Cinderella is one of Walt Disney’s greatest animated classics. Even 62 years after its initial release, it’s Walt’s version of the classic fairy tale that most people know and love today.
While the film clearly has stood the test of time, I reviewed the Cinderella 2-disc Blu-Ray/DVD Diamond Edition to see if the film overcome another cinematic milestone: HD.
The Film: ★★★★
Cinderella tells the story of a young woman who literally rises from the ashes. After Cinderella’s mother dies, Cinderella’s father marries another woman in an attempt to provide Cinderella with a mother figure. This woman, Lady Tremaine, is cold and heartless with two equally unappealing daughters, Drizella and Anastasia. When Cinderella’s father dies, she’s forced to live the life of a common servant, attending to every whim of her selfish stepmother and stepsisters. When the local king announces a lavish ball to celebrate the return of his only son (with hopes that his son will meet his bride and provide him with some long-awaited grandchildren), Cinderella’s dreams come true when her fairy godmother bestows on her a lovely pumpkin carriage and glittering ball gown so she can meet her Prince Charming. But when the clock strikes midnight, the spell breaks causing Cinderella to flee the palace, leaving the royals just one clue about her identity: a glass slipper.
The story is simple and timeless. Unfortunately, much of the first and third act are devoted to detailing the antics of Cinderella’s mice friends and their nemesis, Lucifer that cat. While the critters are hilarious and obviously appealing to younger children, they take away from the elegance of the story and the more interesting human characters such as Lady Tremaine, the King and the Grand Duke (although the Prince does not fit into this category).
Cinderella is often criticized for being a weak passive character who allows others to control her own destiny. Personally, I feel those criticisms are unfair, as they seem to compare her to the modern-day heroines of today. I find Cinderella’s positive traits—her kindness, gratitude, grace and optimism—to be timeless and a model for any young woman today. If a lot more girls acted like Cinderella, the world would be a much more pleasant place. </end rant>
I must admit, I was skeptical about how much an animated film’s picture quality could be improved on Blu-Ray, but after watching Cinderella I stand corrected. The film was absolutely stunning to watch in HD. The finer details of the Mary Blair-inspired backgrounds, such as the manor’s wallpaper, carpets, and décor, popped off the screen. I have seen this film over 100 times before and never have I awed and gawked at the scenery as much as I did this time. I imagine this is the version of the film that the directors and animators intended the audience to see, but got watered down by crappy theatre projections.
Also, the quality of the animation is impeccable. I remember watching The Beauty & the Beast during its 3D re-release and was shocked at the inconsistency and how off model some of of the character were (especially Belle). Cinderella suffers from none of this—the movements and characters are flawless. These characters were drawn by the hands of Walt’s nine old men, the true and original masters of the art form.
The Features: ★★★
It seems in recent years, Disney has really let the consumers down with the special features on its home media. While I wasn’t totally underwhelmed with Cinderella’s featurettes, I feel Disney is slowly learning the errors of its ways and improving.
The most promoted special feature—the short Tangled Ever After—actually has nothing to do with Cinderella. The short is quirky and showcases the two breakout sidekicks from Tangled—Maximus the horse and Pascal the chameleon—as they race to recover Rapunzel and Flynn Rider’s wedding rings during the couples’ ceremony. While the short is fun, I find it embarrassingly out of place and feel it would have been better suited on an anniversary re-release of Tangled (on which I’m sure we’ll see it in a few years).
The best bonus features are directly copy and pasted from past Cinderella DVD releases, but are still welcome inclusions nonetheless: a pieced together alternate opening, as well as deleted scenes and songs (a must for any DVD in my opinion). Other features include a short film featuring French shoe designer Christian Louboutin who plays a Parisian cobbler designing a modern-day glass slipper (which, yes, you can buy the butterfly and Swarovski crystal encrusted pumps in stores for a mere $1960); “The Real Fairy Godmother” showcases the life of Mary O’Connor, the real-life inspiration for the Fairy Godmother’s look and design; and of course the Cinderella-based games and activities for the kiddos. But let’s not forget the shameless self-promotion of the new Princess Fantasyland at Walt Disney World. Again, this is another featurette that has nothing to do with Cinderella, or the movie itself, other than the fact the face character of Cinderella will soon call this new land home.
Cinderella is a Disney classic that should be in every Disney lover’s collection. While the story is timeless and the picture quality spectacular, the bonus features aren’t robust enough to convince me to upgrade my old 2-disc DVD to the new Blu-Ray edition. But if Cinderella isn’t a part of your collection, snatch this one up before it gets put back in the vault. Either way, I’m convinced this is a classic film that every Disney and animation lover should have in their collection.
Cinderella is available on both DVD and Blu-Ray/DVD combo on October 2, 2012.
- Amazon: Blu-ray + DVD