You know that Disney came out with a live-action version of Cinderella, which was basically an exact copy of the animated version, shot-for-shot. They do these kinds of quick-cash remakes from time to time, sometimes a Xerox (Cinderella) and sometimes a completely different movie that just happens to have an established name slapped on it (their 1994 version of The Jungle Book has nothing to do with the cartoon OR the novel, but is instead an environmental film where a lot of people die in horrible ways. Families must have loved the bait-and-switch on that one). If you want to see something different done with Cinderella, more importantly something weird done with Cinderella, well.....
So Disney put out a video where the Evil Stepmother got ahold of the Fairy Godmother's wand and reversed the events of the original movie, leading to a grand epic struggle for the possession of powerful magic, the preservation of time and the future of the kingdom. Seeing how they play Cinderella so safely now, it's just wild that something like this exists, but by this point the DTV factory was running out of sequelization ideas.
In case you're wondering about Cinderella II, it was actually what remained of a proposed Cinderella TV series that was shut down three episodes into production. They took the amateur animation, sewed it up with some bridging material and there you go, Cinderella II. This is how much they didn't care by this point.
Cinderella III is much better, if only for the Bile Fascination factor, but there's more to it than that. Released in 2007, it was one of the last DTV sequels Disney came out with, before Mulan VIII: The Prozoids Fight Back and after Aladdin IV: Jafar May Need Glasses.
At the time this sequel is set (initially), Cinderella and the Prince have been married for exactly one year. As she tells us in song, "What a perfectly perfect life/ It's a fairy tale come true/ I'm a princess and a wife/ All because I fit a shoe!" The slight chuckle in her voice may reveal even she thinks the circumstances of her success are a bit looney, but she hasn't seen anything yet.
Meanwhile, back at the cabin, now that Cinderella's ugly stepsisters don't have her to boss around anymore, they have to do all the chores themselves. They're both unhappy about it, but while Drizella wants revenge on Cinderella, Anastasia has her mind more on wishing she could find her own Prince to whisk her out of there. She even gets part of the opening musical number to sing a couple of "I Want" verses, to hammer it home. But while she's singing them, she notices Cinderella and the Prince are riding their horses into the woods....what do they have planned in there? She can't help but sneak in after them, and she finds....
Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, and her mice Jacques and Gus-Gus, preparing an anniversary dinner. Ana slowly begins to realize Cindy may have had supernatural help, and she gets her confirmation when the couple arrives and F.G. zaps their ballroom clothes onto them. "So that's how Cinderella did it! Magic!" she realizes.
Her surprise is not that magic exists but that Cinderella got access to it. Everybody in this movie seems to accept it as a given that magic is a thing, but still acts surprised whenever it's revealed as the cause of something. If Lady Tremaine believed in magic, she really should've been looking for some Object of Power to exact her revenge before this movie ever started.
The movie has only a little over an hour to spin its tale, so it gets things moving as fast as possible: Fairy Godmother loses the wand because she was singing the climax of the opening song and it slipped out of her hand, landing in the bushes where Ana was hiding. Ana then grabs it and hightails it over to Drizella and Tremaine before anyone can realize it's gone.
It takes some convincing though. "OUR
TROUBLES ARE OVER! LOOK AT THIS!!"
"Ooo! Let's beat her with it!" I wasn't expecting this video to get any laughs out of me, but there you go.
"No! No! It's a magic WAND! This chubby
lady helped Cinderella with it! How did those words go?
The other two shake their heads at her and start walking away. Anastasia is about to get the incantation right when F.G. steps out of the woods and says "There's my wand! I was wondering where it landed...."
No, she can't come back now....Ana wants her free stuff! They engage in a tug of war, with F.G. warning about how dangerous such a wand would be in the wrong hands and Ana whining about getting a prince and a castle. A starry beam shoots out of the wand, ricochets off a (magic-imprevious) shovel and strikes F.G., turning her into a statue.
This leaves the wand for the taking, and Lady Tremaine takes it.
"Do you know what this means?" Tremaine growls in a classic villain ranting. "Power! ........Riches! ........REVENGE." Complete with clenched fist.
She waves the wand, storm clouds gather, and she shouts a badass spell in dramatic fashion: "I CALL ON ALL THE FORCES OF THE UNIVERSE! REVERSE THE MOON AND SUN! TURN BACK TIDE AND TIME! UNRAVEL CINDERELLA'S HAPPILY EVER AFTER!" She crosses the line from Tremaine into Maleficent here, but that's fine with me.
Once the spell is complete, they're back in their bodies during the morning the royal officials arrived with the slipper. This time, things are going differently!
Tremaine discreetly uses the wand to shrink Anastasia's gigantic foot. She fills it out perfectly now, they take her to be The One and they cart her off to the palace. And hooboy, the look on Cinderella's face! When she finally breaks out of the attic this time, the carriage is already gone. Cindy insists it was supposed to be her, and can prove it: "I have the other slipper, see?" Tremaine knocks it out of her hand with her cane and shatters it on the floor! What slipper, right?
"I'm afraid what YOU saw....was only a dream. Now, we have an important meeting at the palace. You stay here...and clean up that broken glass." Tremaine smiles wickedly and exits. There's trolling, and then there's going back in time whenever your stepdaughter has fun and erasing it from continuity. What a bitch.
Cinderella is certain it couldn't possibly have been a dream, and resolves, in song, while twirling through an open meadow while the breeze inflates her hair, to get to the palace and find the Prince. Nothing's subtle for her.
The castle servants are hauling in food to
prepare for the big fat giant wedding that evening. Cinderella
sneaks into the line, but unfortunately is caught by a supervisor
who is certain she's not part of the group.
"Oh, well, I'm the....I'm the.....ROYAL MOUSECATCHER!"
"Royal mousecatcher?? I can say with a
hundred percent certainty that the palace has approximately NO
Jacques and Gus-Gus know exactly what to do.
The mice start trashing the kitchen and befouling foodstuffs. "You--you do your job! You do it!" she insists, before running off.
Meanwhile The King and the Prince are practicing swordfighting, and doing a darn good job of it. The Prince is swinging from ropes, bouncing off walls, and doing backflips. His acrobatics would win him an Olympic medal if they had them in whatever version of medieval France this is.
"She's the one, I know it! That's why I
sent those guys to find whoever fits that slipper."
"So you think she's the only one in the kingdom who wears a size four-and-a-half??"
"It's all I've got to go on here." Bad decision making, as the officials have come back with the first four-and-a-half they could find. Of course, originally, that turned out to be the right one, but not this time.....
I shouldn't nitpick this because it's a bedrock part of the fairy tale and can't be changed. But....the Prince SAW Cinderella; couldn't he send out a lot of posters with a drawing of her face above a listed cash reward? She definitely didn't look like Anastasia.
Because of this, he isn't fooled at all. Recoiling at the sight of Ugly Stepsister #1, he stammers out "Look, there's been kind of a mistake....it turns out there's more than one girl that fits that slipper! I'll have the guards escort you home..."
That might have been the end of the road, if Lady Tremaine didn't have an all-powerful Uberstick up her sleeve. She gives Prince a blast of green dust and alters his memories so that he thinks Anastasia was the one he danced with. He immediately announces their engagement. The mice, watching all this from a small ledge above the hall, are horrified.
As the Prince steps out into the outdoor walkway, Cinderella catches him there. She's relieved to see him, but her expression drops when he doesn't remember her. In fact, he's certain he was dancing with her stepsister the other night. How could that be?
The mice catch up with Cinderella and tell her the whole tale through pantomime. They act out Godmother's freezing, Anastasia's slipper shenanigan and Prince's hypnosis, and a light bulb goes on in Cindy's head. For the third time in the video, someone says "Magic....that EXPLAINS it!" Cinderella's version is the funniest, especially since of all people, she ought to have suspected it by now.
Cinderella is sneaking down the palace hall when she starts hearing the telltale jingle of F.G.'s magic wand. Peering through a keyhole, she sees Drizella is messing around with it by poofing incredibly gaudy outfits on herself over and over. You might recall Sleeping Beauty doing something similar. It's a bit that strikes the heart of the target audience, because if any princess-obsessed 6-year-old got a magic wand, this is precisely what they would be doing with it. For HOURS.
Tremaine arrives, scolds Drizella for wasting time and locks the wand inside a cabinet. Cinderelly is going to need the mice for this.
While Jacques and Gus-Gus are scampering around
the floor unnoticed, Anastasia comes in and says she's not so
sure she can go through with this anymore. "I don't want the
Prince to be forced to love me....I want to be loved for
real!" She isn't portrayed as villainous as the other two in
this movie, just misunderstood. You almost want her to succeed
here -- almost.
"Bah! What is LOVE compared to the POWER we wield?" Tremaine states Vader-style.
There's a knock on the door and a small voice calling "Housekeeping!" Cinderella's taking a stupid risk here -- Tremaine certainly knows what she looks and sounds like. And it doesn't pay off; Tremaine sees through the act within seconds. What'll she do now? What else -- stall with some canned hero vs. villain dialogue.
"I am NOT going to let you get away with
"We already HAVE."
"I don't THINK so."
It's so tonally off, but truth be known, I would rather watch this than the original movie, and more people out there than you think probably agree with me. Cinderella is an action heroine, the Prince is a swashbuckling stuperstuntman, the villain is supremely all-powerful. Stuff is CONSTANTLY happening.
While this exchange is going on, Jacques and Gus-Gus succeed in extracting the wand from the drawer, and the moment they do, all three of them race off. Ha-HAA!
Lucifer follows, but the mice shout "BIBBIDY-BOBBIDY-BOO!" and turn him into a jack-in-the-box. That, however, makes him harder to deal with as he figures out quickly how to spring around faster than he could run. So then they shrink him to 1/4 their size, but even THEN Lucifer is tough enough to beat them up. "Oh forget it," they think and change him back. Meanwhile Cinderella is cornered by the royal guards. The mice throw the wand to her, and she shouts the enchantment to reverse everything! .....Unfortunately, she's caught right at the word "bobbidy."
Tremaine has royal authority now, and she could have Cinderella thrown in the dungeon...but no, that's too good for her. She orders her BANISHED from the entire kingdom and sent away on the next sailboat.
The Prince walks by as Cinderella struggles, and she calls out to him. "You're under a SPELL -- that's why you don't remember anything! Please, LISTEN!" She grazes his hand before they cart her off, and the tactile connection suddenly evokes feeling he can't deny, because he sure didn't get them when he held Anastasia's hand. What if she's right?
Maybe Tremaine might have been able to convince
him otherwise, but Drizella runs up and shouts after Cinderella,
"NICE TRY, BUT WE WOOOON!"
"Uh, you 'won'? What do you mean?"
"I----uh------nothing! Ha ha!" She races off.
He has his suspicions confirmed by two talking, dancing mice who seem to know a lot about the behind-the-scenes goings-on at the castle. And then the truth is hammered home when the bluebirds bring in the project they've been working on:
Irrefutable evidence! The jig is up!
But Cinderella is boarding the ship at this very moment. If Prince wants to save her, he's going to need all those moves he was practicing earlier.
He LEAPS on his horse! He CHARGES through the royal gates JUST as they're about to close! He races up a mountain, through a building, catapults off his horse OFF A CLIFF and SAILS THROUGH THE AIR, grabbing the rope on the mast and SWINGING downward, using his knife to cut through the sail and slow his descent. Cinderella III > Cinderella I.
When Tremaine and the Stepsisters watch the Prince and Cinderella return on the horse, they know the spell has been broken and their plan is ruined. They also know they'll be in huge trouble if they're ever caught, so by the time the guards can reach the door, they've magically disappeared.
The cartoon hasn't slowed down yet. Tremaine still has the wand and can't be struck down no matter how many blows she takes. She waits to reveal her new plan until Cinderella is trying on her bridal outfit. If the Prince is going to marry Cinderella, she'll just have to make sure he marries "Cinderella" instead! AH HA HA HA HAAAA!
And ZAP! She's thrown inside an evil runaway version of her pumpkin carriage and carted off to who knows where by a demonic horse led by Lucifer transformed into a human stagecoach. The Fairy Godmother is a garden gnome, the Prince is occupied with her doppelganger.....who's going to save her this time?
HERSELF, that's who. This whole sequence is something else. Cinderella breaks out of the coach, dispatches Lucifer and stops the horse just before the entire shebang plummets off a cliff. She's become the take-charge, take-no-prisoners Disney princess you've always wanted every time your children forced you to watch another sugary fairy tale movie.
"Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to attend my WEDDING," Cinderella says stoically. If this was forty years ago she'd be chomping on a cigar.
Stopping the wedding shouldn't be as hard given how it's derailing itself already. The whole plan hinges on Anastasia's willingness, and she doesn't want to go through with it anymore. So when the priest asks her if she'll promise herself to the groom, Anastasirella replies ".....I don't."
That's when the real Cinderella shows up. The audience can't stop gasping.
Tremaine is revealed from behind a curtain, and the King orders her arrested. Well, she's STILL Supertremaine, so that's going to be a little hard. She immediately whips up a swirling green cloud over the temple complete with lightning bolts that can turn charging guards into farm animals.
When Tremaine stands before the Cinderellas and declares she'll turn them both into toads, the Prince leaps in front at the last minute and deflects the magic with his sword. It hits Tremaine and Drizella instead, teleporting them back to their old cabin in their new amphibian forms.
The Fairy Godmother has been set free, and restores all the damage.
Once Cinderella and the Prince
get married, Fairy Godmother asks if they would like things
restored to "the way they were."
"The way they were? What do you mean?"
"Oh.....nothing." That's how it ends. The entire first movie, the one they just remade, was actually stricken from canon eight years earlier.
Please note that with all the things I've said about Cinderella III, I never said it sucks, because it doesn't. The fact that it has the kind of plot we'd expect from a Marvel film, not a Cinderella film, makes it a lot of fun, and whatever foreign studio they outsourced the animation to did an amazing job. It IS incredibly unfaithful to the tone of the original film and even blasphemous to it in places, "but don't you see, that's what makes it so grand."
Wait, did Cinderella say that, or did Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's girlfriend say that? My memories are mixed up. I think it was actually the latter. Ahh, let's keep it.
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