The re-makes of the classic fairytale Cinderella are numerous. Some have cemented themselves as classics, and others…not as much (looking at you, Prime Video). Disney, however, has made old things new with a version of the classic tale for the ages with Sneakerella. The gender-bending take on the fairytale that has captivated generations is the re-make we need in our time.
For starters, the performances are stellar. Chosen Jacobs, in particular, understood the assignment in a truly spectacular way. His El is so incredibly endearing every step of the way. Even in his imperfections, he is perfectly relatable in so many ways. Everything about this character is captivating. Being surrounded by those who love and support him, his confidence is able to shine through. Sneakerella manages to perfectly balance the romantic story with the power of family and friendship. El is truly the Disney Prince we have been waiting for.
Kira King, played by Lexi Underwood, is the Princess Charming that Disney has needed for a long time. Her character growth through the movie is among the strongest. She arguably comes the furthest along, as we see her be able to find herself. Watching her find her own voice, even if it’s saying something different than what her family wants. This character has an incredibly bright future ahead, and I for one would welcome seeing Underwood reprise this role again.
Underwood and Jacobs are so well-matched and play off of one another so well. Their chemistry is clear in every scene. Even when their motivations are in conflict, they’re able to return to one another’s humanity. Their relationship captures the essence of what makes the trope of two people from wildly different backgrounds so compelling. While happily ever after may be a long way off, the focus on each moment is commendable. There may be a future for these two yet.
Even the villains are inspired. Having evil stepbrothers, rather than stepsisters, just works on a fundamental level. Kolton Stewart and Hayward Leach brilliantly capture the comedy and meanness of these characters, while never feeling overdone. Bryan Terrell Clark brings such a heart to the evil step-parent trope. He’s less of a villain but is instead an over-worked, grieving man who needs a bit more love and support.
Sneakerella also has the distinction, in this writer’s opinion, of having the greatest rendition of ‘A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes’. This was never one of my favourite iconic Disney tunes. In fact, I’d personally make the argument that it’s among the bottom tier of songs we’ve come to associate with Disney. Sneakerella’s version is breathtakingly beautiful. The entire soundtrack of this movie is original and dynamic and is incredibly accessible for music lovers across genres.
Sneakerella manages to avoid so many of the traps that Cinderella remakes seem to fall into. It brilliantly captures what makes the source material so timeless, while seamlessly blending a modern story for modern audiences. Cinderella is a simple enough tale. When it’s given new life, however, as in Sneakerella, it has the potential to be mesmerizing.
Sneakerella is available to stream on Disney+.