Cinderella (2015) [Blu-Ray]

cinderellablucoverRelease Date: September 15, 2015
Cast: Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgard, Derek Jacobi, Helena Bonham Carter
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre(s): Fairy Tale, Family

Extra Feature Rating:  ★★
Review Spoilers: Low
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Who doesn’t love the story of Cinderella? It’s a true rags-to-riches story that has all the best elements of wish fulfillment. Like so many of our readers, I grew up on classic Disney films and Cinderella was always one of those favorite films in constant rotation in the VHS queue at my house.

The latest, live action version of Cinderella really takes all the best aspects of the original, animated film and brings them into a much more modern feeling movie. It tones down some of the magic and really gives you a chance to learn more about characters that didn’t get quite as much development. I absolutely loved learning more about the Prince and experiencing some of the story from his perspective. (I also just absolutely love Richard Madden so that helps.)

Lily James is the absolute perfect Cinderella and you could not have hoped for a better Disney princess to kick off Disney’s upcoming line-up of live action adaptations. As you could probably tell from Therese’s original review, we really enjoyed this movie. It’s fun, cute, and amazingly well put together. I could watch it over and over again and never get tired of it because it’s really that good.

So how does the blu-ray release hold up?

I’m actually pretty pleased with it. Bonus features can really make a home video release something special. Cinderella has a very solid line up of featurettes and bonus features including the Frozen sequel short Frozen Fever which basically makes this movie a must buy for families with Frozen fanatics in them.

Here’s a brief overview of everything you’ll get on the blu-ray release:

A Fairy Tale Comes to Life
Kenneth Branagh, the cast, and the creative team behind the film talk about what makes Cinderella such a timeless story and what it’s like to adapt such a well-known and beloved story.   It’s interesting to hear how they took their inspiration not only from the original animated Disney film but also from the dozens of Cinderella-type stories from around the world. Similarly, it’s really cool to see how they really expand upon the story by fleshing out certain characters like the Prince, the Evil Stepmother, and others.

Hearing the cast talk about what they remembered most about the animated Disney film was probably my favorite part, though. That personal connection between this primarily young cast that grew up on Disney is really great. Similarly, it’s really nice to hear everyone talk about what it’s like to really everyone talk about how much they enjoyed their characters and figuring out what makes them tick. And just wait until Helena Bonham Carter talks about having her ‘bum’ turned on…

Costume Test Run
If you enjoy catching actors in candid moments this is the absolute perfect special feature for you. Costume Test Run is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a supercut of various costume screen tests both on neutral backgrounds and on set. It’s basically a highlight real of all the different costumes and how they move, set, and fit the individual actors. Of course, you get to see the actors have some fun with it, too, while getting a better look at some of the stunning costume design.

Staging the Ball
Dancing is a very complicated, intricate art that I will never master at any point in my lifetime. Luckily, it’s not my job to make things look magical on screen but instead the responsibility of an incredible team that does a fantastic job of bringing the fairy tale ball from Cinderella to life. They built an incredible set and it’s amazing to see how they brought it all together from the construction to the decoration. With the way technology had advanced it would have been so easy for them to cut corners. Instead, they truly brought arguably the most magical scene to life. They spent hours preparing hundreds of extras. They lit the candles in the chandeliers by hand. It’s just so cool to hear about what all went into making this scene.  It really makes you appreciate it even more.

Alternative Opening: Ella’s Childhood
Similar to the opening that made it’s way in to the film, this alternative opening shows Ella’s loving childhood with her parents by her side. This opening, however, focuses a lot more on her relationship with animals – especially the mice who remain he constant companions throughout the film. Honestly, I would have liked to have seen more of this in the final film – or perhaps a better blend of the two openings. Her constantly talking to the animals would have flowed into the narrative a bit better.

Ella’s Furry Friends
Animals are a huge part of the Cinderella story generally and that’s true of this version, too. But unlike animated adaptations, this live-action Cinderella has the added difficulty of using real animals in all their scenes. This feature talks a bit about the training of the various sheep, geese, horses, and mice involved in the production. It also has the actors talk a bit about what it’s like to work with all the animals. One of the things I really liked was that we forewent the talking mice and other animals for this adaptation but you can see still that there is a real connection between Cinderella and the various animal cast members – largely because they used a lot of real animals on the set.

Frozen Fever
Oh, Frozen Fever. I was so excited to watch this (again). I didn’t get to see Cinderella in theatres so I missed out on Frozen Fever. I had been waiting impatiently for this movie to come out on blu-ray so I could finally see it. But the Walt Disney Animated Studios Short Films Collection beat it to the punch by about a month. Not that I’m complaining. Frozen Fever is awesome. How can you not love all the little snowdudes? (Though I will say this short brings up a lot of questions about Elsa’s powers and her ability to just accidentally sneeze sentient life into being.) The song in this short doesn’t quite live up to the soundtrack of the original film but let’s be honest – few things ever will. Definitely adorable and definitely worth a watch, Frozen Fever is the perfect short film to bundle with this story of a much more classic princess.

Deleted Scenes (DMA Exclusive)
I’m just going to throw this out there folks. I am not a fan of deleted scenes being DMA-only exclusives. I love deleted scenes. They are some of my favorite parts of a blu-ray release because they’re like a window into what could have been and they often add a new element to the story that you wouldn’t know about otherwise. So, I’m disappointed that these aren’t on the actual blu-ray disc.

Otherwise, they were a lot of fun.

A scene featuring the archduke confronting Cinderella in the forest would have made his character’s intentions even more sinister from earlier on. One scene would have shown Cinderella taking the initiative by reaching out to the Prince after the ball. Other scenes expand upon ones we already saw while some others were cut from the film entirely. They’re definitely worth a watch. Unfortunately you’ll have to do it through Disney Movies Anywhere or through the app on a supported device.

With the exception of the DMA exclusive deleted scenes, this is a really great release.

I’ve bee waiting for this movie to come out for a good while now. And after waiting six months I have to say Cinderella does not disappoint. Cinderella is a joy to watch and I definitely recommend it to any Disney fans out there.

I just love how they adapted the story to the format and how the movie was so wonderfully cast. If all of Disney’s upcoming live action remakes are as good as this one I can’t wait to see the rest. I’m almost disappointed I didn’t see Cinderella in theatres. But at least I can watch it any time I want now!



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