Toon Talk: Cinderella 2
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Dreams Come True
After the Ball is Over
Cinderella, the most famous rags to riches story ever told, has been a consistent inspiration for new material from Disney. In addition to the 1950 animated classic (who's success saved the studio after World War II, insuring the future of Disney animated films to this day), two television movies have been produced for the current version of The Wonderful World of Disney , the musical Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella in 1997 and the recent Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. Cinderella's castle is also the centerpiece of both Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida and Tokyo Disneyland in Japan. Which brings us up to date, to Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, the latest direct to video sequel now available on VHS and Disney DVD.
As sequels go, Cinderella II is a modest continuation, relating the events after the whole shoe thing and our heroine went off and married her prince. Although nothing much really happens during the course of this film, the result is a mildly entertaining diversion that fortunately avoids tarnishing the cherished memories of the original.
At the start, the Fairy Godmother (voiced by Russi Taylor) helps Cinderella's mice friends make a book of stories for her, setting the stage for the three vignettes to follow. Strictly a framing device, these scenes don't stray far from the typical "remember when this happened?" contrivances seen in any sitcom "clip show". (And apparently Crayola has been making crayons a lot longer then I thought ... )
The first story, Aim to Please, begins when Cinderella (Jennifer Hale) and Prince Charming (Christopher Daniel Barnes) return from their honeymoon, upon which the new princess is promptly put through the paces of learning how to be royalty. (I guess "bibbidi-bobbidi-boo" can only go so far, and then you're on your own ... ) The castle's snooty etiquette expert, Prudence (Holland Taylor), is charged with the task, but her steadfast adherence to out-dated traditions, such as stewed prunes for dessert, soon has Cinderella "running 'round in circles 'til she's very, very dizzy" again. This prompts Cinderella to take matters into her own hands: she decides the only way for her to become a princess is to be herself.
Shades of The Princess Diaries, yes, but this episode actually makes sense as the most natural follow-up to the original fairy tale, and is just long enough to make its point without overstatement. While the two remaining stories come off as merely filler, it was wise of the filmmakers not to try to stretch this one unnecessarily into feature length. And, unlike the next two, Cinderella is centerstage in this one. In the subsequent tales, she is reduced to a one dimensional "goodie-two-glass-slippers", spouting Hallmarkian platitudes that would make Mike Brady wince.