Billy Porter. That’s really all I have to say. Billy Porter. Well, since I can’t give just a two-word review, I’ll go on; however, I see a day when that’s all you would have to write for a Billy Porter picture.
Somehow, (because he’s that good?) this story moves around him. His character doesn’t show up until sometime later in the movie, and he isn’t on screen long, but as “Fab G” (better known as a Fairy Godmother), he leaves quite an impact.
I digress. The songs and humorous dialogue also make this movie a fun and entertaining must-see flick. I challenge you to not laugh and have a good time in this Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect) film. It’s pretty, well, pitch-perfect. Not only are the songs that have been remade for this musical performed rather well, with a few exceptions, they also get the job done.
Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” gets us started and prepares us for many more dance numbers to come. Then comes the original song “Million to One” by Camila Cabello, composed by lyricist and producer Scott Harris. It’s so pretty it’s hard not to think about once you hear it presented in the scene where it plays.
There have been plenty of remakes of “Cinderella” over the years. One may have heard of the arrival of this and thought to pass on yet another depiction of the famous Disney persecuted peon under the charge of her shamelessly, shady stepparent, Vivian, played exceptionally well by Idina Menzel. I have to ask of you; please don’t. I’d like for you to ignore any negative chatter and press. “Cinderella” is good.
The story has been tweaked to fit the times. Ella (Cabello) is now an aspiring dressmaker who meets with anger when she attempts to sell her wares in the market square. How dare she! Women don’t go into business! They’re meant for babies and that’s that. It’s hard being a woman; just ask Princess Gwen (Tallulah Greive), who has been trying to get her opinions heard by King Rowan (Brosnan) for years. She has ideas on poverty and the purchase of more catapults that the kingdom doesn’t need, benefiting only the business making the catapults, not the country. Sound familiar? Other differences are seen in Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) himself. The story is about Ella, but it’s also about Robert realizing he can be more than a title. When he meets Cinderella, the girl of his dreams, he does all he can to impress her. Cinderella, a woman with big dreams of her own and a new opportunity to advance her career doesn’t make it easy on the lovesick young man. It’s fun to watch, to be honest.
This striking makeover is what drew me to the film. It’s a fresh viewpoint on one of the oldest stories, and it’s presented in an artful, intelligent and endearing way. The body of the yarn is familiarly laid out, the characters are still there, everything is just a little different. And funny as hell. The mice, the stepsisters… oh, the stepsisters! Cannon has a lot of fun with these two. Anastasia (Maddie Baillio) takes one look at Cinderella in the beautiful pink dress she made for the ball and decides that it’s muffins and early to bed for her instead of going.
I could go on, but instead, how about you rush to Amazon Prime and watch this well-written, revamped redesign that shares its audience with other reproductions, but stands on its own as an enchanting, amusing and dazzling delight.
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Director: Kay Cannon
Writer: Kay Cannon
Starring: Camila Cabello, Billy Porter, Idina Menzel, Nicholas Galitzine, Pierce Brosnan, Minnie Driver, Tallulah Greive
Run Time: 1h 53min
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Producer: James Corden, Leo Pearlman, Jonathan Kadin, Shannon McIntosh
Release Date (Streaming): Sep 3, 2021