Saturday, March 21, 2015

Disney's Live Action Movie "Cinderella" - A Throwback to Childhood that includes Beautiful Dreamy Dresses

Even though Disney's animated movie "Cinderella" is not Red Dot Diva's favourite fairy tale princess, it still brought back happy childhood memories when dreams were simpler and untainted by adult cynicism.

The live-action movie directed by Kenneth Branagh, and starring the wispy Lily James (from "Downtown Abbey") as Cinderella and the dashing Richard Madden ("Game of Thrones") as Prince Charming, is a lush production that fills up the screen with so much details, that it wouldn't take much effort to imagine that one might indeed be actually be living in the imaginary kingdom.

One of the best things to soak your eyeballs in during the movie are the costumes. Naturally, every "little girl at heart" wants to be dazzled by the iconic blue ballgown that Cinderella wears to the ball, and rest assured, they shall not be disappointed.

The bigger than life dress has been brought to life on screen by the hands and brains of Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell. Red Dot Diva thought the gown's shade of blue seemed to have a life of its own as warm studio/candlelight bounced off the flow of ruffles, little Swarovski crystals and butterfly detailing around the neckline. It was magical indeed.

Although, being a big fan of evil characters, Red Dot Diva thinks the baddies actually get to strut around with much more eye-catching costumes. Case in point - Cinderella's step-mother, deliciously embodied by the incandescent Cate Blanchett, where every scheming smirk, every flash of envy and sarcasm-dripped remark is made while she was dressed in green-hued clothes and fancy head-dresses like this:

It's a bummer that fans in Red Dot Island are not so lucky as those in London. The folks there are treated to an exhibition of the actual costumes used for the "Cinderella" movie. But fear not, we can still make magic from what little we have.

As part of the promotion for the movie, Disney Singapore has collaborated with Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and Swarovski Singapore to produce 4 pieces Cinderella-Inspired Dresses. NAFA student and designer Erica Devi Handika, did a grand job in making these dresses, painstakingly hand-sewing some 2,000 over crystals sponsored by the local Swarovski company.

Red Dot Diva was at the runway fashion show held at 313@Somerset on 7 March afternoon, where the four dresses were unveiled to a crowd of mostly excited young girls and their moms.

And although the very pretty blue Cinderella-inspired one was sparkly and dreamy.....

.... Red Dot Diva can't help but love the mermaid-styled emerald green one for Evil Stepmother much much more.

The dresses were put on display for about a week at 313@Somerset, before they are placed at their current spots at Kallang Wave Mall atrium till 29 March. Red Dot Diva is not sure if the gleaming glass slipper will be there as well, but in case you want to take a look at one of the replicas, head down to the wall space just between the Orchard MRT and ION.

Here's a pic of the glass slipper while it was at 313@Somerset.

Other than the dresses on the female characters, Red Dot Diva thought Prince Charming's coats were also stunning. They seemed simple enough but the elaborate gold/ silver threading (Diva also read that there were also Swarovski crystals sewn on them!) and cut also added the right dash of regal masculinity. Best of all, the glimpse of blues from baby blue to turquoise here and there served to enhance Richard Madden's own bright blue peepers on screen. So much so, that Red Dot Diva found it extremely difficult to take her eyes off them!

"Cinderella" is a delightful, visually opulent and slightly modern re-telling of the Disney's own animated film. Admittedly, there were some parts which were bland, mostly when Lily James as the titular character was being the good and kind girl that she was brought up to be. So, it is a good thing whenever Ms. James was able to show that Cinderella is not a mere victim but is in fact, an outspoken person with a lot of inner strength and honesty.

Thankfully, Prince Charming turned out to be not as much of a dud as Red Dot Diva had feared. Richard Madden's handsome boyish looks was awfully distracting but he is a decent actor. His portrayal of Prince Kit was also the heart of the movie, where scenes of Prince Kit and his father, the ailing King, turned out to be very moving. This Prince was definitely a much better catch than the egoistical royal (Chris Pine) singing his heart out at the other recent Disney fairy tale movie, "Into The Woods"!

And instead of the let's just fall head over heels, love at first sight moments, there are sweet, romantic long pauses in the scenes between Cinderella and Prince Kit, which made their growing relationship more believable.

Helena Bonham Carter seemed to have loads of fun being Fairy Godmother, and so did Holliday Grainger (remember her as Lucrezia from "The Borgias"?) and Sophie McShera who played the two insipid yet exhuberent step-sisters. But it was Cate Blanchett who was especially wonderful to behold - her nuanced gestures or spot-on phrases betraying the real intentions and true feelings of Lady Tremaine. Some would have expected Ms. Blanchett to ham it up more as the Evil Stepmother, but Red Dot Diva thought her steely performance spoke volumes.

"Cinderella" is the type of movie that gives many adult women a probably much-needed happy throwback to childhood, when each inner little girl held fantasies of walking through a grand castle ballroom adorned in dreamy dresses and glass slippers.... or having cute little hungry mousies as besties. In these day and age where the world's affairs tends to get ugly, the movie does its own special magic by making cynical Red Dot Diva have just a little more faith in humanity once more with its mantra "Have Courage and Be Kind".

And she thinks, that by itself, is not such a bad thing.

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