The tale of Cinderella has been told over and over, with many iterations throughout the years. In 2015, Kenneth Branagh surprised us all with his version and Lily James truly captured the princess’ essence and poise. Now, it’s Kay Cannon‘s turn to deliver the classic romance, however, it is eye-rollingly cringy, unnecessary, and has terribly nauseating song choices.
Ella, better known as Cinderella (Camila Cabello), because she was burned by cinders as a child, as explained lightly in the film, is a young woman who dreams of a better life and wants to sell dresses to the highest of royalties. Her adopted mother, Vivian (Idina Menzel) scolds her daily and makes her do everything she asks for. One day, the heir to the throne, Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine), falls in love with Ella and asks her to the ball. With the help of her Fab G (Billy Porter), (fabulous fairy godmother) she can make her dreams come true, but only before the clock strikes twelve.
This version is different from the others as it is purely a musical and instead of singing some original songs that they might have written; they sing covers of songs that might stick with the narrative. In summary, that is the problem with the film. The songs they chose to fit the story are terrible. Look, I like pop music and honestly love Madonna, but there is no reason why you’d put “Material Girl” in here. It’s not just that one. Queen’s “Somebody to Love” and the final song, “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez.
It feels like an overlong, two-hour episode of Glee, but instead of being in a high school, they’re in wonderland. It’s all bad covers of pop hits or ballads that aren’t suitable for the story. You could debacle that because it is a modernized version, it can get away with these song choices and dialogue, which is head-achingly terrible, however even for a fairytale it feels disconnected. Shot and choreographed like a pop music video.
It doesn’t have the magic that Branagh brought onto the screen nor the likability of Enchanted (2007). Cinderella even questions the godmother’s magic which detaches us even further from the story that is supposed to be filled with fantasy elements. Kay Cannon has shown before that she can direct comedy and write musicals with her past work, Blockers (2018) and Pitch Perfect (2012), which are two examples of quite surprisingly funny and charming films. But this one makes us question who it was made for? Who is the central audience for this? I know it isn’t me, but I was looking for something fun and to have a laugh for a couple of hours, and it delivered neither.