Cinderella, the 12th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, has found its way to Blu-ray with an impressive high-definition presentation and an extensive collection of bonus material.
An adaptation of Charles Perrault's “Cendrillion,” Disney's version opens with a prologue that reveals Cinderella's widowed father remarried Lady Tremaine, a woman with two girls about Cinderella's age, Anastasia and Drizella. When Cinderella's father died, the true, cruel nature of her stepmother and stepsisters was revealed, and she became their servant.
Cinderella is another Disney princess in tune with animals, such as the birds and the mice, because of her kindness towards them. She saves a mouse from a trap, gives him clothes and the nickname "Gus." He appears new to the goings-on in the house and fellow mouse Jaq takes him under his wing. The duo become co-leads of the film with the amount of screen time they get and their importance to the story's events. One example of the former is seen in an amusing sequence where the mice work to get breakfast while keeping out of the grasp of the stepsisters' mean cat, Lucifer.
Prince Charming is returning home and the King hopes to marry him off and get grandchildren. A ball is planned and every eligible maiden is ordered to attend, but Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters won't allow Cinderella to go.
Now it wouldn't be a fairy tale without a bit of magic, so just before Cinderella loses all hope, her Fairy Godmother appears and through her use of the magic words “Bibbidi bobbidi boo,” Cinderella is able to make a grand appearance at the ball. But she must be home by midnight when the magic wears off.
The prince is bored at the ball until Cinderella appears and they fall in love at first sight, as their duet "So This Is Love" reveals, but in the midst of the budding romance, the clock strikes 12. Cinderella races away and in her haste leaves behind a glass slipper, the only item not to return to its original state.
Prince Charming wants to marry the mystery woman so the Grand Duke goes in search of the maiden whose foot it fits. The stepmother locks Cinderella in her room, leaving viewers to wonder if things will end happily ever after.
Under the guidance of Walt, the Disney team does a marvelous job with the animation and music. I would have liked Cinderella to have been more involved in the story's outcome rather than being so passive. Her traits of kindness do indirectly contribute to the resolution, but if there's a Fairy Godmother, it seems odd she would wait so long to help the poor girl out.
The video has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC displayed with an aspect ratio on 1.33:1. For those who like to fill in the empty sides of your monitor, the Disneyview option, with artwork by Disney background painter Cristy Maltese, augments the scenes. The pristine, vivid hues are gorgeous and the blacks are deep and inky. Lines are as defined as the source allows. The image is free of grain and doesn't suffer from digital artifacts.
The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio Mono for the purists, but the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is the one to experience. It does a wonderful job immersing the viewer without coming across as an unnatural upgrade. At the outset, the song under the opening credits fills the surrounds. Dialogue is clear, though the effects on the mice voices may take a moment to get used. The elements blend well together, never overpowering one another.
Cinderella comes with quite a number of extras, though most are ported over from the 2005 Platinum Edition DVD. I was disappointed the disc didn't allow the introduction by Daisy Disney Miller (HD, 1 min) before the DisneyView option. Instead, they need to be selected separately on the menu. There is also the "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-You Interactive Storybook: A Disney Second Screen Experience"
"Backstage Disney: Diamond Edition" offers three new bonuses, all in HD. "The Real Fairy Godmother" (12 min) offers a short biography on the woman who was the basis for the character, animator Kendall O'Connor's wife, Mary Alice. "Behind the Magic: A New Disney Princess Fantasyland" (8 min) will delight theme-park fans as they are taken behind the scenes of new additions to Walt Disney's World's Fantasyland. "The Magic of a Glass Slipper: A Cinderella Story" (10 min) a short film starring shoe designer Christian Louboutin creative struggles, which can be skipped. An Alternate Opening Sequence (1 min) can be seen through sketches and new vocals.
"Tangled Ever After" (HD, 6 min) is a funny short starring animals Pascal and Maximus whose jobs as ring-bearers is more difficult than anticipated. The humor seems more Looney Tunes than Disney, but that doesn't diminish the laughs it delivers.
The Classic DVD Bonus Features are all in SD. Introduced by producer Don Hahn, two deleted scenes, including "Dancing on a Cloud," an idea that was later used in Sleeping Beauty. Under "Classic Music & More" (Audio Only, 32 min) are recordings of the "Cinderella Title Song," seven "Unused Songs," a Village Store excerpt from 3/25/48, a Gulf Oil Presents excerpt from 1950, and a Scouting the Stars news program from 2/23/1950. "Classic Backstage Disney" (117 min) contains great archival material for fans. "From Rags to Riches: The Making of Cinderella" is an excellent look at the film's creation. "The Cinderella that Almost Was" looks at earlier concept ideas for the project. "From Walt's Table: A Tribute to the Nine Old Men" honors the legendary Disney animators. "The Art of Mary Blair" profiles a lesser-known, though just as important, Disney animator. There's also a "Storyboard-to-Film Comparison" of the film's opening; Disney's take on Cinderella in an animated "Laugh-O-Gram" short released on December 6, 1922; an excerpt from The Mickey Mouse Club, first airing on 1/24/56, which featured Helene Stanley, Cinderella's live-action model, and six theatrical trailers.
Cinderella is a worthy addition to the Diamond Edition collection and is a must-own particularly for those who don't own the previous DVD edition. Get yours before time runs out.