Blu-ray Review: Cinderella Diamond Edition

Cinderella Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Walt Disney Studios | DIRECTORS: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske | CAST: Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Rhoda Williams
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 10/2/2012 | PRICE: 6-Disc Jewelry Box Blu-ray Set $89.99, 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo $44.99, 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.99
BONUSES: featurettes, alternate opening, short films
SPECS: G | 75 min. | Animated family | 1.33:1 aspect ratio | 7.1 DTS-HD audio | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

CinderellaCinderelli has never looked better than in this Blu-ray version, the high-definition debut of Disney’s animated film.

Made back in 1950, Cinderella is still as magical and enchanting as it was back then. Older children used to more action-packed movies, like The Incredibles and Despicable Me might get antsy with this film’s slower pace, but the youngest will still be fascinated by the sweet cinder girl who puts clothes on mice and gets birds to help with her chores.

The fairy tale story, of course, has been covered in numerous films, but the romance and charm of this early Disney version can’t be beat. And the beautiful old, hand-drawn animation looks spectacular all cleaned up on Blu-ray. Best of all, the colors shine, from Cinderella’s golden hair, to the blue of the birds and the sparkle of the glass slipper.

Sound design isn’t what Cinderella is known for — there aren’t any explosions or gun shots — but Disney still gave the movie 7.1 DTS-HD on the Blu-ray, and the orchestral soundtrack, as well the songs, whistles and chirps from birds, all have a nice depth and clarity.

As well as the gorgeous film, the Blu-ray contains all the special features from the Cinderella Special Edition DVD released in 2005 plus some fun new ones.

Most entertaining are the two short films: Tangled Ever After and The Glass Slipper: A Cinderella Story. The live-action Glass Slipper shows a shoemaker on deadline being inspired by the classic Cinderella story and making the dreams of a poor cleaning girl come true. Tangled Ever After, a spin-off of Disney’s 2010 animated movie, is a funny look at what happens at the wedding of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider when his horse almost loses the happy couple’s rings.

On the documentary side, the Blu-ray offers “Behind the Magic: A New Disney Princess Fantasyland” and “The Real Fairy Godmother.” Of course an ad, “Behind the Magic” is nevertheless an interesting look at the latest park within a park being built at Disney World, filled with fun for every princess young and old. Beware that, with the chance to visit the Beast’s castle and ride a roller coaster through the Seven Dwarfs’ diamond mines, kids might be clammering to go to Orlando after seeing the featurette. It made me want to go. Incidentally, the piece is hosted by Ginnifer Goodwin, a princess herself as she plays Snow White in ABC TV show Once Upon a Time.

“The Real Fairy Godmother” is the best of the featurettes, showing the woman who inspired the kindly Godmother character in the Cinderella movie. Wife of Disney artist Kendall O’Connor, Mary Alice O’Connor was known for her kindness and charitable work and ultimately earned the nickname of the Fairy Godmother of Burbank, Calif. As much as Cinderella helps young girls believe that dreams can come true, the story of Mrs. O’Connor can help youngsters understand what they can do to help others’ dreams come true.

As well as the deleted scenes from the 2005 DVD, the Blu-ray also introduces an alternate opening with sketches that were recently discovered by archivists in the Walt Disney Animation Research Library. Although not definitely for Cinderella, the rhyming storyboards do fit the story.

The only other new special feature on the Blu-ray is Second Screen. I’m not a big fan of the app, which requires viewers to sync up their computer, iPad or iPhone to the movie as it plays to access additional footage or extras. There’s enough multi-tasking in the world without the need for more while we’re watching a film. And usually, the extras on Second Screen could just as easily be played on the same TV.

For Cinderella, however, Disney has created a Second Screen app that’s geared towards children — who don’t mind keeping an eye on two screens at once — and it helps them create their own digital storybook. This is a better use of the technology.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it to work. The app froze early on after we typed in our name, and repeated efforts couldn’t get it working on sync. Running the app on our own, we were able to play the four games, which ask players to find Gus under moving cups, pop bubbles floating up from the scrubbing bucket, clean Lucifer’s muddy paw prints and help the sew-happy mice by cutting out Cinderella’s dress pattern. None are too difficult, and children will enjoy the opportunity to be part of the story.

As expected, Disney has done a stellar job with the Cinderella Diamond Edition. It’s a must-have for any collection.

If you haven’t upgraded to Blu-ray yet — and this disc is a good reason to make the shift — a DVD version of Cinderella Diamond Edition is available from Nov. 20.

Buy or Rent Cinderella Diamond Edition
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.