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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: A Cinderella Story (1 Viewer)

Herb Kane

May 7, 2001

A Cinderella Story

Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 2004
Rated: PG
Film Length: 95 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Enhanced Widescreen
Audio: DD 5.1
Color/B&W: Color
Languages: English & French
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
MSRP: $27.95
Package: Keepcase

The Feature:
Sam Montgomery (played by Hilary Duff) has a father who loves her more than anything. Her childhood with him is perfect. They play baseball, read stories and hang out at the diner her dad owns. Things change however when her father remarries a woman with two children and then is suddenly killed in an earthquake. Left alone now with her new step-mother and step-sisters, Sam’s childhood becomes anything but perfect.

Known around school as “Diner Girl” because she is forced to work before and after school at the family diner, Sam struggles to find her way and hold on to her dreams. A straight “A” student, Sam’s greatest wish is to attend Princeton. Where else would a girl find her Prince? When a secret e-mail buddy, Austin (played by Chad Michael Murray) arranges to meet her at the Halloween dance, Sam wonder’s where this will lead. This is the boy to whom Sam has revealed her most intimate secrets and desires. Dressed as a Princess (ok you knew that was going to happen, right?), Sam waits for her mystery man on the dance floor at the appointed hour. When he appears, dressed as Prince Charming (ok, you knew that too), Sam is shocked to find that he’s the most popular boy at school, Austin Ames. Panicked by the belief that he could never accept her for who she really is, Sam leaves the dance before revealing herself to him.

And so begins the search for Prince Charming to find his Cinderella. With the help of his friends, Austin searches for the girl he knows he belongs with. However, jealousy rears its ugly head when Austin’s ex-girlfriend discovers that Sam is Cinderella and sets out to humiliate her. Forced to take a stand, Sam realizes that only she can turn her dreams into reality.

The Feature: 3/5

The video is presented in a 1.85:1 enhanced widescreen transfer and it looks as though WB has done another terrific job.

Colors are luscious and vibrant and saturation seems perfect. Blacks are as dark as imaginable and whites are stark and clean. Skin tones looked perfectly real and accurate.

Image definition was almost perfect while there were a few occasions of a slightly soft image, although I can’t imagine this being transfer related. There is virtually no grain to speak of but the image did sport quite a bit of depth and dimensionality.

With a brand new film and transfer, one would expect perfection in terms of dirt and blemishes and that’s exactly what we get. This is immaculate.

There was no indication whatsoever of any compression errors or edge enhancement. A near perfect effort.

WARNING: A FULLSCREEN version exists.

Video: 4.5/5

The track is encoded DD 5.1 and does a fairly admirable job, though it’s not going to serve as a demo piece. I wouldn’t call the track aggressive but it is certainly more than capable.

The track is perfectly clean – free of any hiss or other distractions. Dialogue was always exceptionally bold and intelligible.

There is an average amount of range to the track and the majority of information is anchored from the front of the soundstage, which is satisfactorily wide.

The surrounds were deployed mostly for ambiance (the din inside the diner, the dance etc.) and they do not standout. The use of LFE was rather invisible.

Audio: 3.5/5

Special Features:
Though the disc boasts two pages of various special features, don’t be fooled. These are basically light and fluffy and contain very little substantive information pertaining to the film itself. They are:
[*] Hanging out with Hilary and Friends (a cast commentary) is a collection of cast members including Hilary Duff. Really, the romp isn’t all that informative. They offer up very few bits of real interest – skip this one.
[*] Cinderella Couture: The Making of A Fashionably Modern Fairytale meets with the costume and make-up gurus as they discuss the challenges of dressing these folks up for the film. Duration: 8:14 minutes.
[*] Find your Prince/Princess Challenge is a short interactive where you answer questions to see if you can find the person of your dreams. Duration: 1:06 minutes.
[*] Our Lips Are Sealed Music Video – Hilary and Haylie Duff. The video looks and sounds good, which appears to have been shot in downtown Toronto. Duration: 3:16 minutes.
[*] There is also a collection of Screen Tests which are in pretty rough shape. Duration: 8:50 minutes.
[*] Kids with a Cause PSA is a short spiel from Hilary who is the international spokesperson. Duration: 1:02 minutes.
[*] Also included is a small group of Additional Scenes which would have added very little to the show. Duration: 2:22 minutes.
[*] The Theatrical Trailer is also included and is in great shape. Duration: 2:19 minutes.
[*] And finally there is a DVD-ROM web link.

Special Features: 2/5

**Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**

Final Thoughts:
It should come as no surprise that this film isn’t original, nor does it do anything that hasn’t been tried dozens of times already. A Cinderella Story is as formulaic and as clichéd as any teen film ever made. It’s a film that stars one of the hottest young names in the business right now, whose target group is going to be young teen girls. However, as a father of two young boys who hang pretty closely with their three teenage cousins (all girls), I get to see my fair share of teeny-bopper flicks and admittedly, this is better than most.

I suspect that given the demographic target audience, Hilary quite often finds herself being compared to the Olsen twins. And while she might not have what the sisters have accomplished in terms of building a teenage factory marketing empire, she has been blessed with incredibly good looks – whether that’s enough to secure her future, is a different story.

If you have young teens or someone in your household with a crush on Hilary, you need not worry about the presentation of A Cinderella Story.

Overall Rating: 3/5 (not an average)

Release Date: October 19th, 2004


Second Unit
Oct 12, 2001
I watched this with my kids and found it better than expected. A rental only, corny at spots, but still a good family night flick.


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