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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.

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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:

Production has begun on the live action version of Disney’s Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh and featuring Lily James in the title role. Judging by this first photo released from the set, I think we’re in for a treat.

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Here’s the plot synopsis with the full press release below the jump:

The story of Cinderella follows the fortunes of young Ella whose merchant father remarries following the tragic death of her mother. Keen to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother Lady Tremaine and her daughters Anastasia and Drisella into the family home. But, when Ella’s father suddenly and unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” She will not give in to despair nor despise those who abuse her. And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an employee at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears as if her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming “Kit.” Alas, her stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand as a kindly beggar woman steps forward and, armed with a pumpkin and a few mice, changes Cinderella’s life forever.