By Mackenzie Johnson
We all know the story.
Long ago in a kingdom far far away, a beautiful young woman becomes a slave to her evil stepmother and ugly stepsisters after losing her loving father. She escapes her deplorable situation because of a glass slipper, a handsome prince and, of course, her fairy godmother.
However, Amazon’s adaptation of the classic fairy tale starring Camila Cabello is obnoxious and forgettable.
In writer and director Kay Cannon’s version, Cinderella dreams of herself as a businesswoman. This craving to have her own dressmaking business takes the place of many familiar and meaningful Cinderella story themes.
To push the “girl boss” storyline ahead, Ella sells her late mother’s brooch as part of a dress design with no remorse.
The focus Ella puts on dressmaking is not because she loves to design but because of the money she could make at it.
Stepmother (Idina Menzel) receives a few questionable musical numbers. For a few minutes, Menzel sings a Madonna song that has absolutely no context in the movie and is awkwardly placed, like much of the score.
The musical numbers are painfully boring. Nothing about them is memorable or extraordinary like you would expect a princess movie score to be.
The songs that were chosen for the scenes feel uninspired and the lyrics have nothing to do with what’s going on in the film. The original songs written for the film are fine, Menzel did what she could to salvage this.
In a huge romantic moment, Ella and her prince are pretty but dull and lacking in chemistry and charisma.
Fairy Godmother (Billy Porter) gives a few words of encouragement and maybe two wand waves, nothing magical.
Of course every girl remembers Cinderella’s magical blue ball gown, which is completely absent from the film and substituted for a rather boring and gaudy prom look.
It is still unclear who the target audience is. Scenes collide into one another without sense, which is made all more obvious with the musical numbers.
Cannon had a real need to put in subplots of social justice, self-love and feminism, all of which were greatly covered up by the fact that Cinderella’s success is only happening because of her proximity to wealth.
“Rich people will change your life,” Fairy Godmother exclaims before sending Ella off to the ball.
The film tries to send messages of body positivity through the step-sisters’ insecurities. Yet, the film also mocks heavy-set people and calls them clumsy and other regressive stereotypes.
To put it simply, this movie is astoundingly bad. It’s full of half-hearted ideas, painful musical numbers, clearance rack fashion and incorrect stereotypes.
Cannon’s attempt to throw in Ed Sheeran, Madonna, Janet Jackson, modern words like “dude” and “chicks dig it” and some flashy clothes simply does not work and there is no real flow to the narrative.
Perhaps it’s so directionless because the filmmakers felt Generation Z has embraced TikTok so fully that movies do not demand a narrative flow anymore. It’s easy to picture a producer saying, “All kids want is dances, fashion and social justice!”
TikTokers show more uniqueness in their dances, more style in their clothes and definitely higher social standards than this film was trying to achieve.
It’s honestly disappointing to see a princess film with absolutely no magic. The only thing delivered by Cannon is a cringe-worthy mess that’s impeccably dull and intellectually shallow.