Cinderella (2015) review

Lavish live-action remake backs up its traditional storytelling with sumptuous visuals

Following the box office success of both Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Maleficent (2014), Disney recently embarked on producing live-action remakes of some of its most beloved animated classics. While the idea of one day having to endure Tim Burton's Dumbo (yes, really) fills us with an unspeakable dread, the series has got off to a surprisingly strong start with this live-action retelling of Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Rather than go down the revisionist route taken by Maleficent, the reason that this film works so well is that offers such a sweet, good-natured and utterly traditional retelling of Disney's version of the fairly tale (there are no sliced off heels and toes here, boys and girls). Helping it along are a witty script and great performances from Lily James as the title character and Cate Blanchett as her stepmother. Supporting turns from Helena Bonham Carter (as the dippy fairy godmother) and Sophie McShera and Holliday Granger (Cinderella's cruel stepsisters) add to the fun. Meanwhile, the ornate sets and lavish costumes ensure that, while it won't replace the 1950 original in your affections, it's no ugly stepsister, either.

Picture: This Blu-ray's 2.40:1-framed 1080p presentation brings out the very best in Dante Ferretti's opulent production design and Sandy Powell's colourful costumes. Spin up Chapter 10 to see the wonders it works with Cinderella's magical transformation and stick around for the close-up of the fairy godmother's face as she tells Cinders about the midnight rule, the intricate detailing and sharpness clearly delineating each individual strand of hair. As hi-def viewing experiences go, this one is simply magical.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: The film's DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix may not offer anything that will really trouble your speakers, but this doesn't mean that it doesn't serve the film well enough. Dialogue is clean, the music is enveloping and there's a pleasing sense of space engendered by the use of ambient effects across the soundstage.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: Middling extras take the form of a trio of behind-the-scenes featurettes (A Fairy Tale Come to Life, Staging the Ball and Ella’s Furry Friends), costume test footage, a single deleted scene and the Frozen Fever animated short that preceded the film in cinemas. While the featurettes are too short to truly satisfy (the longest is a shade over 11 minutes), they still manage to uncover some interesting production details, such as the fact that Philips provided the ‘connected LED lighting’ use to add sparkle to Helena Bonham Carter’s dress. As the actress explains: ‘There’s about 20 batteries up my bum that Floris, who’s this lovely man from Philips, basically turns me on by a switch on my bum, and then he operates me remotely from his computer’. Now that’s real magic.
Extras rating: 2.5/5

We say: Spellbinding visuals make this unexpectedly charming live-action fairy tale worth a look on BD

Cinderella, Walt Disney, All-region BD, £25 Approx