MP3 Player

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Disneyear: Cinderella (1950)

As we enter what's called the Silver Age of Animation and the glorious return of a single narrative movie for Walt Disney, Cinderella was a big landmark in Disney history. Not only was it the first time since Bambi that a single-narrative movie was made at the studio and that Disney hired Tin Pan Alley songwriters to write songs for a Disney feature, but like Dumbo from nine years earlier, Cinderella was actually a really big gamble for the studio. According to Wikipedia, it cost $3 million to make and since the studio was in major debt at the time, how much it would make back as well as critical reaction would determine if Disney would even shut down or not. Thankfully, it did. Without this little flick, we wouldn't have the rest of your favorite Disney movies as well as Disneyland or Walt's pioneers in television. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's watch, or read for you guys, Cinderella.

The story's as basic as you can get: Cinderella once had a happy life with her father, until he died and she had to live with her evil step relatives. She's been slaving away for them ever since with no one but her animal friends to keep her company, including Jacques and Gus-Gus the mice. One day, her family gets invited to a royal ball, but Cinderella can't go because her stepmother forbids it. She and her animal friends make a dress for her only to have it destroyed by her stepsisters. Heartbroken, she runs to the courtyard when out of thin air, her fairy godmother arrives to give her not only a new dress but a carriage made of a pumpkin to get her to the ball. She meets the prince, share a dance, and seem to hit it off well. When the clock strikes midnight, Cindy has to go because that's when the magic wears off (why is it always midnight?) but leaves one of her glass slippers behind. The king then orders    that the shoe must be tried on by every woman in the kingdom so that his son can be married (he really wants grand kids.) Thinking everything has finally gone her way, Cindy gets ready for the slipper, but her evil stepmother locks her in the room. With the help of Jacques and Gus-Gus, she gets the key, the slipper fits, she gets married and lives happily ever after, and we learn that dreams really do come true.

And that's the story. As far as Disney films go, it's pretty decent. The thing I just love the most about the movie is the scale of the world they live in. Despite that it's a simple film, everything in the backgrounds are so grand and magestic and this was before widescreen. Here's some backgrounds to prove my point.

As far as the characters go, they're pretty decent. Cinderella herself doesn't really stand out from other princesses like Snow White, but I do really like how patient and willing to put up with so much crap because she's hoping that her life will be better later. Those are some really good qualities of a role model for both girls and boys. I think I got some of my patient personality from this movie, even as a kid. The side characters are cute. I love Jacques and Gus-Gus, the two main mice on this movie. They get most of the chuckles out of me and I love their specific animation. It's done by Ward Kimball who, next to Fred Moore, was the cartooniest guy from the classic Disney era. The fairy godmother, even though she only had one scene, is a good side character too. The villianess is... a really good villain. In fact, she's so good that I hate her. All she has is control over one person's life and making sure that Cinderella has a miserable existence is pretty damn despicable. And that sneer... my god!

Even that smile is kind of scary!
The songs are also pretty enjoyable. My favorite is probably A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes. That's a great song! It's a beautiful tune with a really optimistic message. Here, just listen: 

And for the hell of it, here's the ever catchy Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo!

So yeah, I've praised this thing so much so far that you're probably wondering if there are things that irk me about this movie. Well, there's the prince. Holy crap, he's boring. Does he even have a line? If he did, I can't remember one line of dialogue. That's not a good sign. After all, he's the love interest. Shouldn't some of the movie give some emphasis on him? Hey, his dad has more lines than him. This part of the story is really more about the dad wanting his son to marry someone, versus how the prince really feels about this. Then again, if it had more emphasis on the prince, maybe we get some emphasis too on just how odd this story is. Hey! Here's a guy who finds someone based on sight, but he loses her only to find a shoe, try to fit it on every woman and thank God it fits only one woman in the whole world and gets married after that! On top of that, some of the scenes feel like filler to me. The animals are cute, don;t get me wrong, but maybe you could use some of their scenes for further character development for someone who really needed it, like the prince. Then again, that's how a lot of fairy tales were written back then...

I've also heard some comments on how this movie is anti-feminist because of the message that all your problems will go away by wishing for them away. Well, here's my two cents: this, to me, is sort of like the wishing criticism in Pinocchio where I think it's really being more optimistic and hopeful than being dependent on wishing problems away. 

Remember folks: have faith and work at your dreams. And always let your conscience be your guide... just had to say it.
If you still want to see the movie (for the four of you that haven't), I'd say defiantly go for it. As far as Disney films go, I think it's ok. It's enjoyable and has a lot of charm to it for good reasons. I think it's one of Disney's most important films because like I said in the beginning, it was successful both critically and at the box office, so that helped pay off the studio's debts and financed some more of the classic films, Disneyland, and uncle Walt's ventures into television. Not my personal favorite, but that's just another reason to like this film.

No comments: