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Review: It’s bad movie time again with 'Cinderella'

Edited by GreenReaper as of Thu 7 Mar 2013 - 02:21
Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (9 votes)

Cinderella: Once Upon a Time in the WestIf tasked with coming up with a reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 – first of all, I wouldn’t actually reboot it. I’d have Crow, Tom Servo and a new host back on the Satellite of Love with absolutely no explanation, because it’s the show with “repeat to yourself it’s just a show, you really should relax” in the theme song.

Second, I wouldn’t pitch it to Comedy Central or Syfy, but to a family oriented channel, because God knows there are enough lousy kid’s movies to go after; I’d first go after The Hub, because they seem to go after the cult, family appropriate shows, they already have a working relationship with Shout! Factory, the company that does the MST3K DVDs (and that would help get them rights to air older episodes, probably) and finally it would be about the only way to do My Little Pony: The Movie, which I’ve already laid the groundwork for. Use that for the series premiere; relatively high profile movie for the opener!

Finally, I’d pitch myself as the host – this is a fantasy that will eventually segue into a review of a bad movie, so you might as well go for it, right?

The True Story of Puss in Boots is a definite get. Hyenas might not work for the new direction of the show, but I have another movie in mind. It’s called Cinderella, and definitely falls into the fantasy MST3K reboot territory.

Cinderella (it may or may not be subtitled “Once Upon a Time in the West;” I’m really not sure) is a French CGI/motion capture animated movie released in America as a straight-to-DVD Wal-Mart exclusive. Featuring a completely funny animal cast, it is an obvious rip-off of an American blockbuster; surprisingly, not Disney’s Cinderella, but instead Rango.

Plot and characters

Cinderella, in this movie, is an antelope (I’m assuming a pronghorn, though her horns don’t prong, as it were) who works in the saloon owned by her evil stepmother dog, Felicity, who rules the small Western town of Felicity City with an iron fist. Cinderella has two ugly dog stepsisters; her only friend is a bizarre creature named Little Cloud who is some kind of tribal shaman. I have no idea what animal he is supposed to be.

A dog prince, Vladimir, is visiting the Wild West with his mother, a turkey (yes, a turkey) who likes to cheat at cards. It’s kind of her hobby. They arrive in Felicity City via train, after a mild misadventure involving pirate monkeys riding buzzards, and Felicity throws a party at the saloon in the hopes of getting the prince to turn one of her daughters into a princess. Cinderella is obviously not invited.

Little Cloud uses his shaman magic to summon ancient turkey spirits (yes, more turkeys) to give Cinderella a disguise so she can attend the ball. At the bar, the prince is not impressed with his fellow canines, but the mysterious antelope girl wins his heart – first with her dancing, then with her bar brawling skills when the monkey pirates return for a second try at kidnapping the prince and his turkey mom. They only manage to kidnap the turkey, however, so Cinderella must help the prince rescue her from the monkeys.

Evil stepmother Felicity and ugly stepsisters follow after, because Felicity out-cheated turkey mom in cards during the party and won the prince’s hand in marriage for one of her daughters. Oh, and obviously, the prince no longer recognizes Cinderella after the turkey magic disappears; luckily, she lost a tooth during the bar fight, because that’s what they went with to replace the glass slipper.
Cinderella headshot
So that’s the setup; after a series of bizarre shenanigans in the desert, all plot points converge on a pirate ship in the middle of the desert — because, hey, if you’re going to rip off one Gore Verbinski movie, might as well rip off another. Inexplicably, it actually starts sinking for the climax. On dry land. Oh, well, it makes about as much sense as everything else that happens.

Animation and character design

I have to give the movie a bit of credit; the animation and character design are not horrible. That’s one advantage of trying to pass yourself off as a movie that is gloriously ugly in its character design. You can’t mess it up that bad; if things look ugly, it’s because it’s supposed to look ugly. At least, you can use that as an excuse. The animation is also fairly decent; not that stiff. They used motion capture, after all. Dialogue doesn’t always match the mouth, but that’s more bad dubbing than bad animation.

I honestly liked Cinderella’s character design; she looks especially nice in her blue dress granted by magical turkeys, though I will say that her pigtails just kind of sprout out of her head. Her character design does not include what furries would call “headfur,” other than the pigtails. It’s a bit odd. Another character design I was surprised to find myself kind of digging was the turkey mom’s. A decent mix of ugly and pretty; she wouldn’t look out of place in the actual Rango.

The background characters are a mixed bag. It wasn’t quite as successful as Rango in either numbers or variety, but for what the movie is, it’s mildly impressive. That said, the movie suffered horribly from misplaced wildlife; meerkats abound, I’m guessing the ostriches replace Rango’s roadrunners because the French artists had no idea what those were, and in a memorably bad movie moment, three buffalo show up — except they’re not American bison, they’re water buffalo! It extends to the dialogue; the turkey magic lasts only until the “jackal” howls twelve times.


Despite surprisingly decent animation and character design, the movie itself is rather boring; most of the laughs come from awkward, bad movie stuff rather than genuine humor. It’s the perfect MST3K movie; almost worth watching on its own merits, but not quite.


Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Oh, yeah! Flayrah readers should have a ball recommending movies for this!

Let me start that ball rolling with “Titanic”. Not the James Cameron classic, but “Titanic: The Animated Movie”. I wrote about this here in 2001, copying a story by Jerry Beck on his Cartoon Brew website. The story is still up and its weblinks seem to still work, so you can see for yourself how Maxie the mouse, Geoffrey the cat, Danny the Dalmatian, Hector the magpie, and others have a fun-filled adventure (which everybody survives) on the Titanic.


Bad Movie Planet, a delightful website which reviews the worst movies ever made (and the most obscure movies on it's Unknown Movies page), has tracked down a copy of the Italian TITANIC: THE ANIMATED MOVIE, a European 2001 direct to video release.

This insanely bad idea is clearly aimed toward a family audience, especially with this blurb on the back of the video package: "CHILD-FRIENDLY ENDING ASSURES EVERYONE IS RESCUED AND LIVES HAPPILY EVER AFTER!" -- So much for life's harsh realities!?The box goes on to explain the film:"Set aboard the famous ship Titanic, where you will meet many lovable characters as they embark on a fun-filled adventure across the sea! Maxie the mouse, Geoffrey the cat, Danny the Dalmatian, Hector the Magpie and more!! Together these characters conjure up delightful entertainment for kids of all ages!?As it happened in the real story, the Titanic will hit the iceberg but only to determine the beginning of a new life full of hope for everybody!! Filled with hilarious antics, fun music and enchanting characters this movie is sure to be a hit with the entire family!"?Read Keith Baily's hilarious (but true) review by clicking HERE!”

More: IMDb says that the original title of this 1999 Italian theatrical feature is "The Legend of the Titanic" (La leggenda del Titanic), and that it has a 2004 sequel!. "In Search of the Titanic" (Tentacolino). So there is another candidate for your anthropomorphic MST3K.

(I haven't had so much fun since a well-known writer for "The Twilight Zone" back in the 1960s seriously suggested that I pitch my book reviews as a new TV series; each half-hour episode to be a visual/dramatic plot synopsis of the novel that I was recommending. Gee, do you really think that any TV or animation production company would get excited about that?)

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

There was a sequel to that Titanic movie too... a titanic sequel... let that sink in for a moment.

The Nostalgia Critic did a review of both, which is where I know those from.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

The antelope looks more like a Thomson's gazelle than a pronghorn. Maybe this was supposed to be an African American Old West? IDK

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Hey, the entire French trailer for Cinderella in the Far West is on YouTube. Yeah, I'm not sure what animal Little Cloud is, either. An elderly, really ratty prairie dog, maybe?

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Y'know, if that's Little Cloud on that video cover? He looks like a sheep. Since the French character designers got so much other culture/region/species stuff wrong, well, why not a sheep, right?

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

You can see Little Cloud more clearly in the French trailer on YouTube. Well, if he is a sheep, he is an even rattier sheep than a prairie dog. He also seems too short to be a sheep, although this movie does not seem to have gone out of its way to keep the anthropomorphized animals consistent with their real-animal sizes.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Crossaffliction has found "Legend of Kung-Fu Rabbit" at Walmart. That's another one for your Furry MST3K! Oh, and Walmart has "Delhi Safari" and "Adventures in Zambezia", too. Are those direct-to-video releases in the U.S.?

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Honestly I think I highly disagree with the rip off claim.

Similarity doesn't always mean rip off, it's how culture works a lot.. Remixing and re boots can be pretty good.

I have not seen this movie, but was the places, plot, etc exacly the same? Or was it just the art style?

I'm going to guess it's because the art style looked like Rango, in other words: every movie culture, video game culture, etc is a "rip off". Sorry if I guessed wrong.

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About the author

crossaffliction (Brendan Kachel)read storiescontact (login required)

a reporter and Red Fox from Hooker, Oklahoma, interested in movies, horror, stand up comedy

Formerly Wichita's only furry comic.