Why Does Everyone Hate Amazon's "Cinderella?"
On September 3rd, 2021, Amazon Video released one of its most ambitious originials yet: Cinderella, starring Camilla Cabello, Idina Menzel, Billy Porter, and James Corden. Even before its release the film was made with almost unanimous disdain from critics and audience members alike. So like any bored teenager on a Saturday night I decided to check out the movie for myself and I'm not sure I can say I disagree, here's why...
Before I get into the glaring issues this movie has, let's talk about what Kay Cannon's Cinderella gets right. I can very well see this as a movie that little children will appreciate but unfortunately I am well beyond that demographic. For the most part the costume design is fairly good, barring a few exceptions, and most of the cast is genuinely talented, if there's one performance I came close to enjoying it was probably Billy Porter for the five minutes he was on screen. Unfortunately I had to wrack my brain to find those two things I liked because other than that there is pretty much nothing else to enjoy.
If I were to compare Kay Cannon's Cinderella to any other movie it would have to be the 2017 live action Beauty and the Beast with 1/100th of the budget. The first incontestable problem I encountered with this movie is the absolutely dreadful production design. You'd think a million dollar company could afford to put a little more money into their films. I hate to say it but there are moments where this genuinely feels like a student film or a direct to video release which it...kind of is, I guess. The set and overall world building is extremely lacking and it's almost impossible to overlook since you're greeted with it in the first five minutes. I don't have very high expectations when it comes to Amazon original movies but I'll admit, this was a shock.
Cinderella definitely has a talented cast however they're overshadowed by the abysmal writing they have to deal with. Camilla Cabello was in a word, fine, but her voice absolutely does not suit a Disney princess, she's a pop star. The actor who plays Prince Robert, Nicholas Galitzine probably gives the most enjoyable performance but the bar isn't exactly the highest. I think I speak for mostly everyone when I tell Hollywood to stop casting James Corden in things. I'm tired of his sub-par performances and annoying voice poisoning every already terrible project he stars in.
Easily the worst part of Cinderella is the music, which is disappointing to say because they certainly tried their best here. Like other movie musicals like Mama Mia! and Moulin Rouge, Kay Cannon's film consists of mostly reimagined pop songs, sung by the cast. There are a few original songs that feel a lot more fitting with the movie's tone but like everything good about this film it's overshadowed by the bad. By far the most egregious is the first song which is a cover of Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation that just feels so incredibly misplaced. All of the songs are so random I was kind of surprised not to hear the mice start singing "Havana ooh na na."
There are a million things wrong with Amazon's cheap adaptation of Cinderella, to the point where I'm sure the Brothers Grimm are turning in their graves because of it. However despite my loathesome attitude towards James Corden and everything he stands for, this article would simply be too long to list every detail this movie got wrong. If you have a young child I'm sure they would tolerate this movie but why do that when you could just put on the original? Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be spending the rest of my day trying to avoid any mention of this film whatsoever.