Suddenly, Disney’s upcoming live action version of Beauty and the Beast is looking like a very wise move. After all, their new take on Cinderella shook the box office out of the doldrums, launching with numbers that feel more at home with the summer than March. Yes, it even took down that might spring movie season titan Liam Neeson.
The name “Disney” brings to mind images of fair princesses, charming princes, magical fairy tales, and simple happily ever afters. In recent years, though, Disney has begun rethinking their classic properties, and releasing more thematically complex versions of their famous films. Sleeping Beauty became Maleficent, which turned a wicked witch into a sympathetic anti-hero; a whole mess of fairy tales turned into Into the Woods, where happily ever after preceded a whole bunch of death and tragedy. The ranks of Disney Princesses grew to include women like Merida, the bow-slinging heroine of Brave, and Anna and Else from Frozen, who rescued each other from an prince, rather than the other way around. Every value and concept that Disney had established and reinforced through decades of repetition was seemingly up for reconsideration and revision.
If the prospect of a new live-action version of Cinderella wasn’t enticing enough, the new Disney film is opening with a special added attraction: “Frozen Fever,” a short sequel to Frozen, the most popular movie (and most dastardly earworm) of 2013. And here I thought “Frozen fever” was a mental illness that made kids sing “Let It Go” over and over again until their parents begged for the sweet release of death. My mistake.
Disney’s big kick right now is revisionist versions of classic fairy tales. ‘Sleeping Beauty’ became ‘Maleficent,’ a sympathetic look at the supposedly “evil” witch. Last Christmas’ ‘Into the Woods’ followed numerous fairy tales to find the unhappy endings after their “happily ever after.” Even ‘Frozen’ reconfigured numerous classic fairy tale tropes (the handsome price was secretly [SPOILER ALERT] the bad guy, and the film’s true love story was actually between a pair of sisters). What’s most surprising about Disney’s new live-action ‘Cinderella’ is how unsurprising it looks; it seems totally unlike those films in its old-school vibe.
Disney On Ice: Princesses And Heroes is headed back to Evansville's Ford Center February 19th-22nd! May of your favorite movies will be represented including Cinderella, Beauty And The Beast, The Little Mermaid, and for the first time in Evansville, FROZEN! Check out some of the behind the scenes action for this awesome show!