Cinderella II: Dreams Come True
R1 - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Andreas Petersen (9th January 2008).
The Film

A straight-to-video sequel of a Disney classic has one of two functions; either it's a somewhat entertaining film that pales in comparison to the film preceding it (for example, "Aladdin and the King of Thieves" (1995)), or it is a complete insult to the film preceding it (as in "Mulan II" (2004)). So where does "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True" fall? Let's just say that the Mushu not being voiced by Eddie Murphy is going to have company.
Let me start by saying that I'm a huge fan of animated Disney films. However, "Cinderella" (1950) was never one of my favorites. With that, I can't say that the existence of "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True" offends me, at least not in the same way "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride" (1998) did. This in no way gives the movie a free pass, however. It's bad. It's really bad.
The plot of "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True" revolves around three "magical" tales, all taking place after the events of the first film. While there are three segments to this movie, they all tell the same basic story. The first describes Cinderella's (Jennifer Hale) distaste of royal boundaries. The second tells the story of Jaq (Rob Paulsen) the mouse becoming a human. The last story is about Cinderella's step-sister, Anastasia (Tress MacNeille), falling in love. With each tale, a very direct and blunt message is delivered, and that is "be yourself." This is a great message to give kids, but it could have been handled with more of an artistic flare. The messages are blurted out, plain and simple, offering no such subtlety. Maybe I'm being too hard on a straight-to-video cartoon meant for children, but when other animated features are pushing the medium forward like "Howl's Moving Castle" (2004) and "Ratatouille" (2007), there's no real way I can recommend this movie. Just because the movie is meant for children doesn't mean it has to be this stupid.
The plot isn't the only thing lacking in Cinderella's kingdom. While theatrical Disney animated films are known for their amazing animation, the same can't be said for the direct-to-DVD line. "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True" is probably the cheapest looking major release I have seen from Disney. The animation is akin to cartoons you would see on public access channels. Now I'm not dogging on Rupert or Redwall, but a Disney movie, whether it's direct to video or theatrical, shouldn't look amateurish.
Another very weak point for the film is the music. Whereas the original film's songs were so strong they are still known by children and adults to this day, "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True" offers a butchered version of 'Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo' and a few poppy numbers that are played in the background, not performed by characters in the film. One of the things I love most about Disney's animated catalogue is the songs. Hell, even "Mulan II" had some catchy tunes. I was greatly disappointed with the choice to not make "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True" a musical.
Overall, the film is a very bad cartoon. I imagine that anyone buying this DVD would be doing so for their kids. If that is the case, I would just like to urge you to buy something a bit more intelligent. This movie is the type of thing holding children's entertainment back, not pushing it forward.

Video

The film is offered in 1.66:1 widescreen, enhanced for 16x9 televisions. The picture quality was fine throughout, but the movie itself is bland looking. The film never shows off any vibrant colors or amazing backgrounds that I have come to expect from Disney cartoons.

Audio

The film's audio is offered in English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and English DTS 5.1 surround sound, as well as in a French or Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 language tracks. The greatest strength this film may possess is its sound; the sound effects came out clear and in all the right places. Considering that there is a lot going on with the sound effects, this is one of the few features that make this DVD not completely worthless.

Optional subtitled are included in English only

Extras

This DVD touts its "Fast Play" feature, allowing the viewer to pop in the movie and watch it without a remote, automatically playing the film. The only catch is you have to sit through some trailers.

The featurette "Musical Magic" runs for 5 minutes 54 seconds and shows how not only the music of this film came to be, but how films are scored in general. This segment is obviously meant for children who have no idea where music for movies comes from.

The disc also comes with a music video for "Put it Together", a popped-up version of 'Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo'. The song is accompanied with images from the movie, and that's it, so nothing special here. It runs for 3 minutes 50 seconds.

The rest of the features the disc has to offer are interactive games you play with your DVD remote. They are:

- "Race to the Royal Banquet", in which you help the palace mice sneak past cats to get to the titular party.
- "Cinderella's Enchanted Castle" the player must help the princess prepare for another party by cleaning up.

Lastly, there is "Cinderella DVD Storybook: A Little Misunderstanding" this interactive feature allows the viewer to move through pages of a very short story in which Jaq has a misunderstanding with fellow mouse Mary, but all ends well. It is obvious these games are meant for kids, so it is hard for me to knock on them. I'll just say that as a 20 year old guy, I was not entertained.

Rounding out the extras are bonus trailers for:

- "101 Dalmatians" which runs for 1 minute 27 seconds.
- "Tinker Bell" runs for 47 seconds.
- "Underdog" runs for 2 minutes 5 seconds.
- "Phineas and Ferb" runs for 32 seconds.
- "Wall-E" runs for 1 minute 37 seconds.
- "Aristocats" runs for 1 minute 10 seconds.
- "Snow Buddies" runs for 2 minutes 15 seconds.
- "Disney Blu-Ray" spot which runs for 2 minutes 28 seconds.
- "Disney Rewards" spot which runs for 32 seconds

Overall

The Film: C- Video: B Audio: B+ Extras: C+ Overall: C

 


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