Dissecting the Disquels: Cinderella III – A Twist in Time

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Plot: Cinderella has gotten her happily ever after, but her step sister, Anastasia, hasn’t. She wants what Cinderella has and gets a lucky break when she gets her hands on the Fairy Godmother’s wand. The evil step-mother takes it from her and reverses time back to the search of the owner of the glass slipper. When Anastasia gets a turn, she magically makes her foot the right size, allowing her to get engaged to the somewhat confused prince, leaving Cinderella devastated. However, she’s not going to give up her prince without a fight, and she’ll need to hope that Anastasia sees the real meaning behind true love before it’s too late.

Breakdown: I pretty much had the same thought as everyone else when this movie came out. ‘Cinderella’s a TRILOGY now? And there’s time travel? Wat?’ I really wasn’t looking forward to this movie when I reached it on my Disquel list, but is it really as bad as it seems?

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We start off with Cinderella singing about how perfect her life is with her husband The Artist Formerly Known as Prince as she turns around and gives us an expression like she just farted….I’m not really kidding. I know she’s smiling, but…

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Come on….

The Prince comes up to give her her shoes. He tells her that the mice were using her shoes as boats as he dumps some water out of one of them and slips it on her foot. Yeah, don’t dry the damn thing or anything. Just put her wet soggy shoe on her foot.

Mid-song we cut to the evil step-sisters cleaning the house and doing chores since Cinderella’s married into royalty and doesn’t deal with that crap anymore. This song includes a segment about how Anastasia wants to find a prince of her own to marry….Wha, what about the baker?! I know he was apparently so unimportant that he didn’t even get a name, but he was an integral part of Anastasia’s supposed storyline. Was the last movie just so bad that we’re reconning all of it?

What is seriously up with the fascination with Anastasia anyway? Why does she get two stories while the other step-sister, Priscilla, gets nothing? Is she just an irredeemable bitch? And, again, why the hell should we care if either one of Cinderella’s evil step-sisters gets a happy ending? They tried to do that in the last movie, and I wasn’t anymore rooting for her to get laid by the end of her segment than I was at the beginning.

Anastasia follows Cinderella and the Prince to their anniversary party 

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held by the mice and her fairy godmother. As they continue singing about what a perfect life they have (Something everyone can relate to I’m sure) Anastasia finds out that Cinderella got her perfect life through magic and just as if it were written in the script, the fairy godmother clumsily flings her wand into the forest right in front of Anastasia’s face.

She runs back to Priscilla and Bitch (Might as well name her that) to show them, but they don’t believe her. The fairy godmother shows up to take the wand back. How she knew Anastasia had it is beyond me. In a scuffle to get the wand, Anastasia accidentally turns the godmother into a statue.

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With wand in hand, Bitch decides to turn back time to the shoe fitting to ensure that Cinderella doesn’t end up being found and marrying the Prince. Magic: Anyone can do it properly because shut up.

When the duke enters to place the glass slipper on the girls’ feet, Bitch uses her wand again to shrink Anastasia’s foot to the right size. Oh nice, Priscilla gets no chance? Just give the Prince to Anastasia? Pfft.

As Anastasia and the others are about to leave, Cinderella tries to plead her case but Bitch stops her. Cinderella shows the other glass slipper as proof that she was the one who danced with the prince, but Bitch says it was just a dream and breaks the slipper.

Cinderella watches in despair as they leave and starts singing a somber song about how the ball was supposedly just a dream. It’s a pretty nice song even if the visuals are a tad cheesy.

Jaq consoles Gus about the situation, and he says that the prince would know Cinderella by looking at her if he saw her since they danced together. Good point. Which just begs the question as to why the prince never thought to have a mock sketch made up to search for the girl from the ball instead of hoping no one else has her shoe size.

Cinderella overhears their conversation and instantly perks up with determination to go to the palace, see the prince and prove that the other night wasn’t a dream.

As Cinderella sneaks into the castle pretending to be the royal mouse catcher, the prince meets Anastasia and proves he’s not as stupid as I feared since he instantly realizes that Anastasia’s not the girl he danced with at the ball and politely apologizes before sending them home. However, Bitch will have none of that and casts a spell over him that makes him forget Cinderella and have Anastasia replace her in his memories. He turns around and proposes to her and she wildly accepts while sticking the ring on the wrong hand.

Jaq and Gus witness this and go to warn Cinderella who is confronting the prince. Cinderella tries to get the prince to recognize her, but he can’t escape the spell so he doesn’t understand. She’s dragged away for royal mouse catcher business before she can talk further.

Jaq and Gus tell her that Bitch took the wand from the fairy godmother and put a spell over the prince so Cinderella concocts a plan to get him back.

The king asks for a moment alone with Anastasia where he talks about his wife the, I guess, dead queen who died from Disneyitis. He gives her a sea shell that was the queen’s most prized possession as it was the sea shell that both she and the king were reaching for at the same time and when their hands touched he knew it was true love…..

Okay, I want to take a time out here for a minute and showcase just how drastically the king changed his stances on marriage in this movie.

From what I remember of the first movie and from what we’re shown at the very beginning of this one, the king mostly treated marriage as a necessity that all royalty needed, and that love wasn’t really important as long as you just get married especially to someone of great breeding and refinement. He vocalizes this after the time reversal then completely changes his tune after the prince asks him to remember how he fell in love with the queen while looking at a ten foot tall painting of her. He stays in this lovey dovey mood the rest of the movie and keeps looking at various paintings of her…..

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Are you saying he just completely forgot how much he loved and cared for his wife and reduced marriage to something so empty and only remembered that it was about love when his son asked him to remember the wife he seemingly adored so much that he’d have giant paintings of her everywhere? Huh?

Anastasia sings a reprise of the song she was singing before about how she’s found a man who loves her and how her dreams will come true when she marries the prince. I really don’t like how we’re being force-fed this BS with Anastasia. She has no character growth seriously, she’s still a bitchy she-beast, she just acts dreamy and somewhat kind when she’s in love. And I keep finding the idea of ‘marriage to hot guy=all dreams now true’ to be super lame.

For anyone worrying about character growth with Priscilla, don’t worry, she’s still a slag. Also, I realize now that I’ve been calling Priscilla the wrong name. Apparently her name is Drizella, but if I called her that I can be sure there’d be jokes, so Priscilla it is since I doubt anyone would make an Elvis joke.

Cinderella sees Priscilla screwing around with the wand to make jewelry and stuff (without saying the magic words, mind you) while Bitch locks the wand away in a drawer and puts the key in her pocket. What was wrong with keeping it on her? It’s probably safer since no one would ever dream of touching her…

Anastasia returns while still all dreamy and has second thoughts about what they’re doing. She even says the prince could love her without the spell. Yeah, he looked practically disgusted when he saw you and has shown nothing but indifference towards you even with the spell. I’m sure he’d fall head over heels…

In order the get the wand, Cinderella sends Jaq and Gus in to nab it from Bitch’s pocket. They accidentally set Lucifer (the cat) on fire and in the ruckus from his freaking out they nab the key…..Hey you know what else I noticed? That cat from the second movie, Pish-Posh or whatever is nowhere to be seen in this movie so far. Huh. Maybe they did completely retcon it.

They break a dish or vase or something in the commotion and are about to call a housekeeper when one arrives at the door. It’s Cinderella with a bonnet shadowing her face. Why she felt the need to do this is beyond me. Obviously Jaq and Gus got into the room just fine, surely they’d be able to get out with no problem. Jaq and Gus are also about to open the drawer while Bitch and the others are still in the room. What the hell is she thinking? What a dumb plan. She should’ve just gotten the key, waited for them to leave the room, went in and gotten the wand without them noticing. Hell, Bitch didn’t have the wand or the key anymore so unless she wanted to grab an axe and rip apart the dresser, she would be screwed.

Bitch recognizes Cinderella and outs her disguise, but Cinderella says she’ll never get away with her plan as she runs off with Jaq and Gus, guards and Lucifer in tow.

She manages to get the wand back, but can’t complete the reversal spell on the prince and gets taken by the guards while the wand is returned to Bitch. Cinderella tries to convince the prince, touches his hand (a spark when touching hands is a theme of this movie) and he feels something, but doesn’t break free as she’s dragged away. Priscilla yells to her that they won and the prince wonders what she meant. But she just says it’s nothing while Bitch shoos the prince away. Bitch tells the guard to banish Cinderella even though I have no clue why everyone’s obeying her like she’s already royalty. I know her daughter’s set to marry the prince but that doesn’t make her a queen-in-law and even if it did, they’re not married yet.

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The mice drag the prince into a sewing room to talk to him and they sing about how Cinderella is really the girl that he danced with at the ball and that Bitch put him under a spell to think Anastasia’s the girl he danced with instead. They also say that Cinderella’s been banished by Bitch and it’s up to him to save her.

Prince: “Magic…..That explains everything.” Magic; the deus ex machina of everything. Also, I love how open and willing he is to accept all of this. Talking mice and intelligent birds are telling him through song that his future mother-in-law cast a spell on him to marry her daughter and the real girl that he danced with at the ball is some crazy lady he met earlier. Most people would seek psychiatric help after that but in Disney movies it’s completely believable.

And they even acknowledge how ridiculous this is. Heh, I like this movie.

I love the look he gives the King when he says that the bluebirds weren’t talking. It’s like “Daaaaaaddd, of course the BLUEBIRDS weren’t talking; just the mice!”

The prince manages to escape the castle to find Cinderella even though his father tried repeatedly to get him to stop. When the prince gets beyond the gate, he dreamily says to let him go……What is the king on exactly? He’s flip-flopping between emotions so feverishly.

Cinderella boards the ship out of the kingdom and reprises her song about dreams this time in a sad sense since she now thinks it was all a dream. Truthfully, some good does come out of this scenario; she doesn’t have to deal with Bitch anymore.

The prince is catching up to the ship, but the ship is departing from port so he decides to take one final leap from the top of a lighthouse or whatever that is. However, his horse won’t make the jump so he stops suddenly, throwing the prince into the ship as he slides down the sail with a knife and swings down ropes. Mythbusters pretty much destroyed the thing with the sails and knife so I’m going to dock you for that movi—oh yeah this is a movie with talking mice, magic wands and glass footwear. Carry on.

The prince reunites with Cinderella and with a touch of their hands, he knows he’s found the right girl this time. However, there’s still 20 minutes left in the movie so it can’t be that simple.

Bitch won’t stand for this and she soon escapes with her daughters as Cinderella and the prince escape.

Cinderella gets ready for her wedding when Bitch emerges from the shadows and reveals her newest plan. She’s going to let Cinderella get married to the prince, only the Cinderella that he’ll marry is actually Anastasia under a spell to look like Cinderella. Couldn’t go the extra mile to change her voice to Cinderella’s though.

Bitch uses the wand to send Cinderella away and ironically transports her to the center of a growing gross pumpkin that grows to an evil version of her carriage from the night of the ball and uses thorny vines to force a nearby horse to pull it. In order to ensure that Cinderella stays out of the picture, she sends a humanized Lucifer to drive the carriage.

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We get a pretty damn suspenseful scene as Cinderella, Jaq and Gus try to stop the carriage as it’s moving. While Jaq and Gus nearly get thrown off several times, Cinderella manages to throw Lucifer off of the carriage where he somehow turns back into a cat again, I dunno. They regain control of the carriage and pull the pin connecting it to the horse, but they’re approaching a cliff so they all jump on the horse’s back just in time.

Cinderella races to the wedding on horseback and we can only hope the old trope of stopping the wedding either before they say “I do” or after the minister asks if anyone has any objections is still alive.

Back at the wedding which I can’t believe got arranged so quickly, but okay, Anastasia is still showing signs of unease about the upcoming marriage because she believes the prince doesn’t feel anything for her when they touch hands. This is especially uneasy when he whispers “my one and only Cinderelly” to her during the ceremony, since the first time he heard her name was from Jaq.

So which one will it be? Cinderella stopping the ceremony or Anastasia not going through with it? Well, surprisingly, it’s Anastasia. Okay, we get it. She’s a good person now for some reason. I really just wish we had more actual development with her. You can’t just flip a switch between dress-ripping she-demon and romantic fairy tale protagonist. It is nice most of the time to see a mean character eventually see the error of their ways and turn good, and this is a way better show of that than the second movie’s third section, but still. Oh and let me guess, she’s going to randomly find someone she loves before the end credits, right?

Bitch won’t stand for this either and both she and the royal guards head for Anastasia. Bitch causes havoc in the palace with her dark magic…by the way, the Fairy Godmother must not have needed a lot of practice for her job. It seems like anyone who grabs ahold of the wand and knows the magic words can do anything they want properly. Look at her. She’s like friggin’ Maleficent without the dragon form and she’s only had the wand for a day.

She’s about to use her magic on Anastasia for disobeying her, but Cinderella stands in front of her to protect her. Oh yeah I’m so sure she’d never do a thing to YOU of all people. She’s always thought of you as a precious little dainty flower.

Obviously, Bitch still wants to attack anyway, but the prince jumps in the way with his sword which reflects the magic back at Bitch and Priscilla, sending them to some dungeon or maybe it’s their house’s basement I dunno, and they’ve turned into frogs. Kinda a lame battle, really, but I guess Cinderella’s not a movie meant for battle sequences and dark magic.

Anastasia grabs the wand since it fell on the floor after Bitch and Priscilla disappeared and turns herself back to normal again. She tries to return the shell that the king gave her as a wedding gift stating she doesn’t deserve it, but the king lets her keep it and tells her that everyone deserves true love.

They return the Fairy Godmother to her non-stone state, Cinderella reunites with the prince again and they get married. The Fairy Godmother asks if she wants them to return to their old lives where they were already married for over a year and none of this mess ever happened, but they seemingly don’t need to since they don’t even remember that life. Hope nothing important happened in that year.

And then we zoom out as they kiss, we see the castle one last time and that’s the end.

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Well, we do see in a final shot that Bitch and Priscilla turn back to normal only they’re now tasked with being housekeepers.

The en–….Wait, Anastasia didn’t randomly find her true love? *fast forwards through end credits*…..HONESTLY? They didn’t follow that huge cliché? Wow. I’m blown away.

Now, I’m about to get so much crap for this, I know it…..but……this movie…..I liked this movie.

In fact, I’d say it’s very much on the same level as the original.

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Maybe even better…..

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Hold back the firing squad, let me explain. Looking back on it, the first Cinderella isn’t all that fantastic to me. Sad but true. As a kid, I never was much interested in movies like that. I was more interested in The Lion King and Aladdin and movies with huge battles and cool fantasy worlds. When I really think about it, I don’t see the big fuss around the original movie anyway. A girl has a life that is terrible, true. Some bitch married her dad, her dad died, her original mom’s probably also dead from the Disneyitis epidemic and she’s forced to basically be a slave in her own house under the command of said bitch and her two slag-sisters.

She dreams of a better life beyond this, but does nothing about it. A fairy godmother takes pity on her situation and uses her magic to get her to a big ball being held by the king to find a suitable bride for his son, the prince who is never named. (And I know he’s probably Prince Charming, but he is literally never named. Even in the credits of this movie he’s credited as The Prince.) Heck, the mice are the ones who even make her first dress for her, and they also are the ones to get her out of the attic in the end.

She goes to the ball, dances, falls in love as fast as, well, a Disney Princess, runs off while leaving her confusing footwear choice behind and returns to her daily life.

She partakes in a shoe fitting and gets married. The end. That’s all there is to that movie. And you know what I get from it? Everyone around her is being much more proactive in Cinderella’s life than Cinderella is. She’s basically a complete reactive character in the first movie.

Cinderella could easily decide to leave and start a life on her own. I mean, hell her Wiki even says she’s not 16, not even 18 but 19 years old. Plenty old enough to tell her step-mother to shove a broom up her ass and go live a life of her own. What’s she going to do about it? I doubt she’d do much. The only real method of force that she has outside of emotional torment is a fat sadistic cat. And her father had to have left her something in his will, unless he was an ass too.

Instead she waited around and acted like a doormat until something magical fell into her lap. Even when this happened, she still returned to her awful life with no intentions of leaving until the prince decided he liked the dance so much that he wanted to marry the girl he danced with and sent people off to fetch her. She gets whisked away, there’s no repercussions for the villains, there’s no real depth to the prince and Cinderella’s relationship, there’s no real depth to the prince barring that he’s difficult to marry off without a dance party.

It’s a good dose of fantasy for young girls, and it is always nice to have that light in your heart that says one day your dreams could all come true at the drop of a hat, but that’s about it.

This movie has action, suspense, adds depth to Cinderella (makes her pretty damn proactive and a little badass to be honest), The Prince and their relationship as a whole even if it’s not a whole lot to go on barring the hand thing. I will admit, the stuff with Anastasia becoming somewhat nice and basically being turned into not just a protagonist but also kinda the protagonist of this movie is very jarring and a little off-putting. However, it’s huge character development that is not outside of the realms of realism. Hell, maybe they didn’t completely retcon the second movie and that was supposed to be somewhat of a buffer to how she is here and she and the Baker just didn’t work out.

The truly evil ones of the movie actually get some comeuppance, becoming frogs then housekeepers. Cinderella and the prince actually do stuff to fight for their love. It doesn’t fall into the same cliché pitfalls like giving Anastasia a love interest out of nowhere just to ensure that everyone good has someone to bang or Cinderella stopping the wedding before the “I do”’s.

It also has pretty good art and animation, and good music, surprising for a Disney sequel let alone the third in a trilogy. Never cringed to any of the songs, in fact most were pretty memorable and well-made. Only exception might be the song that Jaq and Gus sing, which is still pretty good but bordering on lame during the chorus and reprise. Good voice acting, good pacing, a pretty good story, good dialogue, and the time travel thing didn’t feel that forced or contrived.

Bottomline: Is it a masterpiece? Definitely not. Is it an enjoyable movie? Yes. Cinderella purists or even Disney purists as a whole may not enjoy this movie because it literally rewrites the entire first movie’s ending and even retcons the second movie. If you have the same opinion on the first movie that I did, you’d have a decent chance of enjoying this all the more as well. If the original is very near and dear to your heart, but you’re open for continuing the story and giving a Disquel a chance, this is the one to see (not the second one. Please don’t watch that)

Recommended Audience: Glass footwear is a dangerous option. You have to put them in the dishwasher and the slightest trip could make you slit open an artery, but nothing offensive beyond that. E for everyone!

Final Notes: That tagline in the poster makes no sense. The slipper DID still fit her feet, it’s just that Bitch used a spell to make the slipper also fit Anastasia’s foot without letting Cinderella even try. Come on poster guys, pay attention.

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