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Walt Disney’s original animated classic “Cinderella” was visually stunning and masterfully animated. Based on a fairy tale from Charles Perrault, and with beautiful songs and orchestration, it won over theater audiences and helped cement the Disney Studios as the leader in feature animation.

So when news came out that Disney was remaking the movie with a live action cast, the question was why? When I heard that Kenneth Branagh would be directing, I felt a bit better. But it was costume designer Sandy Powell’s costumes that really sealed the deal for me. Even if Cinderella was a 2 hour parade of Powell’s gorgeous costumes, I would have left satisfied.

The good news, is that the rest of the movie works too. It is a refreshing take on the fairy tale that we all know and love with lessons we can all take to heart. Branagh revisited the original Perrault fairy tale and incorporated some more modern motivations to make the film more relevant for today’s audiences. The story actually works better once Cinderella (Lily James) has a little agency.

That agency is delivered to Ella by her parents. First by her mom (played suitably by Hayley Atwell) who tells her to “have courage and be kind,” and by her father who teachs her the strength to endure. She’ll need both of these in spades once her parents die (at least both mom and dad die in this one instead of just mom). Actually dying parents is a fairly strong theme in this movie, something to be aware of if your kids have recently lost any one close to them.

Cinderella-prince2

Is there more to the “Cinderella” story than you thought? A new TV spot called “Conspiracy” adds a layer of intrigue to the classic tale:

A new full trailer for Cinderella will come out this Wednesday.

In the meantime Director Kenneth Branagh was recently interviewed about how he’s bringing some of his Shakespearean drama to the classic tale. Also, that the story is about a man rescuing a woman, that Ella has equality in the relationship.

See the full plot synopsis below the jump:

We’re less than two months away from opening night of Disney’s “Maleficent”, a retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty fairytale from the perspective of the wicked fairy Maleficent, portrayed by Angelina Jolie in perfect casting. That means it’s time to really ramp up the marketing machine in the halls of Burbank.

Today I was sent this spectacular banner for the movie.

maleficent-banner

I like that we get a look at some of the other mythical creatures from the movie. Some of them looking very Jim-Henson-esque. What do you think?

By popular demand, you can download the 3000 pixel width full-size version for your desktop or background image.