Cinderella

Vampire Owl: How many Cinderella movies have we watched?

Vampire Bat: I have lost count this time.

Vampire Owl: And how many more Cinderella movies will we watch?

Vampire Bat: It is also not something we can guess.

Vampire Owl: If Cinderella was a vampire, this would have been so perfect.

Vampire Bat: We don’t really have fairy-tales in the vampire world.

Vampire Owl: One doesn’t really need them, right?

Vampire Bat: Well, fairy-tales are lies, we all know that.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that humans are not really short of lies.

Vampire Bat: And they even want us to believe the same.

[Gets a beetroot cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Vivian (Idina Menzel) leads her life in a village of hardworking people with her daughters (Maddie Baillio and Charlotte Spencer), as well as her stepdaughter Ella, then known as Cinderella (Camila Cabello) who is different from her stubborn sisters. She does almost everything in the house, but is not considered to be someone of importance. Nobody in the house likes her, and wastes no time in scolding or making fun of her, despite her best efforts to make things better. Everyone at home considers her to be an orphan, even though she is daughter to the mother’s earlier husband. It is then that Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) is in requirement of a wife, but he is not really that much into it – King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan) and Queen Beatrice (Minnie Driver) are not really happy about it though, as they would have preferred him to marry someone whom they admired and win many colonies as wedding gift in the process.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As Robert goes on living his life, not intending to be the grand kind that everyone wanted to be, Princess Gwen (Tallulah Greive) hopes to be rule the realm as a queen, an idea which nobody is interested in, but she does manage to provide some ideas in between, which mostly wouldn’t suit the world she lived in. Robert would meet Cinderella in the market though, as she was trying the dress which she had designed. For them to meet again, they have to come together in a ball, and she also wants to find buyers for her clothes, and Fairy Godmother (Billy Porter) prepares her for the same, supported by the mice (James Acaster, James Corden and Romesh Ranganathan) who are transformed into men and are supposed to take her to the palace on a magical chariot. Now the question remains if she can fall in love and sell her clothes at the same time, or whether she will fail as her stepmother and stepsisters would have always thought she would. The possibilities are endless.

The defence of Cinderella :: The first song by Ella is the best one with the music, and there are a few nice songs, even though none of them rise much above that particular level, while there are some which are not interesting at all. The visuals are really good, and the magic of the original fair-tale story is maintained, even though it seems to be so more by compulsion rather than anything else – maybe this film could have been named something else and played into another tale instead of calling Cinderella for help. There are some nice ideas in the background, that is for sure, but in the implementation, it often falls on the nose, and still we find something here and there. It does have the support of some fine performances in moments, and it also thrives on the moments. After all, we can’t just avoid a Cinderella movie when it comes, even when it deviates too much from the original ideas, and even if it is not the Cinderella that we knew or wanted to watch.

The claws of flaw :: For a Cinderella movie, this one is really strange. Its deviations often feel dumb, and often it feels useless. We have watched so many Cinderella films that we know what the story should really be about despite adding something not suiting at all. Some of the music does get irritating, just like a few of the characters fo manage to do. It is the same reason why it also feels foolish at times. The director here does have some weird and silly ideas about making a Cinderella film, and one has to understand that there are a few things which really make a Cinderella, just like without a few things, some classics and fairytales are not complete – Hamlet needs vengeance, Macbeth needs the witch-like creatures, Rapunzel needs the long hair etc. This is where Cinderella making the unnecessary deviation without creativity falls behind, and in the process, it is also too long a film, considering what kind of content it has.

Performers of the soul :: A lot of characters in the movie do look strange, even though many of them seems to excel in this. Camila Cabello is really good, without doubt, and the same can be said about Idina Menzel and Pierce Brosnan. Camila Cabello has some fine moments which rise a long way up, while it is always good to see Pierce Brosnan in any role. Idina Menzel has her stepmother role smaller than what one would have expected. Maddie Baillio and Charlotte Spencer plays the usual stepdaughters of the good old fairytale. Nicholas Galitzine and Minnie Driver are okay, but seem to overdo things at some moments, and some of their dialogues are ridiculously silly – but that is more or less inheriting the silly mood of the film itself. Tallulah Greive plays basically a useless role, and she doesn’t have enough screen-space either. A number of smaller characters in this film seems to be strangely written, and we would have actually done better without them as some of them also manage to look much ridiculous. Billy Porter as the fairy godmother is nonsense.

How it finishes :: Cinderella with this version is enjoyable only because of parts. Otherwise, it is irritating in other parts. It needed better music and try not to use nonsense to sell its ideas. These won’t suit in a Cinderella film either, but as it does look good, and because we have always loved Cinderella, we go on with it. As it has released on Amazon Prime Video, there is always the option to fast forward those unnecessary elements. When people try to divert a classic fairytale without not much thinking, I can assure you that there are many areas where you wish to fast forward. If you accept people’s right to be silly if they have a high budget, and enjoy the rest, you can enjoy the magic with the visual extravaganza. Well, we have accepted many stupid films which looked good or a few others with dumb fun, it is very much possible to be entertained by this.

Release date: 3rd September 2021
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Kay Cannon
Starring: Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver, Nicholas Galitzine, Billy Porter, Pierce Brosnan, Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer, Tallulah Greive

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pinocchio

Vampire Owl: I know this person very well from childhood itself.

Vampire Bat: It is a fictional character from the children’s novel The Adventures of written by the Italian writer Carlo Collodi of Florence.

Vampire Owl: Okay, so it is from the land of Renaissance indeed,

Vampire Bat: Yes, most people don’t really know that this tale is not really English.

Vampire Owl: But it went on to become so popular all around the world.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is that kind of a story that appeals to everyone.

Vampire Owl: And it is a fine story to read for the children of all ages.

Vampire Bat: We also add an Italian movie dealing with the same story to our list on this day.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that this one will become a fine deviation from our usual path.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and takes us back to childhood too, at least in parts.

[Gets a green apple cake and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: Geppetto (Roberto Benigni), a poor Italian carpenter has a hard time making his living, as he rarely gets any work, and nobody appreciates him for the quality products which he come up with. But one day, he sees a puppet theatre in the town, and becomes a lot interested in creating a puppet all by himself. He feels that he could create something special which would be appreciated all around the world for its beauty on wood. He manages to get a log of wood which its owner wanted to leave behind because it seemed to have some kind of magic associated with it. Geppetto spends all his time creating the perfect puppet, and in the end, when he finishes the same, he finds out that it can talk. After naming the puppet Pinocchio (Federico Ielapi), he decides to take him as his son. But the newfound son out of the log isn’t really an obedient one, as he keeps exercising his freedom against the wishes of his father.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Pinocchio does get into trouble due to his actions, and Geppetto decides to send him to school, so that he would study well and also mingle with the other children of the town. Geppetto sells his inherited jacket to buy Pinocchio an ABC book which is necessary to accepted into the school. Pinocchio does go for his first day at school, but notices a puppet theater, and he ends up selling the book to buy the ticket. In the theater, the other puppets notice Pinocchio among the viewers and calls him up the stage, thus messing up the show. A furious puppeteer Mangiafuoco (Gigi Proietti) catches Pinocchio and locks him in his caravan with the others puppets, and leaves the town. Mangiafuoco who has been very angry about what had happened, plans to use Pinocchio as firewood to help cooking his dinner. Pinocchio begs him to release him in order to return home from his father, who would be very much worried by then.

And what else is to follow around here with the puppet? :: Mangiafuoco decides to let him go, and seeing his compassion towards the other puppets who he saves from being burned, he gives him five gold coins to give to the poor carpenter whom he calls father. Pinocchio is really happy about it, and tries to get home as soon as possible, but is lost in his way, not sure where he is heading. As he tries to find the right directions, he meets Fox (Massimo Ceccherini) and Cat (Rocco Papaleo) who discovers that the puppet has some gold coins with him which they can use during their jobless ways. They tell him a tale about the Field of Miracles, a special place where they can bury the coins, and a tree full of money will grow rapidly. But they intend to murder the puppet and take the money. They make some fine plans for the same, and takes a room in the nearby tavern. Pinocchio is not aware of such sinister plans, and despite being warned by Talking Cricket (Davide Marotta). Can the puppet keep the money and finally get to his father who is looking for him?

The defence of Pinocchio :: The movie, as expected is a journey to a special world, and those who have known the tale before, will relate to the same very well. There is a beautiful world that provides a certain amount of enchantment close to the original version, and we have one puppet who is not familiar with the ways of humans going through. Roberto Benigni whom we know from the movie Life is Beautiful is here again playing the father figure, and that is indeed beautiful, as we remember how he managed to be a great father there – here, he is not far behind either. The one who used his imagination to shield his son from the terror within a Nazi concentration camp is not to be forgotten that easily. Marine Vacth who plays the fairy and many others also catch our attention, being out of the usual world, getting close to fantasy. With the cat, fox, snail, cricket, characters, the movie is as child-friendly as anything can get, and therefore makes itself a fine watch for the families. Well, a journey through rural Italy of those times never really gets to be less interesting for the eyes.

The claws of flaw :: Pinocchio might be different in looks from what many people might have imagined him earlier. The movie could have had a certain amount of visible magic in there too, not as being regular part of the proceedings, but as something completely out of the world. For the same, more special effects could have been used to create a visual extravaganza, because even lesser films these days seem to display the grandeur – after all, this is a children’s classic of a higher level on print. The fact that the puppet keeps falling into trouble due to not listening to the good advice makes it feel repetitive, especially for the adults who would be a long way past this tale by now – even I don’t remember most of what I read during my childhood. It could have also had more focus on the father-son relationship because the puppet as the adventurer is not of that much interest as a person, and we have to look forward to the fairy to find the next lovable character, followed by the snail. The growing nose could have also been used better.

How it finishes :: As far as the idea of Pinocchio from The Adventures of Pinocchio by the Italian author Carlo Collodi is concerned, this one manages the same well, and it is to be noted that usually the adaptations are supposed to come in the form of cartoons. Making a live-action movie with this type of characters is indeed difficult, but we can see that they have managed everything pretty well here. The Adventures of Pinocchio has been the world’s most translated book excluding religious works and had such a great impact on different cultures, also being a children’s favourite. But we see that it also explores the human condition, about what it means to be human, right here. We do have that usual child who doesn’t like to go to the school, and is not interested in obeying parents, with a certain love for entertainment and adventure over the rest, and is naive when facing the dangers of the outside world. Yes, this version is a successful one too, and you can choose to watch it, without expecting anything too special or highly innovative.

Release date: 19th December 2019
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Matteo Garrone
Starring: Roberto Benigni, Federico Ielapi, Rocco Papaleo, Massimo Ceccherini, Marine Vacth, Gigi Proietti, Paolo Graziosi, Massimiliano Gallo, Maria Pia Timo, Davide Marotta, Alessio Di Domenicantonio

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.