Can’t keep track of our wands and have no countermeasures in place for when they’re stolen.
- I’ve been interested in watching the second direct-to-DVD sequel to Cinderella for a while. People have told me that since it was the last of those rather horrible Disneytoon sequels to classic films, Cinderella III was given a lot more effort. From what I heard beforehand, it was supposed to be a more self-aware take on the formula while furthering the only good part from Cinderella II: Anastasia learning to find her own happiness. So I decided that with me on a bit of a Cinderella binge in order to celebrate the week of Valentines, now would be the perfect time to give it a shot.
- Did it live up to the modest hype? …eh.
- Let’s make it clear from the start that Cinderella III’s premise is pretty ludicrous in of itself. One day when Cinderella and her Prince Charming are having tea with the Fairy Godmother in her magical garden, Anastasia follows them and discovers the truth behind how Cinderella got those glass slippers in the first place. When said Fairy Godmother accidentally flings her wand away during one of the movie’s mediocre songs, Anastasia brings it back to Lady Tremaine, who wastes no time in using it to go back to the point when Cinderella was trying on the glass slipper and make it Anastasia’s size.
- Naturally, Cinderella is confused at what’s going on, so she heads off to the palace with Jaq and Gus in tow (don’t ask me how she got there, as I know it’s a pretty long walk) while Tremaine brainwashes the Prince so that he can’t recognize Cinderella’s face. This leads to a lot of comedic slapstick as the stepsisters’ selfish behavior combined with the trouble the mice get into with Lucifer the cat basically give the old king a lot of heart stress whilst our heroine tries to find her happily ever after again and Anastasia wonders if she truly deserves the happiness she’s getting now.
- Let’s start with the characters first. Cinderella III doesn’t really do much to make Cinderella herself more interesting, as aside from being more proactive in getting what she wants, she doesn’t have much to her. Jaq and Gus are also less interesting here because they’re pretty much the same as they were in the first film, only with more juvenile humor. As a trade-off, the king is more than an old man who wants his son to get married and the prince actually gets enough lines to make him as interesting as Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid… which isn’t a whole lot of characterization admittedly but at least I can see why he’s marriage material to an extent.
- Lady Tremaine is still as delightfully evil as she was in the first film and now that she actually has power, said evil characterization is allowed to be even more fun in a sadistic sort of way. Drizella is…there I guess. But of course, the real star of the movie is Anastasia and how she becomes conflicted when she realizes that even with magic, the prince could never truly love her. And I’d really be into that if Cinderella III would stop reminding me that it’s a Disneytoon movie.
- For example, the movie plays up this aspect where when you hold hands with someone, you know that they’re truly the one. If you thought the hand-holding thing in After Story was bad…it still is, but while I get that Cinderella III needs it in order for the brainwashed prince to discover his true love, it doesn’t make it any more convincing to get into.
- Then there’s the humor and the songs, none of which are entertaining. Well okay, the prince jumping out the window after his father forbade him from going down the stairs was kinda cute, and Lucifer getting shrunk to an even smaller size than the mice, only for him to beat them up anyways was a little funny. Other than that, I didn’t laugh once at the movie’s humor, which was clearly meant for people younger than myself, and not in a good way. If anything, I felt more awkward than the prince when he discovered that mice could talk.
- Speaking of the mice talking, every solution that happens in this movie comes off as too easy for my taste. When Jaq and Gus discover the magic wand is the cause of all of Cinderella’s problems, they tell the prince what’s happening through a crappy song and he instantly runs off to get Cinderella back. Yes that’s generally better than the alternative, but when the bad guys are defeated by reflecting one spell off a sword, I’m starting to think that I’m watching someone play a video game on easy mode.
- Admittedly the times when the characters show self-awareness at the ridiculous nature of their situation and the original Cinderella movie is kinda cute, but when you end up executing your current story just as cheesily, it takes away a lot of impact. I know Cinderella is hard to modernize and all without sacrificing what made the original a classic in the first place, but given how good the animation in A Twist in Time is, I wish the actual script attached to it was a little less hokey.
- The idea of Cinderella III is pretty good when you look at it in a broad perspective, but all the convenient cheesiness and kiddy humor wore me down, I’m afraid. In fact, I think this movie’s finale was even more “well that’s a wrap” than the first film’s, and I’m not really sure what to think of a certain choice the main characters make during it. This movie definitely has its heart in the right place, but it also has to satisfy a core audience that I don’t have much common ground with, and it’s pretty unfortunate that the compromise was so heavily in said audience’s favor. Not that that makes A Twist in Time bad. But it definitely makes me think of what could have been.
- All in all, while I like the idea of A Twist in Time more, I’d prefer to watch the original 1950 film if I ever wanted to see something Cinderella-related again. It’s certainly the best direct-to-DVD Disney sequel I’ve seen, but keep in mind that even a pile of poo that got sprayed by a skunk would look favorable when you compare it to the experience of watching Mulan II.
- What ever happened to the other animal friends anyways?
- I am not reviewing Cinderella II because fuck you.