I'm not sure where this dislike of a modern adaption of Cinderella is coming from because A) nothing in this article alluded to it being at all modern or set in present day and B) wait, what? We're okay with like the whole damsel in distress needing a prince to save her from her mundane life narrative? Am I too far gone now? Have I reached the point of no return of not even being able to look up movie news without feeling impacted by latent sexism?
The answer to that question is probably yes. But that's not entirely a bad thing. Before I go any further, I want to point out that I'm not condemning the people who made these comments; this isn't about them personally as I certainly don't know them. But I don't want it to look like I'm attacking these individuals; perhaps they didn't mean their comments the way I am interpreting them. However, there's a reason I'm interpreting them as I am, not because of who they are but because of what they said. Which is unfortunate for them.
This obviously has nothing to do with the comments on this article, but it did help fuel my reaction to it. I can understand that people are tired of new retellings of the same old story and always needing a different spin on things but... that's kind of what storytelling is. As Umberto Eco states (who I'm quoting from Janice Radway's Reading the Romance: myths are "'almost always the story of something which had already happened and of which the public was aware...' Therefore," Radway adds, "the act of retelling the same myth functioned as the ritual reaffirmation of fundamental cultural beliefs and collective aspirations" (Radway 198). Although it's more blatantly obvious in film right now because remakes that are very much like the original are being made, everything is influenced by something else and we like to hear the same stories being told. I don't hear objections to adaptions of Jane Austen novels. No one ever demands that there be no more Shakespeare retellings or revivals. So why all the backlash against the Cinderella film?
Well, the comments about "murdering a classic" and so on... Why did have to write that? Of all things, that? And original times? Are we talking the era the original animated Disney film was made? The Ever After retelling set in the 1700s or so? The setting of the animated film (the specific historical time frame of which I quite clear on because it didn't matter when I was five)? I care less about the era its in but the message it conveys... and "murdering a classic"... well, to put this bluntly, maybe it deserves to be murdered.
Let's get this straight: I grew up on Disney. I am a rather well-adjusted adult. I like Disney films. But to utterly honest, I never, ever liked the films Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella. They had the least amount of stuff going on with the protagonists, the princes just kind of showed up and really didn't have a lot of depth, and the stories reinforced pretty obvious ideals. Snow White is the quintessential 50s housewife. Cinderella is the woman who's prided on her looks and gets a chance with the prince because she's good-looking (and a whole bunch of stuff about materialism, I'm sure), and Sleeping Beauty... if you can't see what's wrong and creepy with this story, then I can't help you. Also, if you've never looked up some of the more grisly versions of Sleeping Beauty, I encourage you to do so, only because it's terrifying and the adaptation of these tales is fascinating and worrisome.
Long story short is I don't really see the issue in adapting Cinderella to a more feminist storyline. Unless you have an issue with feminism. And then you might want to reconsidering some things. Fairytales retell and reaffirm certain aspects of our society and often these are sexist and misogynistic elements. Why not adapt them so they, you know, don't do this, and allow girls to feel good about themselves, as well as allowing boys to be something more than just "charming"... some personality and a back story would be nice, thanks. So by all means, Kenneth Branagh, please - feel free to make it feminist. I'll be utterly elated if you do.
This concludes feminist post number two zillion and twelve. Well, we did have anything on feminism for a while - it was about time.
Also, there's a retelling I've just come across called Cinder where Cinderella is a cyborg. Um... YES. I'm going to have to check this out...