Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time Review
Â Theme Song by Brian Setzer and owned by Walt Disney Records
Disney sequels are a phenomena in the Disney legacy that can send even the most die hard Disney fan into uncontrollable rage. They have become the epitome of the phrase â€œOh how the mighty have fallenâ€. For a film company that was once and in some respects is still considered the best in animation to stoop to such lazy, contrived, and destructive sequels hurts the fans deeply. Donâ€™t even get me started on Mermaid 2. I had Ariel over for dinner the other night and when I even hinted at bringing up that film this was her response.
Yeah sheâ€™s not fond of that movie either.
Now there are Disney sequels that are good or competent. Theyâ€™re not as good as the original of course, but are still enjoyable such as Mermaid 3 and Return of Jafar. Now in 2007 someone had the bright idea to make a sequel that completely retcons the ending to one of the studioâ€™s most beloved movies. The classic Cinderella. Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time is a very odd animal. Itâ€™s funny and entertaining, but is so destructive to its source material and characters that the only way I can stomach it is if this is in an alternate universe. Now that Disney owns Marvel I hope that on the Blu Ray release of this movie (if at all) that the Watcher from the Marvel universe appears and introduces this what if story. When viewed from the perspective of an alternate universe the character assassinations can be seen as different upbringings and personality traits from the normal universe versions of our characters. An entertaining movie that BARELY makes the cut as a competent sequel.
The story is one of the most hated aspects of the film because the whole premise is based on the idea of Lady Tremaine obtaining the Fairy Godmotherâ€™s magic wand and reversing time so that the classic story can end with everything going Lady Tremaineâ€™s way and having Cinderella go through a series of very contrived misadventures along with faithful mice friends Jaq and Gus to reclaim the wand and undo Lady Tremaineâ€™s evil plans. Now youâ€™re probably wondering â€œhow did Lady Tremaine get the wand in the first place?â€ Well that is the stupidest thing. During the 1 year anniversary of Cinderella and the princeâ€™s marriage the Fairy Godmother is waving her arms in excitement and the wand flies out of her sleeve right in front of Anastasia who brings it back to the house and shows it to Lady Tremaine and thatâ€™s when she reverses time to the moment the Grand Duke arrived with the slipper. Iâ€™m not screwing with you thatâ€™s really what happens! I thought Little Mermaid 2 was contrived, but this takes the cake. Anyway Cinderella realizes that she must carry on and tries to convince the prince that sheâ€™s the one while trying to get the wand back and get a belated happily ever after. It amazes me how much this film doesnâ€™t understand its original at all. This film is under the pretense that Cinderella achieved her goal because of magic alone and how raw effort and fighting is needed to achieve a dream. On a literal level okay fine, but on a thematic, metaphorical and subtextual level NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The magic of the Fairy Godmother represents the same thing the Blue Fairy does for Gepetto itâ€™s symbolic of the fact that because these people have led lives filled with kindness, love and good morals and attitudes that they are emotionally and spiritually worthy of their dreams coming true and triumphing over those that value selfishness, vanity and jealousy. This film doesnâ€™t get that at all! This philosophical difference was handled much better in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep because it was handled with understanding of these themes and characters. But this film goes into this pretentious theme that true love is more powerful than magic yet when the Prince is under Lady Tremaineâ€™s memory altering spell he doesnâ€™t recognize Cinderella even when their hands touch!!!!! Even though the contact does create interference with the spell it doesnâ€™t outright break it and prove their own theme at all!!!!!!! This movie has to defy its OWN themes to make the concept work!!!!!!!!!!! WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!
The characters in this movie are far worse than the story. The charming characters of the original universe are not to be found here. Here we get clichÃ© archetypes that are not expanded in any interesting way along with personalities completely different from that of the original universe.
LADY TREMAINE: voiced by Susan Blakeslee:
I have mixed feelings about Lady Tremaine. While she is still very sinister and the â€œBitch Factorâ€ has been raised to the absolute maximum levels part of what made the character great to begin with is gone. What made the character in general great was that she didnâ€™t need magical powers to be an excellent villain. In fact it showed that evil can come from oneâ€™s own cruelty and jealousy and barbarism regardless of abilities. By giving her the magic wand this idea and uniqueness of the character is gone, but since this is an alternate universe I can get over it okay despite the fact that itâ€™s not a good idea. Susan Blakeslee still does an excellent job as the modern voice of Lady Tremaine!
FAIRY GODMOTHER: voiced by Russi Taylor:
I think the biggest character assassination is the Fairy Godmother. This movie makes this universeâ€™s Fairy Godmother completely incompetent and stupid to the point where I swear Martin Short in â€œA Simple Wishâ€ would have been a more responsible and wiser Fairy Godmother. Thatâ€™s just sad. As I recall in the original universe that Fairy Godmother was responsible enough to hide her wand in a pocket dimension and was such a great reveal to the cleverness and awesomeness of the original universe Fairy Godmother. Also one would think that they would be able to counteract spells used against them and be immune to petrification and being turned into statues, but whatever this universe is doing whatever it wants. You know what would be funny if after this movie ended the society of Fairy Godmothers fired her for her incompetence and irresponsibility and she came back as Kathleen Turner in â€œA Simple Wishâ€. Yeah I saw the Nostalgia Criticâ€™s review.
PRINCE CHARMING: voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes:
The Princeâ€™s role has expanded in this universe, but heâ€™s not really any more interesting than he was in the original universe. Heâ€™s smarter than his other universe counterpart Iâ€™ll give him that because he points out the loopholes in the proclamation and does recognize key features like hair and eye color and body figure and facial features to determine the slipper candidateâ€™s identity from being someone who coincidentally fits to the actual maiden. Christopher Danile Barnes is good as Prince Charming and does even capture some of the classic stupidity of the princes and has fun with it.
ANASTASIA: voiced by Tress MacNeille:
Anastasia is probably the only character that isnâ€™t ruined. Her portrayal is simply a needlessly longer version of her development in Cinderella 2 (which is never mentioned here so I assume that this is an alternate universe and 2 here never happened). She just wants someone to love her and believes that magic is the only way she can get even a semblance of love. It would have been better and more interesting if the film showed how it wasnâ€™t magic, but attitudes and morals that make one worthy of the magicâ€™s help for Anastasia. Tress MacNeille does a very good job as Anastasia and brings the same redemptive qualities as in Cinderella 2.
CINDERELLA: voiced by Jennifer Hale:
Now I know I donâ€™t talk about Cinderella with as much reverence, respect and love as I do with Ariel or Belle, but I love the character of Cinderella. What I love about Cinderella is her kindness, grace, subtlety, and maturity. What I really dislike is that they made this universeâ€™s Cinderella a spunky underdog with determination levels way too high for the character that was established. One of the great things about the original universeâ€™s Cinderella was that she was a very different type of underdog. Most underdog stories deal with superiority, resentment and vengeance against oppressors and subjugation while Cinderella is more about overcoming the aforementioned by kindness and living a life of good morals and good deeds never losing hope that opportunities could arrive where she can assert her status of nobility and get out. Cinderella is simply a lover and not a fighter. Ariel on the other hand is both a lover and fighter, but she leans more toward fighter so with her itâ€™s not out of line to have Ariel be a badass with Cinderella it most certainly is. This movie doesnâ€™t understand that at all and turns her into the clichÃ© fighting underdog thatâ€™s not interesting and while the chase and action scenes are good and well done it just doesnâ€™t jive with the memory of the other universeâ€™s Cinderella. Jennifer Hale does do a very good job and I just noticed something that with Christopher Daniel Barnes as the Prince this is a Spider-man the Animated Series reunion!!! Barnes played Spider-man on that show and Jennifer Hale played Felicia Hardy/ Black Cat on that show! Awesome!!!
Oh boy!!!!!! The songs are not good at all!!!! They are complete sequel clichÃ© tripe. No effort was put into these whatsoever. I will admit some of the lead ins are pretty funny especially the one where Jaq and Gus think the prince is so stupid that he canâ€™t understand an organized point by point explanation of his memory alteration so Gus asks what theyâ€™re going to do and they end up singing a song. Another thing I think is worth noting is I hate how self aware this movie is. The characters actually acknowledge fairy tales and the fact that songs were sung and it just ruins the dignified and timeless and magical atmosphere the original universe was going for. Here are the songs now.
Perfectly Perfect Year
Much More Than a Dream
At the Ball
The animation for a Disney sequel is quite good. It has nice colors and the animation while not of film quality is good and gets the job done. Now after all this bashing and criticism and comparisons to the original universe why did I actually say that this is a destructive yet decent sequel? Well the fact is that this is an alternate universe and they can do these different things that would normally never fly in the original universe. Whether it is destructive or not it is still interesting what the characters are going to do in this new status quo. From that we get really good scenes especially with Anastasia. The scene with Anastasia and the King is very nice and sweet despite the fact the king is out of character. The chase and action scenes are genuinely suspenseful and well done and there are some really funny lines and scenes as well. We may hate the premise, but the inherent interest and curiosity of the characters adapting to a new status quo is interesting and makes this movie worth watching.Now here are some clips that I thought were pretty cool. Enjoy!
Cinderella and lady Tremaine Face Off
Reunion with the Prince
Cinderella Found Out
While its premise is stupid and destructive the fact that this takes place in an alternate universe and isnâ€™t canon is what saves this sequel. It generates interest through character adaptation and with genuinely heartfelt, funny and suspenseful scenes.
VERDICT: 3 Fairy Godmother statues out of 5
Join me next week where I review the first smash hit of the summer Marvelâ€™s the Avengers!!!!!! I know Iâ€™m late to the party here and my review will be extremely obvious!