THE DAILY AZTEC, Thursday, October 30, 1997
movie review

Move over Julie  Moesha's in da' house
Disney releases a "Cinderella" for all cultures

By Ross von Metzke
Staff Writer

Last Christmas, movie-going fans of musicals were treated to a little picture
called "Evita." Since musicals have officially been brought back to the big
screen (movie versions of "Phantom of the Opera," "Les Miserables" and
"Chicago" are all in the works), it seems only fitting that a few should be
available on television.

Television and recording superstar Brandy takes on the title role in
"Cinderella" with grace and distinction. She captures the elegance created by
Julie Andrews nearly 40 years earlier and holds on for a fun ride down fairy-
tale lane, even though her size-11 foot couldn't be squeezed into the dainty
glass slipper. 

Though Brandy has no other large flaws in her portrayal of America's favorite
dirt-poor damsel, one begins to wonder why she sounds so beautiful on songs
like "Impossible" and "A Lovely Night," yet warbles in insecurity on the upper
notes of "In My Own Little Corner" and "The Sweetest Sounds."

The story is virtually unchanged from previous tellings. Cinderella 
longs for something more out of life than sweeping floors and following the
orders of her evil stepmother (played with devilish wit by Broadway legend
Bernadette Peters). The prince (Paolo Montalban, who has a pleasant voice)
yearns for a simple life without the burdens of royalty. The two find each
other and are 
instantly smitten. And they all live happily ever after.

Well, almost. The changes in the story are few but effective. For 
instance, in this version it is implied that the stepsisters, Minerva 
(played by hilarious scene-stealer Natalie Desselle) and Calliope 
(played by Veanne Cox, who is pathetically desperate for laughs), don't really
hate Cinderella. Instead, they are merely products of their stepmother's
brainwashing.

The second change is the lingering presence of the fairy godmother (Whitney
Houston, whose talent is much more noticeable and effective on the small
screen than it has ever been in her motion-picture endeavors). Though some may
argue that this adjustment was made in an effort to give Houston more screen
time, it also works to improve the quality of the story. Her hair may look
like a choice purchase from Yardage Town, but 
her performance is effective.

Rounding out the eclectic cast are Whoopi Goldberg as meddling Queen
Constantina and "Seinfeld"'s Jason Alexander as the much put-upon servant of
the prince. Both are on hand with comedic genius to provide the film with many
of its entertaining moments.

Houston has said this film is important to her because she wants 
"children of all colors to be able to watch this program, enjoy it and know
that they, too, can have their dreams come true." 

The message is important, and the film does a fine job of getting it across to
viewers.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" airs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov.
2, as a part of ABC's"The Wonderful World of Disney."