Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies.
When you see the poster above, what story immediately comes to mind? Disney is banking on the fact that Cinderella’s glass slipper is such a recognizable image that that’s all they need to show to get people excited for the film. In fact, that same iconic image is carried over into their first teaser trailer. Check it out below and then read on for my comments:
Nowhere in that teaser is there anything letting you know that this new version of Cinderella is directed by Kenneth Branagh, the Academy Award nominated director of many great Shakespearean films from the 90s and of the first Thor. It doesn’t tell you that the film stars Downton Abbey‘s Lily James as Cinderella or Game of Thrones‘ Richard Madden as Prince Charming. You won’t see any credits listing Cate Blanchett as Cinderella’s stepmother or Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother. There’s not even a hint of the presence of Ben Chapman or Hayley Atwell, not to mention Stellan Skarsgard and the legendary Derek Jacobi.
Instead, we get the bright, sparkly image of a crystal shoe topped with a golden butterfly. In fact, it’s a large way from the first glimpse that was given to the audience at last year’s D23 Expo.
Of course, that image wasn’t designed to be a part of any marketing, it was simply a screen test image to help with the look of the film and Lily James as Cinderella. Still, there’s a drastic difference between the 90s TV miniseries look of this picture and the shiny, glamorous teaser poster and trailer. So why the difference in marketing?
I have a few theories. The first is that Disney Princesses are having a huge moment right now. Obviously, Frozen was not only a huge hit (currently the 6th highest grossing film of all time) but was also a masterpiece, giving Disney far more attention than they could have possibly imagined. Anna and Elsa merchandise is selling like hotcakes, and Disney World has had to change their opening procedure to keep people from sprinting to the Anna and Elsa meet-and-greet. So I imagine the focus on the “princessey” aspect of this new version of Cinderella is probably meant to capitalize on Frozen‘s success. The color choice for the poster even looks a little similar to the teaser for Frozen.
I’m sure there are probably people rolling their eyes at this, and who have no interest in seeing a Cinderella that’s represented by the sort of poster and trailer that Disney has given us, but I think that judgement is a little premature. For starters, Disney is obviously using these teasers to drum up interest and nothing else, so I wouldn’t judge the film from these new images. But also it neglects the recent trend with Disney movies in general and the extremely important presence of Branagh behind the wheel. As far as live action adaptations of existing stories, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was dark and interesting, The Lone Ranger was a critique of America, and Maleficent looks dark and interesting. Given how seriously Branagh treated the Asgard sequences of Thor, playing up the family drama and making the characters three dimensional, I would expect nothing less from Cinderella, especially with the cast he’s lined up. At the very least, I doubt we’ll see any singing mice.
There’s obviously a lot more to see from Cinderella, and I expect that this teaser trailer was simply an easy way to have something to attach to showings of Maleficent when it comes out in a couple weeks. It’s an iconic image and it’s sure to get people talking. The real trailers will come later. I’m actually already pretty excited about this film’s potential, as there are so many great moments from the 1950 film. I can’t wait to see what they do with the pumpkin carriage, and there’s always the romantic drama of that classic image of Cinderella rushing down the stairs as the clock chimes midnight. I’m happy that Disney is revisiting some of their biggest films, and I hope they can find the right balance between loyalty to the original and finding a new twist or tone.
What do you think? Are you excited for a live action Cinderella from Kenneth Branagh? What do you think of the film’s cast? What do you make of how Disney is first teasing the film? Am I the only one who is reminded of Frozen? Who’s excited for Maleficent in just a couple weeks? Which classic Disney animated film do you want to see adapted next? (The next one in the plans is The Jungle Book.) Let me know in the comments!