A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animated, comic version of Cinderella is based only very loosely on the traditional fairy tale. The characters are assorted animals who play cowboys and cowgirls, pirates, and Russian royalty; there's even a spiritually guided shaman. The story takes place in the "American West" with many action sequences, battles, and slapstick fights that use an array of weapons (guns, cannons, swords). The unredeemable villains are mean-spirited, and name-calling is constant. Cinderella's time-honored plight at the whim of her stepmother and stepsisters loses center stage to kidnapping, piracy on desert sands, and mustache-twirling villains. An English-language version of a French film.
What's the story?
CINDERELLA 3D is an animated film (2012) set in the American West at a time of cowboys, Native Americans, and...pirates! It stars a variety of animals, both wild and domestic (dogs, monkeys, frogs, deer, birds of prey, and more). Cinderella is a feisty cowgirl, forced to do her evil stepmother Felicity's bidding. Felicity is the scourge of their isolated town; she rules with an iron fist and a sharp tongue. When Felicity learns that Prince Vladimir and his mother, The Duchess, will be coming through "Felicity City," she plots to hold a "ball" and marry off one of her despicable daughters to the prince. But, after the ball, during which the beautiful, unrecognized Cinderella enchants the dashing Vladimir, Felicity's plans are upended. The town is besieged by legions of pirate-monkeys from a bandit ship led through the desert by a villainous peglegged captain. In the battles that follow, only Cinderella, aided by her faithful guardian Little Cloud and the now-smitten prince, can save the town.
Is it any good?
Intended as comic, this effort is a mishmash of classic fairy-tale romance, parody, and action-adventure with lots of slapstick mayhem. The few funny moments are lost amid the silly, overly complicated story, arch bad guys, and barrage of name-calling, stereotypical dimwits, and mean-spirited behavior. It's colorful, and the characters are drawn in an original style, though some images of glowering villains may be scary for some kids. Passable at best for those who like lots of cartoon action.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss how this film differs from the traditional story. Though it's set in the past, how was the character of Cinderella more modern than in the original?
Why do you think the filmmakers made this an action film? What audience were they hoping to reach? Do you think boys would like this version better than the familiar story?
Use another classic fairy tale and plan or write your own version of it, setting it in a different time and place.
- On DVD or streaming: April 16, 2012
- Cast: Jessica Gee-George, Karen Strassman, Matt Mercer
- Director: Pascal Herold
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Fairy tales, Pirates
- Run time: 81 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some action, violence, brief mild language, and a smoking image
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.