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Disney makes 'Cinderella' story worth telling again
Lily James is Cinderella in "Cinderella." - photo by Doug Wright
'Cinderella' (rated PG) 3 stars

The Walt Disney Company is 2-for-2 this movie season, first with the underdog cross-country film McFarland, USA, starring Kevin Costner, and now with Cinderella.

I have to admit to being skeptical on this one. After all, how many times can this tale be told?

Apparently, were good for one more.

Lily James is quite dazzling as the heroine of this story, delivering a Cinderella that is just right. OK, thats a line from another fairy tale but its still true.

Since everybodys familiar with this story, lets just concentrate on presentation.

James gives us a more traditional Cinderella than weve seen recently. Its become politically correct and fashionable to portray the female protagonists in fairy tales as more independent, spunky and perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. James walks a delicate line. She is a girl with spirit and spunk, but also determined to follow the admonition of her dying mother: to be not only courageous, but kind. That's not easy, considering the tragic situation shes left in after the death of her father.

Cate Blanchett, as the evil stepmother, is wonderful. Her unique beauty enhances her cruelty and, strangely, a sad vulnerability as she plots and connives for control of Cinderellas birthright and elevation of stature within the kingdom.

Richard Madden stars as the prince. Some will recognize him from the adult TV series Game of Thrones, but not being a superstar works to his advantage in this role, allowing him to make the prince his own. As with Cinderella, the portrayal is quite traditional, but carries a charm and a hint of vulnerability.

Director Kenneth Branagh casts a spell of his own over the movie that weaves an unexpected texture and beauty into a story that is so familiar that a mediocre telling could be tedious. This is anything but, and the use of special effects to bring the beloved Disney touches to life is spectacular.

And this is where Helena Bonham Carter comes in as the Fairy Godmother. What can I say? Shes excellent. Her introduction to Cinderella and the transformation of creatures and pumpkin to accommodate our heroines conveyance to the ball is mesmerizing.

This is another film Walt Disney would be proud to have his name on.
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