Starring: Chosen Jacobs, Lexi Underwood,and Deyvn Nakoda.
Directed By: Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum
Where i Watched It: Disney Plus
English Audio Description Available: Yes
Narration By?: So, Disney put the break to send me onto a new title right after the names were announced. But that’s not the major problem. I don’t want to disrespect those that wrote and narrated by attempting to spell their names. if anyone is more familiar with them, but I honestly didn’t even know where to start with those names.
The Plot: It’s Cinderella, except it’s not. Cinderella is now El (Jacobs), a teenager who is deep into sneaker culture, also because he works as a stock boy in his stepdad’s shoe shop. His mom, like all good Cinderella’s, is dead. And instead of evil or ugly stepsisters, he’s saddled with bully stepbrothers. Oh, and they gave El a human best friend, Sammie (Nakoda). But when El runs in to the daughter (Underwood) of a shoe mogul and sparks fly, his dreams of one day designing sneakers might just become a reality. Seems like this dude needs a fairy Godmother. No? Oh. Well, I suppose that random dude will suffice.
What Works: This film is light and fluffy as a pancake. The cast is charming, the plot is interesting since people apparently refuse to stop making Cinderella movies. It’s been less than a year since Camilla Cabello put her stamp on this tired tale as old as time, and now Chosen Jacobs (from It) has the honor.
He does so with a score that fills itself full of rap, hip hop, and pop music, plus a new spin on A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes. It’s all auto tuned to ever loving hell, but everything is nowadays. You can’t avoid it. This is a lot of auto tune though. I’ll say that.
The music is very Lin Manuel Miranda inspired, though clearly not his. Just someone trying to mimic the style. You and your kids willl have fun watching something that actively is trying to be different, and show a completely new spin, full of life and diversity. It’s very much not your average Cinderella Story, and for a straight to Disney Plus film, it’s better than I expected. I actually understand the low IMDB score, because that’s about what I was projecting before I watched it. And while the film is far from perfect, it was a nice way to spend the time, and oddly enough put a smile on my face.
What Doesn’t Work: The step brothers are too goofy and cartoonishly evil to be taken seriously in this film.. Not that this film is rooted in reality, but you’ll understand what I’m saying if you see the film. Also, near the end, when El is being berated by Mr King, that whole setup and execution lost me. The father came off as far too stupid to listen to the two asshats El has for stepbrothers. And then El never pushed back with any truth, and just sat there. Whatever.
Plus, auto tune annoys the shit out of me. Just cast people who can sing. They are out there. I promise you.
The Blind Perspective: I enjoyed this narration because it did a few things I felt were fresh and new. it let me know when we were about to launch into a song, and also when the character pops up on the screen, who serves as the narrator, the description connects the narrator to that character for us. It’s really helpful, and on top of that, it does a great job describing all the fantasy elements, like the shoelaces tying themselves together, and other impossibilities.
Final Thoughts: I’ve never let others dictate my grading, one way or the other, and I’m not going to start now. There’s a foot for every shoe, or something like that. And while I’ll admit this isn’t the best Cinderella adaptation, nor is it a great one, it was fun, and I think kids and parents will enjoy this. It’s certainly no worse than any other musical that’s Ben pushed out into the world by Disney Channel.
Final Grade: B+