Now, I’m not the biggest fan of musicals, and I’m certainly not a fan of James Corden, who has so many acting jobs, presenting jobs and ‘hanging out with the Friends cast’, that he must be richer than an astronaut. However, since he starts off as a CGI mouse, that would make his non-visual role more palatable (the same went for Peter Rabbit).
A number of people were also a bit miffed that the Fairy Godmother, who is conventionally white and female, is now played by Billy Porter (as Fab G), who’s neither white nor female. However, they miss the point that Jodie Turner Smith was the best thing about Channel 5’s recent Anne Boleyn drama, and I’m also looking forward to Laurence Fox taking the lead in the 2022 blockbuster movie event, The Martin Luther King Story.
But, I’ll give anything a chance, and ‘Cinderella 2021‘ gets going with a rousing singalong for Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation, seguing into Whitney Houston’s Love Will Save The Day. But while Camila Cabello – as the titular lead – can sing, it’s a shame the first tune of her own – Million To One – is subjected to autotune. That feels like a process which came about in the ’90s and was largely best known for Cher’s No.1 single, Believe, but it really should’ve been left there, as well.
After introducing evil stepmother Vivian (Idina Menzel) and the two ugly stepsisters, Anastasia (Maddie Baillio) and Drizella (Charlotte Spencer), events move on to where King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan) and Queen Beatrice (Minnie Driver) think their son, Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine), will want to take the hand of posh Princess Laura (Mary Higgins) in marriage, but like all right-thinking men, unless the bride-to-be is Jennifer Aniston, it’s not happening. I have a feeling he’ll end up falling for Cinderella, but no spoilers…
Tallulah Greive is very amusing as Robert’s sister, Princess Gwen, creating a disturbane in the family home, before Brosnan denies her being being able to sit at the family table, with “I don’t make the rules, I’m just the King(!)”
Strangely, she’s not in the round-up at the end of “name/picture” as they show the key cast members, since she’s in it quite a fair bit.
Of the songs featured, the best of those are Madonna’s Material World, led by Idina Menzel, as well as two led by Nicholas Galitzine – Queen’s Somebody To Love, and The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, and during the latter, I couldn’t help but join in with the alternative, “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!” 😉
There’s also a couple of decent one-liners, such as when Fab G appears and asks Cinders, “Do you want to go to the ball?”, she replies, “Yes, I was just crying and singing about it, like two minutes ago(!)”
And given how she’s wearing glass high heels, yet can’t make them more comfortable, Fab G counters, “Women’s shoes are what they are. Even magic has its limits(!)”
So, there’s a lot of good comic timing in this, but that’s really for about the first 50 minutes before the heroine heads off to the ball. It does rather go on after that, and could easily be tightened up to lose about 20 minutes.
Alas, it’s about halfway through when the mice (Corden with James Acaster and Romesh Ranganathan) are turned into footmen, so the unfunny trio are shown in the flesh, making me wish I could’ve teleported into the film early on, and laid down some warfarin on the floor for those rodents. If you’re not familiar with the story, I won’t say if they turn back into mice…
At one point, Minnie Driver drops in “What fresh hell is this?”, a variation on Dorothy Parker’s “What fresh hell can this be?”, which she’d apparently come out with every time the doorbell rang. Well, it’s usually just someone selling something, so I ignore it.
Overall, Cinderella 2021 is about half-and-half for me, so it’s better than I was expecting, and no doubt anyone who’s into musicals – especially this one in particular – will get a lot more out of it, and will watch it repeatedly.
There’s also a brief end-credits moment…
Cinderella 2021 is on Amazon Prime Video from Friday September 3rd, but the film isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Running time: 113 minutes
Release date: September 3rd 2021
Studio: Amazon Prime Video
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K))
Director: Kay Cannon
Producers: James Corden, Jonathan Kadin, Shannon McIntosh, Leo Pearlman
Screenplay: Kay Cannon
Music: Jessica Weiss
Cinderella: Camila Cabello
Fab G: Billy Porter
Vivian: Idina Menzel
Prince Robert: Nicholas Galitzine
King Rowan: Pierce Brosnan
Queen Beatrice: Minnie Driver
Anastasia: Maddie Baillio
Drizella: Charlotte Spencer
Princess Laura: Mary Higgins
Footman / Mouse: James Acaster
Footman / Mouse: James Corden
Footman / Mouse: Romesh Ranganathan
Princess Gwen: Tallulah Greive
Griff: Luke Latchman
Hench: Fra Fee
Princess: Nikkita Chadha
Princess Natasha: Natasha Patel
Guard: George Gjiggy Francis
Town Crier: Doc Brown
Thomas Cecil: Rob Beckett
Queen Tatiana: Beverley Knight
Count Wilbur: Jenet Le Lacheur
Princess Lisa: Lisa Spencer
Princess Vinani: Vinani Mwazanzale
Princess Nakai: Nakai Warikandwa
Rosemary: Paddy Glynn
Anastasia: Linda John-Pierre
Shop Owner: Alex Bourne
Patricia Stokes: Peta Cornish
Young Town Girl: Nandi Bushell
Jesse: Manny Tsakanika
Princess Chanelle: Channelle George
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.