CINDERELLA or more aptly, “I, Cinderfella” [Jaysen Headley’s Vault Disney #12 Companion]

This post is a companion to Jaysen Headley’s Vault Disney Project.
JUMP for more info.

Vault Disney #12
CINDERELLA or more aptly,
“I, Cinderfella”

Sure, I’ve seen the film before, maybe even more than once.  And yeah, I guess I remember it, if I think about it, but it hasn’t been in my mind for a long time.  I didn’t recall having any feelings for it really.  But, when the film started, the music, the images, the mice, the step-mother, the step-sisters, Cinderella,… all my memories for it started flooding back.  I recalled all the moments that moved me,.. and as each one approached, I became more of a mess.

It really is a classic.   All the tropes of being an average girl once upon a time in a faraway land, pure, with a heart of gold, despite a challenging position in life, who is swept away by prince charming, gets married and lives happily ever-after.  Yes, those ideas were definitely the DNA of this film, if Snow White wasn’t already.  It’s like a meme and a dream of so many little girls,… and boys.  It permeated throughout their lives, and plays a factor in our culture which attributed to wishing I were white growing up,… oh wait, that’s maybe an issue for another time, though I’d like to clarify that I’m not placing blame, I’m just talking about my truth, and the truth of growing up a minority in ANY dominant culture.

Anyhow.  So, yes, I loved Cinderella, despite sexism, or whatever else could be considered an issue in 2015.  It’s a product of its time.  If it were created as is today, would people be in an uproar?  Again, not my focus now, but a thought that crossed my mind.

So, if you look beyond 2015 trappings, and take what’s at its core, for what it is, I think we can all relate and love it?  Right?  Or am I missing something else people can be offended by?  I love the film.  Human cruelty and human kindness always hits me at the core of my soul.  The epitome of both are represented with the evil step-mother and sisters; and the animal friends of Cinderella, her fairy godmother and Cinderella herself.  And among them, the representation of the magical ideas of belief also.  “Believe in your dreams, and your dreams will come true.”

Jaysen just put on the live-action Cinderella film that came out this past year. I remember not liking the trailer and thinking it was going to suck and bomb.  It came and went, and I didn’t hear anything about it.  I don’t think it did very well, but for what it’s worth, it does have an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes.  The film is playing in the background as I’m writing this.  We actually see Cinderella as a child, and witness her mother passing, but before she does, she tells Cinderella one thing to remember, something about “courage and kindness.”  Yeah, that about explains Cinderella’s character.  She’s kind of an inspiring character; a wonderful role model, at least the idea of her is.  Jaysen stopped the film, so I guess we’re not watching it.  It doesn’t look too bad at all.

Back to the animated feature,.. it’s always interesting how many of Disney’s super kindly princesses are capable of communicating with animals. I think as a child, I thought I could too, or at least I pretended to.  And, yes, I did it with my kind, sympathetic heart,.. my bleeding heart.  How dramatic.  I was bit of an emo boy.  I think it’s why I loved Cinderella.  It was her heartbreaking circumstances, and being treated so terribly.  I had this tragic fantasy of being poor, and misunderstood, but humble.  I was the nice guy, looking out for others.  Something I’m reminded of, that really is the essence of how I felt, is my memory of some war film or something when I was little.  I can’t remember what film it was, but in the film, there is a very very very poor family, living out of a dark, dank, dirt cave or something. One day, the mother and children were in the village market or something, and the older of the two boys,.. (which would be me), steals a steak.  He brings it home.  Later that night, the mother is cooking it over a simple fire on the ground in a pan. The cave is dark, and seems bare except for the fire. The father comes home after a long and trying, very hard hard day of work in order to provide what little he can for his family.  He sees the steak, and inquires about it. The father is furious, flips over the pan,… the steak on the ground, the mother cowering in shame, and the boy is reprimanded. The father having done everything he could to live an honest life and provide for his family is ashamed of his son.  He rather them starve than to live without honor and integrity.  I don’t recall, but perhaps he demands that the son apologize to the market person he stole the steak from or something.  IDK, in any case, they are very hungry, and probably haven’t eaten more than a few beans in the past couple of days.  The details are just part of my fantasy.  I sometimes question whether this film even exists, let alone existing as how I remember it.  The pivotal moment and imagery that encapsulates what this fantasy is about is when the mother,.. crying,.. despite her shame, picks  the steak up off the dirt ground, does her best to clean it and puts it back on the fire in the pan.  Ah, yes, so so tragic, so poor that they’d eat something that was thrown in the dirt. I always imagined it was my mother, picking up this steak in the dirt, crying.  She was doing her best with what we were given.  She was raising these children with an absent father the best way she knew.  I think part of this fantasy had something to with, or a part in, why I’d always felt guilty about how spoiled I was. I would tell my mother what I wanted, and as a kid, you want everything.  She wouldn’t necessarily get me everything exactly, BUT, she would attempt to.  Sometimes, she’d get TONS of little things, but not one thing I really wanted, and other times, she’d get me everything I asked for and more, and yet I wouldn’t be happy about it for some reason.  Maybe I never really wanted these things, or maybe I just felt really really guilty.  It’s almost as if I were being critical about what she did.  I find myself being critical about things that people close to me do or get for me.  In one way, my reaction comes from the expectations of a fantasy, an ideal, that true life doesn’t measure up to, and in another way, I don’t like people wasting their time and money on me, especially if it’s not something I really want, which then turns to guilt.   I don’t really know if she was capable of affording it, but in my mind, we were lower middle class.  We lived in subsidized housing and I wore a lot of hand-me-downs.  Oddly, I have a fetish for wearing other people clothes, but that could be an identity issue thing also.  I don’t think we were poor per say, but I felt horrible that my mother spent so much time and money on me, especially on things I didn’t really want.  In my romantically tragic fantasy, am I Cinderella?  I would say that Cinderella was a bit of a martyr, and I definitely have a martyr’s tendencies.

Did I, or do I wish to have something magically transform me into a princess, and be whisked away by prince charming?  Hmm, well I don’t know that it’s any more than anyone else would, but one part of my personality wants or likes waiting for things to “happen” to me, magically one might say, like winning contests, being discovered, or being lucky, etc.  How else do you think I ended up taking classes in Scientology, or joining the Navy?!  So I guess you can say I believed in magic, versus, an aspect I’ve spent my whole life trying to figure out; how to actively manifest something, which is just another form of magic.  I suppose I was always searching for something to fill this void I had in me.  I would always ask people about their religion, and spirituality, and try everything out there.  As for prince charming?  I had my romantic ideals.  Again, not sure it’s any more than anyone else, but I’m sure I had this dream of someone taking me away from my day dreams, and dead-end life, and saving me.  The romantic idea, that this perfect man could possibly love this poor, martyrish, nice guy ha ha.

Sorry this posting/review of Cinderella ended up being more of a free-written journal entry, and bit of a mess.  I can’t imagine how anyone would want to read this, coming to this post to read a review on Cinderella, ha ha.  Then again, I’m also not trying to write this professionally, as a piece that can be sold and consumed by the masses or get me hired. Though, that’d be nice, I’m definitely not trying to.  So, I’m sorry.  It’s comes naturally to me, as a devil’s advocate, OCD thinker, and contrarily, being more of a ‘feeler.’ People are lucky they don’t have to edit for me ha ha.  Maybe my strength as an editor ironically has something to do with all of that. I digress, and digress,…

Ok, the live-action Cinderella is back on.  OMG, Cate Blanchett, is in it. Amazing,.. AND the cat and mice are in it too.  So it fills in the stories missing from the animated version.  Cinderella’s father remarries, and … dies.  This version really explores the characters a lot more; adding motivations, more logical explanations for some things, adult complexities and new depths. It’s really a nice companion to the animated story, so far.

“Cinder-ella.”  The film does something fun to explain her name.  Her name in the film is Ella.  The wicked step-sisters make fun of her by giving her the nickname Cinderella when they see her covered with cinder (ash) from living in that attic they’d put her in.

The prince in the animated feature is nothing but a pretty face.  He is a very very thinly developed character.  He just isn’t developed, at all.  I can’t even use the word ‘developed.’ I guess in today’s standards, some Disney films have more developed female characters who also occupy the film the most.  Whether or not they pass the Bechdel Test is another story.  And though men do not dominate the film, what does it about the prince, and men in general.  The prince is such an ideal, so obviously perfect that he need not be explained, cause everyone knows, without a doubt!  He has nothing to prove.  They need not explain to the audience why a girl or ANY woman, would fall in love with him instantly!  Though in Cinderella, one thing stands out about this prince.  We get the impression from the king that the prince is very picky.  He doesn’t seem to fancy many of the ‘worthy’ female prospects of their land.  He is pure of heart and capable of falling for another pure of heart.

Back to the live-action film.  A theme they have in this film is though Cinderella ends up with no magic to disguise who she is, but she has kindness, and courage to be seen as she truly is,.. and take others as they truly are, such as the prince, who in this film is more complex, and is not a prince, but an apprentice, to be a prince,.. har har

Who doesn’t love this?!

can’t help it,.. here’s an extended version


Jaysen Headley asked me to re-watch every Disney Vault film in chronological order with him. We’re gonna try to watch at least one a week if not 2. He’ll be writing a blog to accompany this project, and I will post a companion to it.

Jaysen Headley’s introductory blog post about his Disney Vault project!

It’s a fun project! And I’m also mixing in other older films Jaysen had never seen. Right now, we’re working on Arnold Schwarzenegger & Mission: Impossible films!

Jaysen Headley’s Vault Disney: The Others Project Jaysen also started a sister project for other Disney films that are not considered part of the animated Vault called Vault Disney: The Others, which I will also be posting a companion for.

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