Cinderella 2 Review
Oh boy! Today we look at a sequel to one of the most beloved Disney movies of all time the great Cinderella! The first one is an excellent film with creative effects, wonderful animation, excellent characters and storytelling and songs. This film saved Disney animation and Disney in general. The sequel while obviously not as good as the original does have its moments, but are they enough to make this a worthy addition to everyone’s favorite rags to riches story?
The story in this film is completely uneventful. It takes place about 1 to 2 years after the first movie and Jaq and Gus are late for an afternoon of storytime where the Fairy Godmother is reading to the mice the story of Cinderella. Which made me scratch my head because they lived it. In fact the story wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for them. Why is it such a big deal that they’re late for the reading of a story that they have lived? Makes no sense. Then the mice get a great idea that they make an anthology book filled with stories that took place before the beginning of this film. Unfortunately these vignettes aren’t all that interesting. There’s interesting things about them but the end result is rather forgettable.
Story 1: Aim to Please
This story takes place about a week or two after the first film. After Cinderella and the Prince get back from their honeymoon the Prince and the King have to go on a short diplomatic trip and that leaves Cinderella to plan a royal banquet with the limited experience to the royal way of living. Cinderella’s teacher in the ways of all things royal is a stern, snooty, conservative woman named Prudence and enforces nonsensical, foolish “traditions” of the kingdom and wants Cinderella to conform to these “traditions”. When I say nonsensical I mean that these traditions pretty much prevent the kingdom from running effectively. By banning commoners from the palace grounds how can commoners arrange an audience with their king so they can tell the king their grievances. In order for fuedalism to work the king needs to uphold his end of the fuedal contract by listening to the grievances of the peasantry and protect them economically and physically by completely banning them from the palace grounds this kingdom can’t possibly run! Another thing I didn’t understand is why the Grand Duke wasn’t Cinderella’s teacher. They halfassedly explain this by saying he’s incompetent, but the I think what matters more is that he already has a rapport with Cinderella. He knows her and he would be more accepting and patient and Cinderella would be more comfortable learning from him then with someone she doesn’t know. Makes no sense. Anyway Prudence’s conservative nature is driving Cinderella crazy and she decided to do things her way and the banquet is a success. It’s simple and actually has Cinderella as a main character (the other two stories she is demoted to supporting roles) The vignette doesn’t overstay its welcome and isn’t needlessly stretched out just to have the title character be in more scenes. The concept is also interesting because Cinderella never got to participate in any real formal events despite her noble blood. So she’s adjusting to the bigger version of the lifestyle she was deprived of because of her stepmother. Unfortunately the film settles for a cliche “follow your heart” theme that isn’t given any substance through a character study of how one adjusts to a new lifestyle and blending what makes you comfortable and tradition to shake things up. Unfortunately the next story is the worst of the bunch.
Story 2: Tall Tail
This story focuses on Jaq. Again we have a very nice concept because Jaq wants to be of assistance and to talk to her like he used to to Cinderella, but with her busy schedule and Jaq’s seemingly insignificant size he becomes very discouraged and asks the Fairy Godmother to make him human so that he can help and hang with Cinderella. This is interesting because Jaq would feel this way and he would go through some kind of crisis of friendship leading him to believe that his friendship with Cinderella is compromised because of her new position and his inadequacy to help her lately. Unfortunately we get forced whimsy that pretends to be so called “Disney magic”. Cinderella has no clue that Jaq is human and even though he has the opportunity to tell her a few times he doesn’t. He has difficulty adjusting to his new form and through an extremely predictable conclusion an event occurs that makes him realize his place is not a human, but a mouse. Again another failed opportunity. The dilemma is a legitimate one and it could have been handled much better. If Jaq had just told Cinderella about his situation we would have been treated to very sweet scene between Cinderella and Jaq to be honest with each other and rekindle their friendship. That’s the true Disney magic instead of the lazily animated and unimpressive magic sequences of the Fairy Godmother (was the budget really low or what? the original’s magic sequence was awesome here it’s lame) it’s the relationship and love that these two characters have for one another. Also Jaq’s human design is an Ichabod Crane clone.
Story 3: An Uncommon Romance
Now we actually take a look at my favorite of the three stories. It’s where Cinderella is going to buy the Prince some flowers in the town and she happens to see Anastasia falling in love with the Baker. Obviously Lady Tremaine doesn’t approve of the infatuation and forbids Anastasia from seeing him. Cinderella decides to help Anastasia and play matchmaker. In a terrible parallel story Jaq and Gus help Lucifer win the heart of the palace cat Pom Pom. I would have ditched the mouse story and focused on the Cinderella and her stepsister. The rest of the story is actually okay. Some would argue it takes the “evil” out of evil stepsister, but the thing is Anastasia as selfish and disagreeable as she could be knows what’s done is done and it’s clear that she is still jealous of Cinderella on a level, but doesn’t act upon that jealousy because there’s no point in it. Cinderella’s inherent kindness creates a willingness to help Anastasia. It was great to see the sisterly relationship that could have been between the two. This may not be as well thought out, emotional and meaningful as Iago’s redemption, but it still is a very competent redemption story for Anastasia. I think that if they focused on the two very different stepsisters with the theme of redemption and forgiveness this could have been great. I can proudly say that this film ends on a high note.
I’m not going to cover them because they’re all pretty 1 dimensional, but I will say the acting is great Jennifer Hale makes a great Cinderella and Rob Paulson does a great Jaq, Grand Duke and various other characters.
The score is okay, but the songs are terrible!!! Disney was in this phase where they believed the “hip and cool” thing was to have insert songs instead of having characters sing them. It kinda worked in Tarzan, but this is atrocious. Get ready to have your ears assaulted by the screams of death of a beloved classic here’s the mutilated Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo
I lower my standards when it comes to animation in sequels. The animation is as good as any typical animated sequel.
While not a good film it is not a bad film just a missed opportunity and great concepts that don’t really go anywhere. There really good things about this film and I believe those things should be celebrated. The only story worth watching in my opinion is the Anastasia story. It’s sweet and endearing. Join me next time where I review the beloved predecessor to Arkham City Batman: Arkham Asylum!
VERDICT: 3 boiled prunes out of 5