Monday, September 28, 2015

Cinderella (2015) vs. Ever After (2002)

Warning: There will be spoilers—lots of spoilers.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1661199/    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ever_After

So, I finally got a chance to watch the 2015 live action remake of Cinderella, and I was rather surprised to find that I liked it. A lot. Since falling in love with a random romance is a rare occasion for me, this warrants discussion. But, I can’t talk about Cinderella without also including Ever After. Hence this post.

Ella and Danielle. Both Ella and Danielle are strong in their own way. While Ella is sweet and kind, willing to endure great cruelty in order to keep the peace, Danielle is fiery and aggressive, eager to fight back when she feels it’s necessary. Each of the two girls serves her stepmother faithfully, and each has a compassionate heart. But that’s where the similarities end. In Cinderella, Ella remains locked in her attic room until the Prince hears her singing and sends his captain up to free her. In Ever After, by the time Henry arrives on the scene to save Danielle from Pierre, Danielle has already escaped.

Ella, always courageous and gentle, offers her stepmother forgiveness, even though the woman has asked for no such thing. She is far too pleased with her happy ending, and far too loving, to return cruelty for cruelty. Danielle, on the other hand, makes it very clear that she cares nothing for her stepmother and stepsister, and while she saves them from execution, she does not hesitate to give them their just deserts.

The Romance, The Ball, and the Slipper. In Cinderella, Ella and Kit meet a grand total of two times (that we know of) before their engagement. Obviously these people aren’t much for procrastination. While both their previous encounters are brief, they do learn more about each other than the characters in the original Cinderella do. Instead of simply falling for her good looks and her mysteriousness, as Prince Charming does, Kit recognizes Ella’s gentleness, courage, and kindness. Still, the time frame doesn’t offer much chance to get to know each other. And I have a difficult time believing it’s a good idea to marry someone you hardly know. At least, though, we can give bonus points to Kit for remembering what Ella looks like.

In Ever After, Danielle and Henry have more of a chance to get to know each other before making the decision to tie the knot. While we do have the ball scene and the slipper scene, they are essential to the plot in a much different way. Up until the ball, Danielle has led Henry to believe that she is a courtier. Admittedly, her original reason for posing as a courtier is justifiable, and it’s understandable that she would be reluctant to reveal her true identity. But the fact is, the two of them have had plenty of time to hang out and build an actual relationship beyond the traditional “love at first sight” plot device.

Here, the ball is a defining moment, not because the Prince falls head-over-heels for her and forthwith decides to marry her, but because Danielle’s stepmother exposes her for the commoner she is, and Henry casts her out. Rather than accepting her, as Kit accepts Ella, Henry nurses his wounded pride, and for a while we have to worry that the two won’t end up together. Only later, at the insistence of Leonardo da Vinci, does Henry seek Danielle out. The slipper scene is thrown in more as a satisfying conclusion to the story, rather than as a search and rescue mission culminating in an aha moment. After all, Henry doesn’t need to know who belongs to the slipper—all he needs to know is if he still belongs to the woman who wears the slipper.

The Stepmother. Both movies share the same stepmother, so to speak. Each stepmother had married the father, hoping to receive love and acceptance, only to find that the Cinderella figure owns all of the father’s heart. Naturally, greed and jealousy combine to make a cruel woman.

The Stepsisters. One major difference here is that, while, in Cinderella, we have the two traditionally evil stepsisters, in Ever After only one of the stepsisters is evil. Another divergence is that, in Cinderella, the two stepsisters really have no chance of winning the prince’s heart, whereas, in Ever After, one stepsister almost manages to snag, if not his heart, at least his hand in marriage.

The Beginnings. Here’s where I get a little nitpicky. While I very much enjoyed both movies, I do think the beginning of Ever After is far superior to the beginning of Cinderella. Both start off with a picture of our Cinderella figure’s happy life before the evil stepmother ruins everything. But Ever After manages to craft a bittersweet, amusing, heart-wrenching introduction, while Cinderella starts off with a heavy dose of cotton candy, then rushes through the sad stuff, leaving us with more exposition and less story.

 

So there you have it, my little coffee beans. If you want a movie that sticks closer to the original Disney animation, complete with the actual fairy godmother and the cute animals, I definitely recommend the 2015 Cinderella (rated PG). But if you prefer a more realistic, down-to-earth retelling, and if you feel that Leonardo da Vinci (painter and inventor extraordinaire) would make a better fairy godmother figure by far, then I suggest you check out Ever After (rated PG-13). Also, if you’d like to read any Cinderella retellings, I recommend ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine and CINDER by Marissa Meyer.

 
Have you seen either or both of the two movies? What are your thoughts? Which one is your favorite? Do you have any other Cinderella retellings to recommend?

16 comments:

  1. I have to say that I've seen both and I vastly prefer Cinderella because it's adorable and kind and sweet and I LOVE the general message and it's just a breath of fresh air that doesn't try to shove anything down my throat except having courage and being kind. *shrugs* I didn't think I would be big on Cinderella but I really adored that movie.

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    1. Hmm, it's funny because I would totally have pegged you as someone who would prefer Ever After, but I think it's really cool that you love Cinderella. It really is so adorable, and it really is a breath of fresh air. It doesn't demand anything of you, and it can be a nice break from darker stories.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Ever After is one of my all time favorite movies. I've seen it countless times — the way I've read Little Women over and over ;) I just love the realism, the social commentary, the allusions to Utopia, the incorporation of Da Vinci. LOVE! Great post!

    Ciera @ The Write Things

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    1. *high fives you* I love that movie so much, and I've seen it dozens of times. It really does have so much depth, so much more beyond the actual romance. Thanks you, and thanks for commenting!

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  3. I haven't seen Ever After, but I adore Cinderella. And Cinder. And Enchanted. Anyways. I think Cinderella (2015) was really sweet and adorable, even if the fact that they only met twice was a bit unrealistic so I think I'd like Ever After would satisfy me with that aspect.

    I love Cinderalla (2015) because it's a beautiful fairytale. Have courage and be kind along with gorgeous costumes and a fantastic soundtrack. Besides, I love that ballroom scene, even if it is a bit unrealistic. I was surprised how much I loved it because I'm not usually a fan of romance, but that movie was pretty special. Great post!!

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    1. You should totally watch Ever After! :) Cinderella is definitely so sweet and adorable, like a little piece of candy. But if you're looking for something more realistic and all that, I would definitely recommend Ever After.

      Oh my goodness, the costumes were so gorgeous. And I agree, the ballroom scene is great. Like you, I'm not a fan of romance, so I was also surprised to enjoy it.

      Thank you, and thanks for commenting!

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  4. Ever After is my very favorite! I can't believe I didn't see this post when it first went up because- because- Nobody talks about Ever After and it's one of the best!

    I think what I like most about Ever After is that it is more realistic. Henry and Danielle get to know each other. The movie seems to replace magic with science (the fairy godmother with the Leonardo da Vinci). And yet there's still an underlying theme of impossibility. They mention often how a commoner cannot marry a prince. Da Vinci is always doing crazy things, like building flying machines, walking on water with boat shoes (they seriously looked like mini arks). And flying is seen as impossible and is often alluded to. Da Vinci gives Danielle wings for her ball gown and one of my favorite parts:

    "Is there anything you can't do?"
    "Fly!"

    But I also like,

    "And I want to invite the gypsy to the ball."

    Ever After has more tension and conflict. As you said, one of the stepsister almost does marry the prince. It's more suspenseful and definitely funny. :)

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    1. *happy dance* I'm so glad you like Ever After! It is seriously one of the greatest Cinderella retellings, in my opinion.

      I love that it's realistic, without the magic and yet with a touch of magic. And there's so much humor and deep social commentary and just adlkjajsdf. I seriously love Da Vinci so much, and I agree, his boat shoes look like little arks.

      Those are such great quotes.

      And adljasdf, it is so tense. The first time I watched it, I wasn't sure it was going to end well, even though I knew it had to.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  5. *is like the only person who genuinely disliked the new Cinderella movie*

    I think that your analysis here is very accurate (at least on the Cinderella side; I have not seen Ever After, but I have heard it is good) (then again some people told me Cinderella was good), and I think you nailed down a fact that was brought to my attention earlier this week with a lot of details: Cinderella's Cinderella is a passive character whose life falls into place before her, and at least for me it made the blandest story ever.

    I mean, nice try Disney, but come on. I was living for the credits, basically.

    And, I mean, that's just me. To each her own. I have LOVED stories like Cinder and Ella Enchanted, so I guess it's just how each story tells its story, I guess.

    Still, you were fair and good. Thanks for the comparison—I must go hunt down Ever After!

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    1. That is okay. I will try my hardest to forgive you. :P But I can totally understand why.

      Cinderella is definitely very passive, and while she has a certain strength about her, the story doesn't have as much of a driving force. It's more of a lighter, fluffier piece of cotton candy for when you want a story that doesn't have much actual tension.

      Thank you, and you're welcome. :) You should totally watch Ever After, and I hope you like it! Thanks for commenting. :D

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  6. Ever After is my absolute favorite. I'm a huge Leonardo DaVinci fan and I love the character dynamics of the film. I enjoyed the 2015 version, but not as much as Ever After. The inciting incident when Danielle's father dies gets me every time and I've been watching this film for years.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. *dances around happily* I'm so glad you love Ever After! Leonardo is the best, seriously. And the character dynamics are perfect and wonderful and adlfkjadsfakjd. I think that the 2015 version was yummy, like a piece of candy, but Ever After is yummy like a full meal. Oh yes, that inciting incident gets me every time too. I think that might have been partially why I wasn't very enthralled with the beginning for the 2015 version. Thanks for commenting!

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    2. Right?! The character just so amazing in Ever After and that's a great way to describe it as a meal and as candy!

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    3. They are, they really are. *nods wisely* And thank you--I'm glad you like that description. :)

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    4. I adore Ever After. It has been my favorite movie since 2003, when I first watched it. I love it for the reasons you say. I also love how Danielle takes care of her self and really doesnt need saving. She chooses for love not need. I didnt bother watching the new Cinderella. I felt it was a remix of the same thing.

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    5. I'm so glad you like it! Yeah, Danielle definitely is a strong, independent character, willing and able to stand up for herself and get stuff done. I really liked that about her. :) Well, if you do by any chance end up watching the new Cinderella, I hope you enjoy it. :)

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