Cinderella. Recent “live action reimaginings” of Disney classics have been hit or miss. A lot of people liked Maleficent but I was luke-warm about it. Snow White & the Huntsman was really disappointing. Plus, we’ve seen versions of Cinderella in both Into the Woods and Once Upon a Time. So after all this, are people still interested in these remakes? Will this one finally be a success? The gist. In the lead role this time around, we’ve got relative newcomer Lily James (Downtown Abbey). Her mother passes away (in a great 5 minute cameo by Hayley Atwell from Captain America) and Cinderella ends up with a new stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and two heinous stepsisters. One day in the woods, Cinderella meets the local Prince (Richard Madden) and becomes convinced to attend the next ball and try to win his affection. The problem is… she doesn’t have a gown or carriage and her stepmother forbade her from attending. That’s when her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) appears and turns things around for the better. What works? If the two romantic leads didn’t work together, this movie would have fallen apart. I found Lily James to be instantly likeable as Cinderella and I thought Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) had a great charisma as well. As with all “instant love” romance stories, I question the realism of that scenario, but that’s a bigger question. I found their story to be engaging and it definitely echoed the sentiments of the original cartoon’s charm. And if we liked Cinderella enough, that should mean that it’d be easy to hate Blanchett’s stepmother. And I definitely did, almost too much. She definitely added some gravitas to this cast and it must’ve been a fun turn for her. The stepsisters I was whatever about, but Blanchett did great. What didn’t work? As opposed to Maleficent and Snow White & the Huntsman, this didn’t really shake things up at all. Director Kenneth Branagh (Thor) chose to go the route of literally recreating the classic cartoon, so this can be a little repetitive and predictable. Sometimes though, that’s exactly what you want. Also, some of the more magical moments felt out of place with the rest of the film. It’s a pretty grounded story until the fairy godmother shows up, so it was a little jarring. I thought these big moments (such as the creation of the carriage) were really fun but sometimes didn’t feel like it belonged in this movie. Overall… This is a brief review but there’s not much to say. It’s predictable and exactly what you remember from your childhood. All of our leads do a pretty great job, though the fantastical components kind of feel out of place. I enjoyed it but I doubt I’ll ever watch it a second time. I’d say I probably enjoyed it more than both Snow White & the Huntsman and Maleficent, if that helps you decide if you’d like this.