CLIPS DVD REVIEW
by Roger Tennis
After the deaths of her mother (Hayley Atwell) and father (Ben Chaplin), Ella (Lily James) becomes no more than a servant to her stepmother Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drizella (Sophie McShera). Covered in ashes from work, she is cruelly renamed Cinderella. While on a horseback ride, her chance meeting with Prince Charming (Richard Madden) leads to the palace ball that will change her life. Magical and endearing, the live-action "Cinderella" captures the spirit of Walt Disney's animated classic. Lavish sets, some spectacular special effects and a remarkable cast combine under the direction of Kenneth Branagh ("Thor") to bring this magnificent film to life. Helena Bonham Carter delivers a memorable performance as the Fairy Godmother. Also in the cast are Derek Jacobi as The King and Stellan Skarsgård as the Grand Duke. Taking center stage in this production are the enchanting Lily James and a menacing Cate Blanchett. This version is not a full-blown musical, but two songs from the Disney original are featured over the closing credits. New renditions of "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes", sung by Lily James, and "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo", sung by Helena Bonham Carter, are worth staying for. A song that Ella's mother sings to her, "Lavender Blue", was actually nominated for Best Original Song in the 1949 Disney film "So Dear to My Heart" (sung by Burl Ives). There is a delightful animated short preceding the feature. "Frozen Fever", with the characters from "Frozen", finds Anna's birthday celebration at risk when Elsa catches a cold. A catchy new song is included in this all-too-brief cartoon. But the main feature is entertaining on its own. Moviegoers will have a ball with this charming "Cinderella".
The Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD edition (released on Sept. 15, 2015) dazzles in both picture and sound, making "Cinderella" the belle of the ball. This is reason enough for Disney lovers to add this enchanting treat to their collections. There are just a few bonus features to browse on the disc. For those who didn't purchase the recent "Short Films Collection", this is your second chance to own the whimsical "Frozen Fever". Other than that, there's an alternate opening on "Ella's Childhood" and some background pieces: "Ella's Furry Friends", "Staging the Ball", "A Fairy Tale Comes to Life" and a costume test. The Digital HD version for Disney Movies Anywhere also has additional scenes that were not included in the original presentation. Yet this is really about the film itself, which looks as good in the home as it did in the theater. It's a rather comfortable fitting glass slipper.