This week, we watched Cinderella III: A Twist in Time, the third and final entry of Disney’s Cinderella series. This film was released to home video in 2007 and marked the final production overseen by the Australia division of the DisneyToon studios. Though this follows Cinderella II in release order, there are no direct references to the events of that movie and this can be watched directly following the original Cinderella without bothering with the second, somewhat problematic entry.
There is a lot to like in Cinderella III actually, beginning with the intriguing premise. The story picks up where the original Cinderella ends, with Cinderella and the Prince living happily ever after. However, when Lady Tremaine discovers that Cinderella received the help of a Fairy Godmother, she decides to use her magic to turn back time and attempt to put things right by making Anastasia the Prince’s bride. All of the characters from the original are at play here, with almost no new characters at all. Prudence, the King’s housekeeper from Cinderella II, plays a minor role here as well.
Like the original, this sequel brings together some musical elements by introducing original songs for the cast to sing. The music in Cinderella III is noticeably better than the majority of what is written for the DisneyToon sequels. These songs are written by songwriting duo Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, who have lent their talents to numerous projects for television and stage, including several Disney properties. In fact, one such property is the Disney stage show Twice Charmed, which plays for guests of the Disney Cruise Line. Interestingly, not only does this show share almost the exact plot as Cinderella III, it also shares one of its songs, “At the Ball”, which is sung by Jaq and Gus. Zachary and Weiner also wrote the songs for the musical episode of Once Upon a Time as well as the recent Disney+ show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
Apart from the plot, the characterization in Cinderella III is excellent. The characters of both Cinderella and the Prince are fleshed out considerably and in a way that also feels true to the original. We also see Anastasia grow as a character in this story. Anastasia had someone of an arc in Cinderella II (something that is ignored here), but I like her arc much better in this sequel. Other characters such as Lady Tremaine and Drizella remain consistent throughout, which also feels right. The character animation is a bit lacking in places, but that is to be expected with DisneyToon and, in this case, it is far from the train wreck that it could be.
As far as sequels go, Cinderella III: A Twist in Time holds up nicely against the original. My recommendation? Follow up your next viewing of Cinderella with this film and skip Cinderella II entirely. Not only will you not waste your time, you will likely enjoy this film even more.
Next week- the final week in this series- we will be watching The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning. Happy watching and stay tuned for a detailed announcement on our follow-up to 25 Weeks of DisneyToon Sequels! (Hint: The original Cinderella will be included).