Now that World War II was over, and that they made back some of the money they lost during their initial wave of films, Disney returned to full-length narratives with their second princess movie, and my god, what a return it was. And so it joins Bambi in being an absolutely perfect animated film.
The first thing that makes this movie perfect is the story. With the exception of Snow White, I don’t there there is a more influential Disney film than Cinderella. Sure, it didn’t change the face of cinema, and the influenced can definitely be traced back to Charles Perrault’s original story, but because of this story, little girls want to grow up and find a prince charming. Because of the influence of this movie, the term “Cinderella story” is used for anyone that was an underdog, but managed to come out on top. So, it is actually a movie that can inspire any person of any gender and any age.
Then second thing is the cast characters. Every character is perfectly written, from their personalities to their dialogue, and greatly voiced by the actors. Cinderella is not a particularly strong woman but the fact that she remained a cheerful and kind woman though all of those years of torture make her to this day one of the strongest female characters in animation. For some, the mice might seem extremely annoying, especially since they talk. However, I liked how they are not just there for comic relief and how their voices are more like actual rodent sounds. The king is there only briefly, but in these we get his character and why he goes though his plight. The same goes for the Duke. And we don’t really need to get to know the prince thoroughly since all we need to know about him is what Cinderella thinks of him.
Then there are the evil characters. When we usually think of stepparents, at first we get the image of them being evil, and the Step Mother in this is the reason why. She simply is a cold-hearted bitch and nothing more. I mean, who would make their stepdaughter act like their made and spend the fortune that is not hers on her horrible daughters. Cinderella never did anything wrong, but she treats her as if it was a sin being born. She is pure evil, and the way this come across the screen is though —‘s great voice performance. The daughters are not worth talking about as since they are pretty much just an extension of their mother. But the cat, the fucking cat, it just further extended my dislike for those animals. For a bit I thought, a cat cannot be that evil in real life, but then I realized that they could actually be. I mean, Lassie will go out and find help if you are hurt. Lucifer, if you fall down and can’t get up, he will just stay there and watch you die.
When it comes to filmmaking, it is also quite great. The animation easily surpasses any other Disney movie released by that time (except maybe Bambi). The character flow more freely, the faces are more realistic, detail is greater, etc. However, it doesn’t have the greatest mis-en-scene. It does have a couple of outstanding shots, but Disney wouldn’t get things right in this department until their 16th feature. The music fits the movie perfectly with their cheery and heartfelt lyrics and music.
Cinderella is one of the few animated movies that I’ve seen that transcends its medium and is just a great movie.