61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2004
As a young black girl, most if not all the images I saw on televison and movies of princesses were all white. While the shows were certainly entertaining, they gave me--and I'm sure, many other Americans--the sense that little black girls didn't really have a place in fairytales. I can't tell you what it means to me (and other ethnic groups) to see a major Hollywood production using multi-ethnic performers. And as a mother of Scottish-Jewish-African children, it's wonderful to see a musical in which color-blind casting is used. That, combined with pretty decent--I'd say stellar--production values and updated sets, costumes and performances, makes for a show that will certainly appeal to new generations--a wonderful example of diversity for everyone. Who knows--perhaps the kids of today will feel as strongly about this version as the adults do about the Julie Andrews production from decades ago.
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2005
I'm 12. I like this movie a lot, and I don't think it was too overblown or anything. I like the songs-they have good tunes, and the costumes are funny, and beautiful.
It think it is important for there to be a multicultural Cinderella out there. I'm sick of all the blonde girls, because the whole message of Cinderella is that anyone can be a princess.
I also like the casting, even though I agree that Brandy isn't the greatest actress. And for the people who don't like her voice-that's their problem. You shouldn't have to like Brandy to like this movie.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2003
This movie is simply beautiful. It ties for best "Cinderella movie" with "Ever After," and that's saying a lot, seeing as how I utterly ADORE that movie. I was never fond of the Disney version of Cinderella when I was a child, since it always seemed too "easy." But this is much more in-depth. You get to see a lot of character development here, and the strong, diverse personalities really bounce off each other well. Brandy as Cinderella is, in my opinion, an original and wonderful choice. She brings out an honest, true-to-self strength that is rarely seen. Whitney Houston is spectacular as the fairy godmother. She's magic with attitude! And, oh yes, Paolo Montalban as Prince Christopher (I'd love to see what else he plays in). He's just such a sweet dreamer (not to mention hot as all hades! lol), you can't help but smile. As the love of Cinderella's life, he's given a properly large role (he actually gets a name in this one!), more than just "being at the ball" and "sending out servants with the glass slipper." Instead, he's out there searching, himself (with the help of Lionel). He really shows that he would go to the ends of the earth to find the girl he loves, and all of us fans are there rooting for him. Whoopi Goldberg is absolutely hilarious as the Queen. Her "enthusiasm" for poor Chris to get married is sometimes so overwhelming for her, she loses the ability to speak, and I crack up every time. I just feel so sorry for Lionel (Jason Alexander), with everything he has to put up with (he's even pushed off a ladder, and later gets trampled on at the ball, for pity's sake). I'd be tearing my hair out if I were him, really. But, he takes it so well, and I applaud him for it. Victor Garber has a rather small role as the King, but he plays it the full extent. Quite a bit more level-headed than his wife, he uses wisdom and fairness to play "peace-maker" when mother and son "disagree." I especially liked the part where he encourages Chris to find Cinderella, "no matter how long it takes." What more could you want in a king? As for Bernadette Peters, wonder of wonders, a step-mother with spunk? Imagine that! So over-the-top it's comical, and, at the same time, somewhat mysterious about her past, she and her dorky, bumbling daughters add a comic relief that's quirky and unusual. All right, enough about the characterization. On to the music. I love singing along with these songs, I really do. My particular favorites were the Cinderella/Chris duets, "The Dearest Love" (even though they weren't "aware" of each other at the time), "Ten Minutes Ago" and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?" I do wish the reprises of "The Dearest Love" and "Do I Love You because You're Beautiful" were longer, though. (Whoopi's part in "Do I" was quite touching, showing that she truly did want her son to be happy, not just wanting him to get and produce an heir for the throne, as it was made out to be at first). The way Brandy's and Paolo's rich, emotional voices intertwine is beyond magical. The costumes and sets are extravagant, just as you would expect for a fairy-tale, yet believable. I don't usually like dresses and such, but I'd love to have that ball gown. It's just so gorgeous! It's like the original Disney gown, but a bit slimmer and more modern. The sheer, simple elegance of her entire costume is as well-presented as it is breath-taking. Very nice touch there, I must say. Oh, a couple of things before I shut my opinionated mouth. I've read a lot of the reviews for this movie, and there seems to be something of a controversy over certain subjects. One being the multi-racial cast, which I think is ingenious, myself. It's the first of it's kind, as far as I've seen. My grandmother, who can be a bit technical at times, to say the least, was a tad confused as to how a white man and black woman can come out with an asian son, but I told her it's all part of the fun. Another argument point is how this "remake" compares to the versions from 1957 and 1965. Personally, I've never seen these. I'd never even knew that they existed if I hadn't come to review this one. That said, I don't feel right in saying whether this "measures up" to it's predecessors or not. But, even so, from what I've seen from some of the other notes about it, the elder ones seem kind of stiff and formal, and the only real attraction is being taken back to your childhood. This one, on the other hand, is anything but. Spirited and fun-filled, I highly recommend this to anyone who believes in love at first sight, no matter the circumstances.
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2003
Fun fast paced, enchanting update and very enjoyable. Some, who have written a negative review about not being comfortable with the color and diversity of this production, sound like .... Let's see, an African-American Cinderella, strike one. A Filipino Prince, strike two. An evil White stepmother, strike three! How dare they tint a classic fairy-tale with color and diversity, which goes against your traditional vision of virtually all children classics? This production was long overdue and should be commended, not because it breaks stereotypes, but because it is a very well performed and enjoyable movie!
Brandy does a decent job as Cinderella, and evokes the charm and innocence needed to pull the role off. Whitney is fantastic (and I’m not a big Whitney fan). Bernadette Peters is great as is the rest of the cast. Compared to the Leslie-Ann Warren, mid 60’s version, which is very slow, sparse, and poorly acted, this version is like a breath of fresh air. My daughter has seen both versions and can’t sit through the 60’s version. I think those who reminisce about that version, think of it kindly because we saw it as children and it takes us back to a time of our innocence. You can find the 60’s TV version at most blockbusters, but if you watch it and then watch this updated version of Cinderella, I think you’ll agree that this 1997 version is an improvement!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2010
Each of the three TV productions of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella" has something to recommend it: The original has Julie Andrews' gorgeous singing and gentle charm, and a great supporting cast. The 1960s remake is a classic, romantic example of that decade's stage-like video musicals. This 1997 version has the slickest production values of the three and - by far - the best script and character development.
For example, it's the only version where I believed that Cinderella and the Prince had anything in common and could conceivably fall in love that quickly. And (spoiler alert:) I love that in this production, he recognizes her *before* putting the shoe on her foot. I always wondered why Cinderella would want to marry a guy who couldn't recognize her except by her shoe size. Here he clearly likes her in many ways. The Stepmother and other supporting roles also get more character development here than the previous 75-minute versions allowed.
Brandy is immensely likable in the title role. Paolo Montalbán looks, sounds and acts every bit the Prince. Whitney Houston makes a strong fairy godmother, and Bernadette Peters is fantastic as the bitter, scenery-chewing stepmother.
I like most of Rob Marshall's choreography. The waltzes are danced beautifully, and the staging of other numbers shows wit and grace. However, the elaborate dance break in the middle of Jason Alexander's song "The Prince is Giving a Ball" is interminable, derivative and adds nothing to the film.
In short, although the tone is different from the previous productions, this remake holds up well on its own terms.