Disney + has been having a hard time creating new content for the streaming platform outside the Marvel and Star Wars franchises. Even when the platform has amazing numbers, the fact that it doesn’t have a successful original show or movie feels like a letdown. This is Disney we are talking about, their creatives should be excited for executing new and fresh ideas using the great amount of resources that Disney can offer.
However, that is not the case. For example, this month, the biggest release on the platform will be the new limited series about Obi-Wan Kenobi. Star Wars has been healing after the terrible reception the last trilogy had, and these shows have made wonders for the franchise. Obi Wan looks amazing, but every other release on the platform feels lackluster at best.
Today’s release, Snearkerella, feels like a step in the right direction. Yes, the film uses every single cliché that you can find in the cliché encyclopedia, but it also feels like something that could hit with today’s younger audiences. Thanks to a charming protagonist, a classic solid storyline, and some cool production aspects that make it feel fresh.
Snearkerella labels itself as musical, and there are indeed some musical numbers here and there, but they are not enough. Or they are not executed enough throughout the movie, to be more precise, to actually make the movie feel like one. Between these musical numbers, there are long stretches of story that are just as equally gripping and interesting thanks to the actors they have playing them. But it is a warning, that if you are going into Snearkerella looking for a full on musical, this is not the film that will do that.
Snearkerella is directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, and stars Chosen Jacobs, Lexi Underwood, Devyn Nekoda, Juan Chioran, and John Salley. The film retells the story of the classic Cinderella story, but with a twist. In this case, our Cinderella is El, a young artist working in a shoe store that once belonged to her mother, but now is under the rule of his stepfather, and stepbrothers, who make El’s life hell. When he meets the daughter of the owner of the biggest shoe company, they start a relationship that will change their lives, forever.
If you have seen the classic Cinderella animation film, or basically any other adaptation of the tale, you know exactly how the story will work out. Snearkerella follows the formula and the tale without ever-changing a single plot bit. It makes for the watching experience to be one where familiarity gives comfort and relaxation. There is no stress watching this film, you know things will end up right and there will be a happy ending for our main characters.
The place where Snearkerella tries to be different from any other interpretation of the classic tale is in its presentation. Instead of trying to be a magical tale with castles, princes, and princesses, the movie goes for a more urban type of feel, one that is more in line with what the In The Heights audiences would like to watch. In The Heights wasn’t a huge success at the box office and West Side Story either, but both movies have brought the musical back to people’s minds as this feel like the right time for Snearkerella.
Rosenbaum doesn’t go too crazy when it comes to the direction of the movie. She plans her shots simple and true, they give the movie this TV movie quality, it is true, but the movie doesn’t need anything else. She does try to use her available resources to make the musical sequences, and the most pivotal plot moments, a bit special with the use of graphics and VFX. There is nothing here that will blow your mind on a visual level, but there is thought behind it.
When it comes to the songs, although they’re few, they are all fun and catchy. I don’t think there’s any radio hits like We Need To Talk About Bruno in here. But it doesn’t really matter, they work the way they were intended to work, and raise the movie to another level, they come at the most pivotal points in the story, so they aren’t intrusive either.
Maybe the strongest aspect of the movie is its casting. Jacobs, Underwood, and Nekoda are all stars in the making, and they make what should be an old and tired story feel like it could be so much more than it is. Jacobs, and Nekoda especially have amazing chemistry, and it feels like they have so much promise. They are talents worth following.
Snearkerella isn’t the best Cinderella adaptation ever, it doesn’t really do anything different outside the gender swap, but either way it makes for a fun watch. It is fun, emotional, and it is a showcase for new fresh talent. If you need a fix for familiarity, then this is the movie for you.