First of all there's the man at the helm: director Kenneth Branagh, who proved himself more than capable of handling big-budget fair with his bombastic superhero-hit Thor. He's stayed refreshingly immune to the Hollywood trend of 'dark and gritty' re-boots, aligning his Cinderella with the splendour and heart of the 1950's animation. Indeed, the trailer boasts a jewel bright, Tim Burton-meets-Botticelli aesthetic so luxuriant you want to touch the screen, and a cast so dazzling the slipper should feel threatened.
There's last year's Oscar winner, the indomitable Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother, who, kitted out like Marlene Dietrich, looks set to replace Cruella as the stylish face of sadism. Everyone's favourite fairy godmother is played by Helena Bonham Carter, who previously collaborated with Branagh as Ophelia to his Hamlet, and can be counted on to provide scene-stealing comic turns. To add glitter to sparkle, veterans like Stellan Skarsgard and Derek Jacobi adorn the distinguished supporting cast, in a lineup surely indebted to Branagh's prestige.
And what of our eponymous silver-slippered heroine? Enter rising star Lily James, whose presence as the English rose of Downton Abbey has quickly courted attention from across the pond, whose upcoming role in much-hyped adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies exhibits a remarkably quick succession through some of young Hollywood's most in demand roles.
Then there are the dresses. And the hair. And, oh, the shoe. It's no coincidence that renowned fashion photographer Annie Leibovitz was called upon to shoot the publicity stills (our verdict- pure romance!). Certainly the story's themes of unjust social repression and nightmarish domestic abuse cannot, and will not, be ignored. But neither does this adaptation look set to shy away from its girly appeal, and why should it disappoint its target audience? Branagh clearly appreciates them, and their post-Frozen world. Already, we've caught a glimpse of Cinderella's transformation sequence that surely recalls a certain glacial makeover. Plain rags? Let 'em go!
With a stellar cast, and lavish in its detail, Branagh's project will no doubt be the burst of technicolour it promises. Whether such ambitions reach as far as the plot, or whether Branagh's intent is to remain as close possible to the simplicity of the animated original, is yet to be established. Pumpkin chariots depart on 13th of March.
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
27 Mar 15 – 31 May 15, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
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