A new trailer for the live-action version of “Cinderella” has arrived, and we’re totally enchanted by the visuals, which manage to bring fairy-tale imagery to life. We’re also keen to see more of this incarnation of the iconic Disney princess, who seems to have a fiercer will than her predecessors, declaring, “I will protect the Prince from you, no matter what becomes of me.” A Cinderella who isn’t a doormat? Yes, please. (Director Kenneth Branagh promised last week that his movie won’t be “about a man rescuing a woman.”)
This new spot for “Cinderella” appears as though this version of the beloved chimney sweeper, played by “Downton Abbey” actress Lily James, will continue Disney’s streak of offering female protagonists who do more — and live for more — than merely waiting for their prince to come save them. The first scene featured in the trailer shows Cinderella meeting Prince Charming (played by the suitably dreamy Richard Madden from “Game of Thrones”), but she chides him for participating in hunting practices that frighten animals. So it isn’t quite love at first sight — thank god. (Again, from Branagh: “They get to know each other and the seeds of a romance are sewn in terms of equality.”)
We also get to see a lot of footage of Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother. Blanchett is luminous as ever — but this time, her immense wattage radiates evil. At one point, Blanchett even cackles after putting her “ragged servant girl” of a stepdaughter in her place. (She probably had the most fun out of anyone during production.)
In recent years, two Disney classics have been revised with very lucrative results: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” became “Snow White and The Huntsman” earned enough to get a sequel (though the star of the first, Kristen Stewart, won’t appear in it,) while “Sleeping Beauty” transformed into the origin story of villainess “Maleficent” and became the eighth highest-grossing film of 2014. These reboots were notable not only for their box-office success but for considerably more progressive representations of gender — a trend that also includes “Frozen,” of course.
The new “Cinderella” involves lots of magic, sparkly dresses, and dancing. But like “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “Maleficent,” this original rags-to-riches tale is also keeping up with the times — the only way she’ll survive the 21st century.
“Cinderella” will open March 13.