella

Disney Movie Review: 12/53 - Cinderella

Ryan Dosier - Today’s movie is the 1950 Disney classic Cinderella. This is the first true feature film for Walt Disney Animation Studios since Bambi in 1942, as Disney shifted into making cheap “package films” for the eight years in between during World War II.

Cinderella also marks yet another wonderful Disney take on a beloved fairy tale—this time telling the story of perhaps the most well-known fairy tale in history. Walt Disney and his animators use their artistry and talent to create what has become one of, if not the most well known version of the Cinderella story.

As a guy, I’m sure it might sound odd to hear that I love Cinderella, but I really do. The film features a wonderful balance of cartoon sensibilities and realistic human portrayals. The animals in the film (Cinderella’s mice friends, Lucifer the cat, etc.) are all very cartoony and have brief side adventures that are very reminiscent of cartoon shorts. But Cinderella, her stepmother, the prince, and most of the human cast are all very realistically portrayed and designed.

Cinderella's music is the best a Disney film has had since Pinocchio. The film turns out a handful of Disney standards including “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” “Cinderelly,” “So This is Love,” and, of course, “Bippity Boppity Boo.” The score is also fantastic and really punctuates the sequences involving the mice hijinks.

There are numerous strong characters in the film, including the Evil Stepmother who is pure evil, Lucifer the cat who is sheer malice, Jaq and Gus-Gus the mice who are simply fun. But the character that does the most with limited screen time is the bubbly, colorful, delightful Fairy Godmother. She does have the benefit of the fantastic “Bippity Boppity Boo” song, but the dear old fairy is wonderful in less than 15 minutes onscreen.

Cinderella herself is the film’s strongest character. She is soft, unassuming, and resilient, but she has hopes and dreams and courage. No longer is the female protagonist passive and foolish, such as Snow White. Cinderella is thankful for the little she has and never falls prey to fawning over a prince. She deals with her evil stepmother and awful stepsisters with amazing grace and calm. No, she isn’t Disney’s strongest animated female, but Cinderella holds her own among the best.

Unfortunately, Prince Charming is incredibly under developed. We get a sense that he is outgoing and adventurous, but it never shows in the film. The characters of the King and the Grand Duke are actual characters with funny quirks and dialogue. Prince Charming has less than ten lines of dialogue, which hurts the movie. We want to root for Cinderella to end up with someone as great as her, but we never get to figure out if he is.

Though the film lacks in some character development, Cinderella contains some strikingly dynamic and colorful artwork throughout. The castle and its ballroom are especially stunning, but the character designs, background work, and everything in between are all gorgeous. The dance sequence with “So This is Love” is incredible in its design. Cinderella and Prince Charming waltz through a breathtaking backdrop, but again this is just one highlight in a film that is made up of works of art all throughout.

Cinderella is the film that undeniably brought back Walt Disney’s magic and added to it. It is no wonder that Cinderella is a classic. In terms of artistry, storytelling, and animation, it is a feat of wonder and beauty. Cinderella is a top-notch entry in the Disney Animation canon.

4/5 Glass Slippers

The Mickey Mindset, mickeymindset@gmail.com

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