Release Date: March 4, 1950
Director: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, & Wilfred Jackson
Production Company: Walt Disney Productions
Well, I’ve gone and done it! I’ve watched every single Walt Disney and Pixar animated feature film. I saved one of the most famous for last. Cinderella essentially made the Walt Disney Company as we know it today (or as we’ve known it for most of the past 70 years because the company has changed considerably in just the past decade) inaugurating a new golden age of animated films, ventures into television, and ultimately theme parks. Cinderella Castle towers over the Magic Kingdom in Florida to remind you of the film’s importance.
Cinderella may also be one of the best known fairy tales outside of the movies, so I figured I knew the basic plot. What surprised me in the Disney version is that the movie is told largely from the perspective of two mice, Jaq and Gus. The first 20 minutes of the movie is almost all about the exploits of the household mice with Cinderella as an incidental background character. It’s both a daring storytelling choice but ultimately a bit off-putting. I just kind of wanted the Cinderella’s story to get started already.
While I had no idea the movie so prominently featured mice, I was well aware of the Fairy Godmother and her famous song “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”. So I was surprised that the Fairy Godmother literally appears in just one scene and there’s really no explanation for her existence other than to get Cinderella to the ball.
The movie is well animated and the music is solid and the mice are cute, but something about Cinderella just feels off. I think Sleeping Beauty, a movie considered less successful than Cinderella, did a much better job with mixing story, character, humor, and drama.