Rodgers And Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” Was, Is, And Always Will Be The Best Live-Action Disney Princess Movie, Period
It’s IMPOSSIBLE not to love this movie! (Get it? Because…because, like, the song?)
Hi, hey, howdy — it’s your friendly neighborhood Allie back again to speak far too passionately on behalf of yet another ’90s classic that I’ve decided not enough people appreciate or respect.
And today’s entry is a timely one — since it originally premiered exactly 23 years ago on Nov. 2, 1997! Yup, it’s finally time to talk about the pure, marvelous ART that is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
So, with that in mind, here are just a few reasons to support my thesis that the 1997 version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella was, is, and always will be the best live-action princess movie Disney has (or will) ever make:
First things first, the obvious — Brandy Norwood was an absolutely INCREDIBLE Cinderella.
She’s stunning with the voice of an actual angel, yes, but she also gave the character an exceptional sense of agency without sacrificing the unyielding kindness that makes the character so beloved. Plus, this line delivery was everything:
AND, as if she didn’t already have enough to balance, she manages some HILARIOUS line deliveries throughout, which only makes you love and root for her more.
Plus, this! Version! Of! The! Ball! Gown! Is! Amazing! If I had one, I’d literally never take it off! Give! Me! One!
Also, her prince — played to perfection by the almost-painfully handsome Paolo Montalbán — still has a pretty intense grip on the hearts of ’90s and ’00s girls everywhere.
Just LOOK at that smile! It’s got to be illegal to be this handsome. Someone contact the authorities!
Good news: I already have the name of my first son picked out, thanks to his sweet, understanding, refreshing character:
Speaking of perfect casting…Whoopi Motherfreakin’ Goldberg and Victor Motherfreakin’ Garber play Prince Christopher’s doting parents, Queen Constantina and King Maximilian. They’re wonderful.
Look, I understand this was a made-for-TV film, but I truly think an exception should’ve been made come Oscar season for Whoopi alone. I.C.O.N.I.C.
Plus, her banter with her son is absolutely delightful, and the two really elevate the humor in a relationship that could otherwise be portrayed as controlling or cruel. I love it.
While we’re on the subject of parents: Bernadette Peters as the evil stepmother?! How did this film not win every award? How did it not win the Pulitzer?!
And do not even get me STARTED on this soundtrack. There is not ONE song on this soundtrack that doesn’t positively SLAP.
Now I, OF COURSE, can’t mention the soundtrack without also mentioning the ultimate casting (and producing) decision: Whitney Motherfreakin’ Houston as the fairy godmother. She IS this soundtrack. She IS this movie.
In fact — I’m not afraid to say it — Whitney and Brandy’s version of “Impossible” may just be the best Disney princess song ever committed to film. Yeah, I said it! What’re you going to do about it, fight me?!*
And I haven’t even MENTIONED George Costanza — I mean, Jason Alexander — as the Prince’s confidant and bumbling assistant, Lionel. His song slaps too, I’m tellin’ ya! And this choreo? Forget about it:
So, in short, the 1997 version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is perfect. Period.
Beanie Feldstein knows it.
Chance the Rapper knows it.
Everyone knows it. And now — if for some reason you didn’t already — you know it, too.
So…uh…yeah. That’s that on that. This will forever remain the absolute best live-action Disney princess movie adaptation of all time. Thanks for joining me in this rant, and happy 23rd anniversary to this undisputed masterpiece!