The new “Cinderella“ movie, led by former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello, had a rocky road from the first time the marketing material was shown.
And while it was produced by Sony Pictures, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic they sold it to Amazon Prime Video.
In hindsight, the move worked in their favour.
It is truly one of the worst movie musicals I’ve ever seen in my life, mind you, I’m a musical junkie for both movies and theatre.
For this adaptation of the well-known fairytale – but with a modern twist – we follow Cinderella, aka Ella, as she makes her way to Prince Robert’s (Nicholas Galitzine) ball, thanks to her Fabulous Godmother (Billy Porter).
That being the “Girlbossification” of the story.
While making a more feminist-driven and independent protagonist from a well-known story might be a good idea on paper, since we are moving away from having stories focused on the “Disneyfied damsel in distress” trope.
Girl boss feminism was definitely the wrong choice by the screenwriter and director Kay Cannon.
One on hand, this new version of Ella wants to be her own businesswoman, with her own dressmaking stall, but in order to do this, she still needs the access the prince gives her, since there are certain plot points from the Disney version the producers still want to hit.
This leaves the film in a strange middle-ground, where Ella wants independence but she still needs a man to get where she needs to be.
Now, if they wanted to give an adaptation a more independent version of Cinderella, they should have gone all the way, especially since it’s not a Disney adaptation and they had the freedom to do so.
This weird intersection they chose not only hindered the writing, but also the cast of the movie.
It is compounded by the fact that the team behind it don’t have a great understanding of musicals and how they work structurally, which makes for an unpleasant viewing experience.
The music choices and placement of pop songs make no sense for the type of story they tried to tell with it.
The number one rule for any musical is that the emotional moments are so high, that there is no other way to express them but through song.
This movie ignores that completely and throws in a bunch of songs – appearing to be the ones they could afford to licence – that are terribly mixed.
Camila's vocal – and acting – limitations are highlighted for some strange reason, especially when she has musical numbers with Broadway veterans Idina Menzel and Porter.
The “Girlbossification” of the story also hinders all the actors, since the script gives them very little to work with, while some characters, such as the Stepmother aka Vivian (Idina), gain a bit more depth.
Porter’s Fabulous Godmother’s dialogue feels like someone watched one episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and told him to just do Pray Tell from “Pose”.
Maybe if this wasn’t a musical, it might have been more successful, but this choice of girl boss feminism, a bad screenplay, and odd song choices, make for an almost un-watchable musical.
“Cinderella” is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.