Ella is different than most young women in the kingdom. She can quote any Shakespearean play. She befriends every animal she meets, including the scurrying mice living in the walls. She believes in the power of kindness, in changing customs that are not so kind. Ella has faced unspeakable tragedy and loss, and is at the mercy of her cruel stepfamily. And yet, Ella tries to keep a brave face, no matter how difficult this becomes. Kit has always been deemed a “dreamer.” He values peace above all else. He’s never understood the point of certain royal traditions and rituals. He’d rather spend time in his mother’s garden than learn to fence or sit for a portrait. And as a prince, this has been somewhat problematic. This is a story about kindness and courage, about love lost and love found, about the power of names. This is the story of Cinderella.
I don’t know why it is I decided to get so interested in Disney’s new Cinderella movie. Maybe because the casting was interesting and I loved the director’s takes on Shakespeare in the past.
Anyway, I read the junior novelisation, and then I read this more grown-up version of the same story.
What a difference it makes.
I’m not going through it all again, because I’ve already reviewed this story, but I’m a little sad that this was such a good take on the Cinderella tale, when the watered-down younger version, a novelisation of exactly the same film script, removed all the character nuance and made both lead characters irritatingly weak!
Unlike the other version, in this book we get to see and understand how and why Cinderella and the Prince are so taken with each other. We’re also given a better background to why the Prince makes the political decisions he does (a children’s story, yes, but the few mentions of politics in the junior book were just downright wimpy!). The Stepmother’s motivations are better-explained. The friendships and the fun are there.
And what a fantastic change to have a Disney princess who admits her favourite colour is blue, not pink!
I don’t know how much of this is going to make it onto the screen, but I’m much more satisfied with this take on Cinderella than I was when reading the other book.
And here’s an interesting take on the film, which says something I agree with, whether or not you like this version of the Cinderella story:
For too many movies or television shows, the notion of a “strong female character” is merely a humourless woman who can hurt people and wreck stuff as efficiently as the stereotypical male action lead, or at least has just enough moments posing with a weapon to sell that notion in the trailers. But of course those of us who clamour for “strong female characters” merely want popular entertainments where the women on screen are as complex and developed as the male characters.