Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Have Courage and Be Kind"

My wife took me on a date last night. She had movie passes for earning points from hall duty at the Jr. High where she teaches. She invited our boy to go with his "friend" as it was Family Night and he came up and asked if we should see Cinderella or Insurgent. I said, "It's a date! You go see Cinderella." I think he'll be fine with some missionary experience coming up.

Both Vanity Fair and I seemed a little surprised at how good it was:
"So Cinderella, a woman whose strategy is to outlast the enemy through dignified, peaceful resistance, is thoroughly fascinating. While on the surface Weitz's Cinderella looks like a throwback to her 1950s sister, she could be perceived to possess an admirably modern source of strength—with bullying in the media spotlight more than ever, the resilience Cinderella shows in the face of abuse may be a more useful model for today’s kids than Katniss with her bow and arrow."
The movie was near perfect. Cinderella did not come off as sugary-sweet but was as attractive and as genuinely admirable as they come. It may even be the harsh reality of digital high-definition that lets you see her moles and other skin imperfections up close. Still, they did not diminish her beauty and the magic of Disney which was at its special-effects best. CGI is so seamless these days (unlike the days of Jar-Jar Binks), that it is hard to tell where the line is between what's real and the technological magic.

I think the secret of this production was the strength of supporting characters and the directing of Kenneth Branaugh. With people like Derek Jacobi and Helena Bonham Carter, it was almost Shakespearean. Bonham Carter makes a great Fairy Godmother in extreme contrast to her Bellatrix Lestrange of Harry Potter nightmares. And Cate Blanchett was certainly not a physically ugly step-mother. She was strikingly regal in her cruel manipulations.

So while I have always enjoyed the mice of Disney's cartoon version (about the only part I like), last night I nearly fell in love with a fairy-tale princess (I have my own at home, thank you). And the oft-repeated theme "have courage and be kind," was simply a rephrasing of a favorite theme of mine "Faith, Hope, and Charity." It does take courage and kindness, a never-ending Quest for me.

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