based on the 1950 motion picture and the fairy tale by Charles Perrault
2015 • 112 minutes • Walt Disney Pictures
Despite my fervently fevered hopes, there was never any real chance that Kenneth Branagh’s live-action adaptation of Disney’s Cinderella would follow in the radically feminist footsteps of Maleficent. While Sleeping Beauty is widely considered one of the best Disney films, Cinderella is the film that saved Walt Disney Animation from shutting down in the early fifties. The film and the character are so intertwined with the company that Walt Disney World is crowned by her castle. Letting Linda Woolverton turn in a script that is literally about destroying the patriarchy for Maleficent is one thing; letting Christ Weitz radically change what Jess Plummer calls the “ur-Disney movie” is quite another.
So Branagh’s Cinderella doesn’t make many changes to the original film. We do get a bit more of Ella’s childhood (including a kind turn by Hayley Atwell as Ella’s mother), an adorable meet-cute in the forest between Ella and the Prince, a more fleshed out relationship between the Prince and his father, and some half-hearted court intrigue involving the Grand Duke. Any commentary on the original text is largely kept to Ella’s characterization. The film deepens her already established compassion, best expressed in the scene where Lady Tremaine is horrified to discover that Ella pities her. She questions why things are the way they are, but the most radical implication of that is that Ella is a vegetarian. Lady Tremaine gets a sympathetic backstory in one brief scene, but a pointedly feminist retelling it is not.
Once Upon a Time: Season One
based on various fairy tales
It’s really amazing that I didn’t pick up Once Upon a Time as soon as it started airing, given my status as a Disney freak and a general sucker for women with swords. But I didn’t realize ABC was exploiting its Disney connection to the hilt until I heard Jamie Chung had been cast as Mulan and then, after spending time with my friend Anna from high school who loves the show, I decided it was time to catch up for the second season. Which translated into binging the first season in a single weekend while cackling, screaming, and, yes, crying.
edited by Clare McBride
Cautionary Tales collects the original folk tales behind the Disney animated features in their most enduring forms, from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” (adapted in 1989) to Charles Perrault’s “Cinderella” (adapted in 1950) to the Brothers Grimm’s rendition of “Rapunzel” (adapted in 2010 into Tangled). Each folk tale has a particular message, whether it’s a gentle jab at gender relations in “The Ballad of Mulan” or teaching young girls how to cope with arranged marriages in “Beauty and the Beast”—in the end, they’re all cautionary tales.
…Yeah, I thought the Dragon*Con anthology was going to be my first anthology. Go figure! This idea grabbed me in February and wouldn’t let go, leaving me to spend a couple of weeks compiling and then learning how to create ebooks. It’s certainly been a learning experience! I’m actually really glad that this is my first digital anthology; it means the Dragon*Con anthology will be a lot easier to put together. Since tomorrow is my birthday, this is my birthday gift to you—I hope you like it!