Above all you must always have courage, and be kind
I saw Cinderella Wednesday with Gert. Of course the story is a familiar one and even more so since this is a Disney remake of the original Disney animation.
The movie spends a lot of time setting the background of Ella and her family. Her parents love her and each other, they live in a nice big manor house with a handful of servants and a bunch of animals. Then her mother falls ill and dies but not before telling Ella the above, and not to stop believing in magic.
Ella grows up, her father remarries the Lady Tremaine aka Cate Blanchett and gains two stepdaughters, Anastasia and Drusilla. At first things are tense but okay, and then Stepmother turns the quiet, peaceful house into party plaza.
It is clear that Ella’s father can’t forget his wife and that this second marriage isn’t all that great. We get glimpses now and then of Lady Tremaine’s feelings and see that she isn’t happy either, but not enough time is spent on this. Anastasia and Drusilla are nothing more than cardboard.
Then daddy dies while overseas, and Ella’s life starts to change. Before long, she is nothing more than the maid, and renamed to Cinderella by her stepsisters. She runs off, or rather: rides, and meets the Prince.
They hit it off, they talk and flirt and go their separate ways. We then spend some time in the palace with the Prince and King. The same applies here, there’s glimpses of backstory and character stuff, but it is flimsy and superficial.
Then, ball happens, Fairy Godmother comes along (an all too brief part for Helena Bonham Carter), cgi magic happens to turn pumpkin, mice, lizards and goose into coach, horses, footmen and driver and off to the ball Cindy goes.
Visually, it’s stunning. Cinderella’s dress is fantastic and the decor is beautiful. We get some more royal background which adds the tiniest bit of plot. Cindy and Kit dance, then run off into the garden where they talk more and it is from there she runs off when the clock strikes midnight.
The rest is familiar, the Prince searches all through the land to find her, and although interrupted by a wee bit of scheming, succeeds and they live happily ever after.
On the whole, the movie misses substance. The plot is already pretty thin, and it would have been nice to really add some actual character development. Unfortunately, I find neither of the actors playing Cindy and the Prince strong enough to carry the movie.
Manners maketh man
Afterwards, we saw Kingsman: The Secret Service. This movie is fantastic! It’s a British film, and, fortunately, it shows.
Kingsman is an intelligence agency formed in the 19th century to be an independent secret service, free from government allegiances and influence. All members are gentlemen, and generally coming from a wealthy background, clad in the best bespoke suits you can find. In fact, their front is that of a high end tailor making said bespoke suits.
They are led by “Arthur”, their tech genius is “Merlin” and every member has a codename of one of the knights of the round table. This means there’s a set number of agents, and when one dies, the others all put forth a candidate. After an intense testing, process the one remaining candidate gets the job.
At the beginning of the movie, Lancelot dies, so there’s an opening.
Every agent brings in a candidate, and all are upper class youth. Except Galahad’s choice. He brings in Eggsy, the son of his candidate the last time there was an opening, and who didn’t make it. Eggsy is in his early twenties, no job, several brushes with the law, living with his mum, her abusive boyfriend and his half sister.
From there on we follow Eggsy as he goes through the training and selection process, and Galahad as he works, until the two plotlines meet and shit hits the fan.
The movie has this old school gentleman spy feel, and knows it. It alludes to it several times, and manages to blend this old school attitude with modern tools and equipment. It also has a very good mix of serious and fun. Coupled with excellent casting choices (Colin Firth as Galahad, Mark Strong as Merlin, Taron Egerton as Eggsy), this film is a joy to watch and very much recommended.
I forgive myself
Then yesterday, Kim and I went to see Insurgent. It picks up almost immediately after Divergent, only a few days have passed. We meet up with Tris, Four, Caleb and Peter in Amity where they have taken shelter. At first, they seem mostly settled in as they wait for things to happen and make plans. But things are not quite what they seem and before you know it, they’re back on the run, heading into the city with the end goal of killing Jeanine.
Along the way to do that, they meet the Factionless, split up, find people, and loose people, and we spend time with both Candor and Erudite before this movie’s endgame begins.
The movie skips a fair amount of book, but I feel this was the best choice as the skipped part is mostly repetitive of things seen in Divergent. By cutting it, the rest of the movie can take a slower pace and dive into things with more detail.
We get several touching Tris/Four moments, more insight into the other factions, more Sims, and we also get to see Tris struggle with herself. She’s riddled with guilt about the death of her parents and the shooting of Will, as already established in Divergent. Throughout the movie, we see her grow, and slowly deal with it.
The end is a bit anticlimactic; it feels a little bit rushed, and too easy. It does, however, leave a perfect starting point for the last film. And, even though I wouldn’t mind more of this series, I do hope they do just one movie for the last book.