When You Wish Upon a Star: Cinderella

While being self-quarantined, we are all looking for different ways to occupy ourselves. I have decided to watch all the theatrically released Disney animated films offered to me on Disney+, in order. Of course I can’t just let that be it, so I will be writing a little something about each of them.

As we move through this world we are forced to make changes, pivot, and adapt to an unwelcomed event. I believe this is something most of us understand all too well at the moment. It is important to have to go through such things as they can help us grow and make our next phases better. Disney animation had to pivot and they adapted, and in doing so they learned something that they used to help their next feature, Cinderella.

In an effort to stay afloat while dealing with war time demands, Disney animation created films comprised of several shorter segments rather than one full length story. That was a recap for anyone who skipped the last episode.

Disney animation took that idea of multiple stories and melded it to help expand the relatively short tale of Cinderella. The basic story of Cinderella can be told fairly quickly, especially if you have to cut out the gruesome stuff of the original like foot mutilation, and even if you pad the story with all the bullshit her cunty step-sisters put her through.

So they stuck in several scenes involving mice fucking with a cat. Like a less violent Tom and Jerry, and if Jerry had his extended family around and they were all proficient in home economics. The scenes all help the story, yet they could be taken out and exist as their own story with just a minimal amount of tweaking. I didn’t remember how much of the mice stuff was in this movie.

Usually I have a recap of the story before this point, but I was fascinated with all the mouse shit. Also, not totally sure the story requires a recap. It’s a pretty well-known tale. What I would really like to talk about is how Cinderella, the character, has become one of my top Disney characters.

I will fully admit my short coming and toxic masculinity in dismissing this movie under the guise that it’s a “chick story.” That thinking was and still is wrong. I thought it was just a story about love, and Cinderella becomes a princess (spoiler) and therefore my dude ego was told to ignore it. But I now know the errors of my ways. It’s really a story about being true to who you are, and rising up to surprise anyone who counted against you. So spending too many years never thinking twice about this movie I missed out on this character who has many traits I find admirable and wish to possess myself.

Cinderella is in a shit position after the world has shit on her and continues to spew its diarrhea. She never lets that change her demeanor. Despite it all she will not be another person pushing vitriol into the ether. The opening narration even tells us she remained ever gentle and kind. She expresses a deep gratitude for the brief joy she got to experience at the ball. That’s what I want to be, a vessel for kindness and love. The one who appreciates that joy for existing, and not lament the shortness of its existence.

Even when it looks like Cinderella has reached a breaking point and tells us she’s fucking done, her fairy godmother shows up and tells her that’s not true. No matter how close Cinderella is to telling the world to fuck right off, there’s a part of her that will never let her go full dark side.

What a rad ass lady.

It’s revelations like this that have really made me excited about this little quest I’m on. I’m not sure I would have watched Cinderella otherwise. I’m excited to continue on to see what I can learn about myself and the world from other Disney classics like Home on the Range.

Other Thoughts:

  • Step-mothers really get a bad rap in many of these stories.
  • The king wants his son to marry so he can have grand kids. You don’t hear that enough from dudes. Way to eschew gender roles.
  • How come everyone seems to be ok with the notion of a fairy godmother even though it never shows up in any other story ever? Cinderella doesn’t even bat an eye about it. Was this a thing back in, whoa holy shit, this story can be traced back to 7 BC Greece. Some versions involve a magical fish. Some French dude in 1697 created the fairy godmother aspect. He was the one also responsible for the pumpkin and glass slippers. Basically the story we know today is because of Charles Perrault.
  • I don’t know if there’s a name for that Goofy scream, like Wilhelm Scream, but maybe I should keep track of that. It’s in this movie when the king falls from the chandelier.
  • When I was a kid, the Fairy Godmother always made me think of Angela Lansbury. Also as an adult I think this.

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