We went and saw Cinderella this weekend and it was far better than I ever expected (and I had extremely high hopes, probably even higher than the disappointment that was Maleficent). It was fairly true to the original, with a few notable exceptions (Jacqueline instead of Jaq and a lizard for a footman are the first two that comes to mind) but it was the visual effects that were absolutely stunning, even more so than Maleficent's (the only saving grace to that movie). It definitely felt like a Kenneth Branaugh movie from start to finish (and I rather like him, so I was OK with that) with the massive sets and attention to detail everywhere (I even saw more than one Hidden Mickey, although I don't know if it was intentional or if my brain is just hardwired to see them).
I do admit, I spent quite a lot of time starring at Lily James' waist, trying to see what all the fuss was about. I didn't think it was abnormally thin, she's just a skinny girl and it was obvious the shape of the dress itself had a lot to do with it. I was probably more bothered by her dark eyebrows and blonde hair than I was the size of her waist. I was also a bit distracted by Helena Bonham-Carter's prosthetic teeth that really served no purpose (and didn't fit her very well). I did question her casting as the Fairy Godmother, but she played it perfectly and that's now my new favorite role of hers. Don't get me started on Richard Madden's "package" hiding techniques, while they did do a good job of hiding it, just the internet buzz about it alone kept my eyes drifting into that general vicinity every time he was on screen (which, even though only I knew what I was doing, it was still extremely blush-worthy). There was also a strong Avenger's feeling to it as well...everywhere I looked there were Marvel actors scattered throughout (but again, maybe my eye is just trained to it).
What I was most pleased with was to see was the "return" of the proper Disney fairytale ending! None of that stupid feminist bullcrap thrust upon us lately (i.e. Maleficent and, to an extent, Frozen), but a proper Princess and her Prince falling in love at first sight and living happily ever after! I think I've ranted and raved on THAT soapbox enough, but let's just say I walked out of the theater with a sense of satisfaction not felt since Tangled! Cinderella had very strong messages of being true to yourself and that is WAY more important than who ends up with who and why. I rather like knowing that maybe someday I might get whisked off my feet by a handsome Prince even though I don't expect it and don't live my daily life with that expectation...that's just nuts (and my first marriage was testament to that). I grew up in a generation where Hollywood movies were escapism from your normal, boring, day to day, not an instructor in life lessons...that job was reserved for parents, teachers, and even life itself. My goal is to just make it through the humdrum and I think I accomplish that by having a dream life to escape to, otherwise, my crappy life would have put me down years ago.
I highly recommend Cinderella for those who are like me and I thoroughly dissuade anyone who expects their kids, especially their girls, to come away a "stronger" person. Oh, and those who REFUSE to turn off their cell phones or control your kids from running up and down the isles and talking through the entire movie should also stay away (which was the only ruination to my overall character that Cinderella brought me). You've paid a fortune to be there, why waste it playing on your phone? I can't even fathom my mother letting me behave that way when I was a kid (nor can I fathom me even doing it!). But I also grew up on a generation of spanking, discipline, and respect, so what do I know!