Blu-ray Review: CINDERELLA (posted here due to Tripod/ Lycos publishing issues)

Blu-ray review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 105 minutes, featurettes, alternate opening, deleted scenes (digital only), Frozen Fever short, DVD, digital HD copy
VIDEO: 2.39:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition
AUDIO: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA (Blu-ray), English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 DD, English 5.1 DD (DVD)
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

STUDIO: Disney
RELEASE DATE: 9-15-2015

CINDERELLA is a familiar tale that people know across cultures and movies especially the well known Disney animated movie. This live action version of CINDERELLA is very colorful and beautiful to look at, but I found it to be boring for the first hour. Cinderella is mistreated by her step-sisters and evil Stepmother (Cate Blanchett) while the Prince actually has a personality in this version of the fairy tale, but I wish they made this a better and more fully realized take on the classic story because Kenneth Brangah feels like he is phoning it in as a director. The story of CINDERELLA is timeless where anyone can reach for their dreams while others will backstab to get at that dream too. Fans of the animated tale will recognize elements from that film’s story in the live action take. It is a very safe movie for young girls and the whole family, but CINDERELLA is too safe and boring.

A FAIRY TALE COMES TO LIFE-the filmmakers and cast reflect on the enduring impact of the classic tale and bringing it to life as a live action movie
COSTUME TEST FUN- look at a variety of costume tests and lighthearted moments from the cast
STAGING THE BALL- a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to create the ballroom scene
ELLA’S FURRY FRIENDS- a look at how they got the animals to perform in the movie

Alternate opening on Ella’s childhood, but sadly Disney has opted to make the five deleted scenes (with introduction by director Kenneth Branagh) a digital only offering and unfortunately not making them available for the blu-ray (which makes me wonder if they will include in a double dip)

FROZEN FEVER short film which is also available on the Disney Animation Shorts Collection blu-ray and it is the closest thing you will see as a sequel until they make FROZEN 2.

The movie is also in standard definition on DVD which has the ELLA’S FURRY FRIENDS featurette and FROZEN FEVER short film as extras. Then there is a code to download a digital HD copy of CINDERELLA to stream and download along with DMA access to the above mentioned deleted scenes.

FINAL ANALYSIS: CINDERELLA will appeal to some fans of Disney movies, but I think I rather watch MALEFICENT again and one Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespeare movies. I wish Disney included the deleted scenes on the blu-ray instead of taking the route of including them as a DMA extra which juts smells like a later cash grab when they double dip this movie in the future.

This review is ©9-19-2015 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to

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Movie review: THE SCORCH TRIALS (posted here since Lycos/ Tripod is having issues)

Movie review by David Blackwell

131 minutes, rated PG-13
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox/ Temple Hill Entertainment/ Gotham Group
Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 9-18-2015

THE SCORCH TRIALS is an exciting action packed sequel better than THE MAZE RUNNER. It picks and chooses what elements from the book it wants to have this movie that very loosely follows the second novel in the THE MAZE RUNNER series. Even though the narrative in the book makes more sense, I like the movie better than book (where I still think the novel of THE MAZE RUNNER is still better than the movie). It is always challenging to adapt a novel into a two hour movie and by giving more of a face to the bad guys of Wicked (WCKD), it helps the narrative of the movie as Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his friends from the maze must brave the scorch to get to the mountains while running from the disease transformed Cranks and the soldiers of WCKD led by Mr. Janson (Aidan Gillen) that hunt the ones immune to the Flare. THE SCORCH TRIALS is a successful adaptation even though it doesn’t follow many parts of the novel while having some scenes and characters that fans of the book will recognize, but the screenwriter must condense any novel when turning it into a screenplay as is the case with THE MAZE RUNNER and the scorch trials. If you want movies that follow the books closer, THE HUNGER GAMES series and the DIVERGENT trilogy follow the material more successful than THE MAZE RUNNER movies do. Many of the changes in the movies improve on the source material even though a little longer movie could have fleshed out the new characters that have very little character development (Brenda, Jorge, the Right Arm group).

THE SCORCH TRIALS has some nice visuals and special effects along with great casting and a sweeping sci-fi music score. The landscape of New Mexico lends itself as a character to this sequel as much as Georgia did to THE MAZE RUNNER. I can’t wait for the final movie (which 20th Century Fox wisely decided not to split up the final book into two movies) even though the ending deviates from the book ending, but I think THE MAZE RUNNER movies have to be treated as their own separate thing from the novels.

This review is ©9-19-2015 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to

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