Questioning Everything Disney Little To Much

Cinderella Inspection

Alrighty! I am having a hard time ripping video footage of Disney’s Cinderella because the all-mighty Disney is a step ahead. There is anti-burning properties on the re-release, special-edition discs, which is completely understandable. Therefore, I am going to display my thoughts here and just find an alternative method for my video project.

Time to just dive right in!

In the very beginning, it is explained how Cinderella’s mother dies, and her father felt is was in Cinderella’s best interest to have a replacement mother. I can understand this premise to some extent. I mean, he can be the best father in the world but it is close to impossible to teach Cinderella how to be a woman, since  of course, he is not a woman. Or may be the situation is deeper. May be the father worked all day and Cinderella was left alone. As you can see from the screenshot, Cinderella is definitely not poor, but she is nowhere close to being as rich as the king. So, I do see a slight justification to why the father shopped around for a new wife, but on an emotional level this is the recipe for disaster. Cinderella’s mother just died, and instead of the father adjusting to the life of a widow and being strong for Cinderella, he decides to bury the past – literally – and moved on to marry Lady Tremaine.

Lady Tremaine is a stern woman with two daughters of her own. What happen to her children’s father is never explained, but does conjure up more suspense for her character because it is revealed that Lady Tremaine despises Cinderella. We are talking about a devilish type of hate. She cannot stand the thought that Cinderella is so naturally beautiful. Cinderella, being so naive, couldn’t even fathom the thought of anyone being jealous of her, so when the father died and left her in the demon pit,  Cinderella simply accepted her new life with her step family.  Of course, this raises up more questions about the father.

I can understand wanting to find a new bride, but why pick Tremaine? I’m sure she was nice at first. I know there are people who are masters of deception, but one thing is clear. It is extremely difficult to hide your true self for long. It comes out in clues. For example, I’m sure if Cinderella came into the room, Lady Tremaine would give her a specific look. A look designed just for her. Why wouldn’t the father pick up on these subtleties?  Kids are more keen on these situations, so why didn’t Cinderella pick up on them and tell her father? Okay two steps have to happen before I can move on with my analysis. First, stop making excuses (or filling in huge plot holes) for the father. Second, analyze Cinderella’s beauty as power because it is. Beauty, power, perception are all inter-related. Cinderella’s power will win her a Disney ending.

It was no time when we see Cinderella in her life of heavy chores and heavy demands. Of course, this is set up so you feel a sense of sympathy and side with the protagonist…or at least thank the heavens that you’re not in her situation; (this is a taste of how the step sisters think). However if you really challenge what you see, you’ll catch that Cinderella is very strong minded. She cooks full course meals for four people including a cat, she cleans the entire house (which includes upstairs, downstairs, at kitchen, four bedrooms, a barn, and so much more!), and she babysits the animals in the barn. She does all this, and still manages to stay grounded. This is what Lady Tremaine especially despised. She wants to see Cinderella burn because Tremaine is a weak woman.

By the way…

There is a bunch of mice sprinkled throughout the movie to, I guess,  liven the mood….AHHHHHHH! Okay, breathe! It’s for the kids….kids of the 50s. Moving on!

Unlike the mice, the cat and the dog actually serve a purpose to understanding the story. The cat is the pet of Lady Tremaine’s and of course carries her attributes. Just like her master, the cat clearly does not like Cinderella yet loves what Cinderella can offer her. (This is one of the many reasons why Tremaine is weak, but I don’t want to waste time dissecting her since this article is an attempt to better understand Cinderella). The dog is the pet of Cinderella’s, and you guessed it! He carries Cinderella’s attributes. Much like the dog, Cinderella has this odd sense of loyalty. Why do I say this? Hello! The light are out, everyone’s asleep – runaway and never turn back. She must know the neighborhood and the people in it since she grew up there. Run! But she doesn’t. Cinderella stays put. She accepts her life even though she is now very aware that she becomes a slave. Oh yes! You must remember that Lady Tremaine is living in Cinderella’s house. Cinderella’s loyalty is tied to taking care of her house, where all her memories lay…

Even though Cinderella is able to stay grounded through her blind yet loyal obligations, she still feels the depression that she should feel. Notice the color scheme when she is looking out her window at the castle. Her location is very dark and almost haunting. The castle is very bright and colorful. This doesn’t mean that the castle is a wonderful and peaceful sanctuary. It just means that Cinderella perceives the castle to be a wonderful and peaceful sanctuary, which is why she makes it her dream to visit one day.

Cinderella gets her wish. With the help of her fairy god mothers, she is able to get all dressed up and go to the ball at the palace. Of course, the Prince takes a liking to her, because as I mentioned before, Cinderella is a strong mind -well  metaphorically speaking. The Prince is attracted to her uniqueness. Cinderella admires the Prince has well, but I get this feeling that her attraction to the Prince is no different from the other women in town. She is attracted to the fantasy that the Prince can offer, but regardless! Cinderellas knows that marriage is her golden ticket to happiness…or is it?

Let me take a detour for a moment before we reach the conclusion. It is clear that Cinderella fears her step mother. One look from Lady Tremaine, and Cinderella falls into submission. It is my belief that Tremaine did something very traumatic to Cinderella…well beyond the psychological abuse. I’ll let you use your imagination to what happened, but the fact is Cinderella is petrified by her step mother. Therefore, she makes sure she marries the Prince. You’ll notice in the ending that Cinderella will  stopped at nothing to try on the glass slipper. In Cinderella’s mind, the Prince is her only way out of her hell.

So does Cinderella finally have her Happy-Ever-After? In Disney terms, she does. In actuality, this question is up for debate! The fact is, Cinderella went from one supporting role to another. In her marriage, she doesn’t have to cook or clean or complete any other household chores. Now she as other pressures. She is in the public’s eye because of the Prince. She is expected to maintain the traditions of the royal family and maintain a strong image for the political  gain. This is not pleasing. After all, Princess Diana was rebellious for a reason. Basically, Cinderella seems to have sacrificed her individuality for a slightly better life. But her sympathy card has run dry since she chose this life.

Overall Nostalgic Impressions:

I surprisingly enjoyed this film. I popped the movie in the Blu-Ray player expecting to dread it, but no! I even found myself in a trance as I watched Cinderella’s character slowly develop around itself. This is the big shock because I HATE Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It is my least favorite Disney film simply because I hard to watch Beast interact with both Belle and her father. However, Cinderella was tolerable. It could be because the movie is short and vague and someone like me, who bursting with creative analysis, can make story to fill in the gaps. Hmmmm, I wonder….

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