Have I mentioned that I'm ridiculously excited about Disney's Cinderella live action movie that is coming out in 18 days on March 13th?? I've read comments around the internet suggesting that Disney really blew it by making another Cinderella movie, and that everyone has seen the story enough times already. I respectfully disagree. For me, this movie is (in true Disney fashion) a dream come true. I never dared to even hope that there would be another Cinderella movie...but here it comes. Premiering in less than a month. I have watched the trailer for Cinderella about thirty times now (no exaggeration...) and it makes me weep every time--especially the part when Ella's mother says, Where there is kindness, there is goodness, and where there is goodness...there is magic! Ahh! Goosebumps! It's going to be an amazing movie. It has to be.
Of course I have also been anticipating the new Cinderella doll lines with significant enthusiasm. Both the Disney Store and Mattel have produced versions of the main characters, and I thought it would be fun to do a comparison of the first pair of dolls I was able to get my hands on: "Cinderella and the Prince" ($69.95 from the Disney Store) and "Cinderella Wedding Day" ($29.99 from Mattel).
|Cinderella from the Disney Store's "Cinderella and the Prince" set.|
I purchased my dolls from the Disney Store and Entertainment Earth. The Disney Store's "Cinderella and the Prince" box is much larger (and heavier!) than the Mattel box:
Cinderella is positioned so that she is gazing lovingly up at the Prince...
I'll look at Mattel's Cinderella first, and then crack open the Disney Store set. The Mattel doll comes in a plastic and cardboard box with butterfly-themed decorations:
I like how the transparent front of the box fades into an opaque white area bearing the name of the doll. This makes it look like Cinderella is standing in the mist.
The top front corners of the box are flattened and have purple butterfly decorations on them. The back of the box is made out of cardboard and has a photograph of the doll with a short section of text that reads: The spell may have broken at midnight, but true love lasts forever. With the help of a little glass slipper, the prince re-unites with Ella and makes her his beautiful bride.
The plastic front of the box is held to the cardboard back with a few plastic tabs. These are pretty easy to detach without messing up the rest of the box. Cinderella is attached to the backdrop with a mix of plastic strips, tiny plastic ties, and rubber bands. Nothing is very difficult to manage, although I removed the doll slowly and carefully so as not to tug at any forgotten plastic ties that were in her dress.
Cinderella is displayed against a backdrop with a starry dark blue midnight scene from the palace:
Cinderella's dress comes with a thick tissue paper petticoat that keeps the skirt looking nice and full inside the box:
This doll does not come with a stand, and I don't have any stands that fit her perfectly. I assumed that the Barbie Basic stands would work, but they don't.
She's perched on a Poppy Parker stand here, but a regular Kaiser stand works better.
Cinderella is wearing an off-white floral wedding dress and has a thin tulle veil that hangs part of the way down her back:
The veil is sewn into place and doesn't have any way to be re-attached if the stitches are cut. I've moved the veil to the side a bit here so that you can see the length better, and also so that you can see the (wrinkled) back of Cinderella's dress:
The wrinkles in the dress are partly from being in the box, but also partly from the gathers at the waistline. Only the wrinkles at the very bottom of the dress remain after a few days. The dress is made out a very stiff fabric that doesn't hang or flounce nicely at all.
The top part of this doll comes out of the box looking much more elegant than the bottom. She has a nice, neat up-do hairstyle and some plastic jewelry. Also, Cinderella's arms (despite being unarticulated) are molded into dynamic, graceful positions that suit the character:
I don't think the face mold of this doll looks much like Lily James. She's very pretty, but I'd never be able to tell who she was meant to be if I didn't know already. This doll actually reminds me of Grace Kelly a little bit, although her face mold is very different from that on Mattel's Grace Kelly doll.
The doll hints at some of Lily James' features, but I don't think there was much effort or intent to create a perfectly accurate replica of the lovely actress. I mean, I can see that the doll has thick eyebrows and a bow-shaped upper lip (both prominent features on Miss James) but she's missing the spunk of James' Cinderella...and she's also missing the actresses' dazzling smile.
Resemblance issues aside, I really like this doll's face. She has an especially elegant half profile that I think shows off the arch of her eyebrows very well:
Her features are very symmetric and well-painted. I find the large blue part of the earrings slightly distracting, though, and think plain gold would have been better (from what I've seen, the style of this earring is accurate to the movie, but it's way, way out of scale):
Like Lily James, this Cinderella doll has dark brown eyes. I find this a refreshing change from the animated character's traditional blue:
My doll has a small paint defect next to the iris of her right eye, but that's the only face paint anomaly I can find:
Her left eye is flawless, with a chestnut iris (there are no line details in the iris) highlighted by a thick black rim and a tan reflective crescent. The eyelashes are thick, but sparse--especially on the bottom:
Cinderella has bright pink lips with a fine sheen of glitter:
Cinderella's hair is pulled up into a high ponytail with the ends curled under and plastered into place with some kind of styling product. Making the hairdo slightly fancier is a small section of hair from the front of the head that is twisted and pulled off to the side before it gets included into the ponytail:
Cinderella is also wearing a gold plastic tiara that obscures part of her hairstyle. This piece is tied into the hair at either side of the doll's head with pale thread.
The tulle veil is stitched up under the curl of the ponytail and also secured with a single stitch at the back of the head:
Here's a close-up of the stitch that holds the back of the veil in place:
You can also see that the hair is two-toned with some platinum highlights...and also that it has a ton of hairstyling product in it!
The large earrings cannot be removed. They have a sloppily-painted blue bow at the top and a hanging line of gold flowers:
The matching gold tiara can be removed. I simply cut one of the stitches on the side of Cinderella's head and the other side came loose. I guess the thread went through the doll's head? Ow. Anyway, the tiara is fine, but again, I find that the sparse brightly-colored areas detract from the overall elegance of the piece:
I do like the delicate little vines and flowers that run along either side:
With the tiara removed, it's a bit easier to see the details of the hairstyle. There's another section of twisted hair in the back that loops up to cover the elastic band that holds the ponytail. This is a nice touch:
The tiara leaves behind a bit of denting in the stiff hair, but it's not too bad...and the tiara can be set back on the doll's head and will stay nicely in place.
Cinderella's only other piece of jewelry is a huge gold plastic flower-shaped ring:
This ring is not removable, and is secured in place by a ball on the palm of Cinderella's hand:
Now let's take a closer look at Cinderella's wedding dress:
The main body of the dress is made out of a stiff, shiny off-white material. This fabric makes up the princess-seamed, strapless bodice of the dress. On top of the white bodice, there's a fine tulle layer with a rounded neck and full sleeves. The tulle neckline is decorated with a colorful flower appliqué. The skirt is attached to the bodice with a few gathers, although these are not perfectly symmetric around the point of the basque waistline:
|The pleats are shifted to the doll's right side.|
I think the iron-on quality and bright coloration of the flowers detracts from the elegant shape of the dress. I am very curious to see what this dress looks like in the movie!
Despite the stiffness of the dress fabric, the skirt falls in some nice folds--especially along the sides:
However, if Cinderella is made to lift up a corner of her dress, it doesn't hang nicely at all--the fabric is simply too stiff:
The satiny finish of the skirt is decorated with a flower pattern. This is not an iron-on appliqué like it is with the bodice--the flowers are printed right onto the fabric.
The dress comes off in one piece after a short section of velcro in the back of the bodice is released. The stiffness of the dress allows it to stand on its own...and can even help balance the doll.
Here's a close-up of the tulle bodice:
The construction seems decent here. The seam allowances are small, but the fabric doesn't appear to be at risk of unraveling.
Under the dress, Cinderella is wearing cream-colored pumps with molded flowers on the front. At first, I was upset that these shoes weren't glass slippers, but then it occurred to me that Cinderella probably splurged and bought herself a new pair of shoes for the wedding.
Cinderella has a Barbie body with only five points of articulation. I knew this when I bought her, so I wasn't too disappointed when I saw the body. I am disappointed, however, by how hard it is to find a fully articulated Barbie doll these days, though. Is it only the Style dolls that have jointed limbs anymore? It's really too bad because those articulated bodies are great.
This doll is very pale with a creamy complexion. I am not experienced with the Barbie skin tones, so I can't tell you exactly what shade she is. She appears ever-so-slightly darker and yellower in some of these pictures than she is in real life.
Cinderella has rotating hinge shoulders and hinged hips with a tiny amount of sideways flexibility. She can't do side-to-side splits much at all.
She can do full front-to-back splits, though:
The little bit of sideways flexibility in the hips also allows Cinderella to cross her legs slightly, which is nice:
And even though she can't do much with her arms, they are molded into interesting shapes:
Here are a few more pictures of the Mattel Cinderella before I move on to the Disney Store dolls:
The Disney Store's "Cinderella and the Prince" gift set box is quite large and heavy. Much of the weight comes from the Prince figure and his big boots. The weight lends an air of quality to the set, but I have to admit that I choked a little when I saw the price. This set retails for $69.95, but with shipping (I don't have a local Disney Store) the total price was $79.90...basically $80. That's uncomfortably high.
The box is plastic on five sides with a cardboard back--just like the Mattel box. This box has more subtle decoration than the Mattel box, though. Instead of having colorful butterflies and scrolls around all of the edges, this box has a single large gold-lined butterfly. The outer edges of the butterfly's wings are actually cut into the plastic so that it's possible to lift up the wings and stick a finger into the box.
There are a few subtle gold scrolls along the sides of the box, too. One of my favorite features of the box is that it has an actual photograph from the movie on the back. This is the only glimpse of Cinderella's real wedding dress that I have seen:
The couple look wonderful here, I think, and Cinderella's dress is sublime. I love how it looks simple and delicate on the top and then very rich and full in the back. I can't wait to see more of it in the movie.
I also like looking at this picture to see how accurate some of the dolls' accessories are to the movie. For instance, you can see the rough shape of Ella's earrings here, and also the details in her hairstyle and tiara:
The text at the bottom of the box talks about the Disney Film Collection dolls and why they are special: ...the collection features carefully crafted sculpts and intricate costume details that bring to life our favorite characters from the big screen.
The plastic front of the box is attached with tabs and tape circles, and is pretty easy to remove.
Both Cinderella and the Prince are mounted in the box with their feet floating about an inch away from the bottom of the box:
|Walking on air?|
...but I have no idea what the Prince is looking at:
|He seems a little distracted.|
Both dolls have painted wedding bands on their left hands, and you can see a little bit of Cinderella's ring here:
The backdrop on this box is another moonlit scene from the palace, but this setting includes some cutout features that give the backdrop a neat three dimensional effect:
Most of the beauty and shape of this backdrop is blocked when the two dolls are still in their packaging, which is a shame.
This Cinderella doll comes with a real petticoat--not just tissue paper padding. However, as I was investigating the petticoat, I encountered an unpleasant surprise:
|Very badly warped legs.|
The other thing that frustrated me right away with this doll is that the dozen or so tiny plastic ties that were holding her outfit in place all left holes in the clothing. If the rationale for charging $35 for this doll is her "intricate costume," then please don't punch holes in that costume to get the doll into her box.
The shoes are pretty unremarkable, and they look very white next to the lovely golden cream color of the dress:
Things didn't look very good for the Prince at this point, but after some sincere apologies...
All was forgiven, and the two lived happily ever after.
Cinderella does look dramatic in her lovely dress, though, and the holes are impossible to see from any kind of a distance:
However...Cinderella's left arm was fastened to the backdrop with a clear rubber band, and this band was tied so tightly...
That it ripped and frayed the fragile tulle sleeve:
I really hope this is just bad luck and that other collectors are not having the same issues with this doll.
The gown really is lovely, though, and has a much more impressively full cut than the Mattel doll's dress. Not only does the dress itself fan out about six inches behind the doll, but the long chiffon veil has the same length and fullness as the train:
Here's the train spread out on top of the dress:
And here's the dress with the veil pushed to the side:
This dress also came out of the box with some wrinkles in the back, but the fabric is softer and much less stiff than the Mattel doll's dress, so the wrinkles hung out fairly quickly.
The Cinderella doll has a new face sculpt that is unique to this character. I don't think she looks much like Lily James, though:
Here's a screen shot of Miss James in Cinderella for those who are not familiar with her:
|From the Walt Disney official trailer.|
And here's the doll again with her side-glancing eyes facing the camera:
The sculpt captures Lily James' head shape pretty well, but the size of the head is too large. I also don't see much in this doll's features that reminds me of the actress. The eyebrows aren't even painted to be very thick or dark. It looks like the molded shape of the doll's mouth might have the bowed curve and turned-down edges of Miss James' mouth, but the lip coloring doesn't enhance these lines. The painted mouth has slightly turned-up edges, suggesting a smile, but the overall look of the face doesn't have any of Ella's infectious joy.
While I think the Mattel doll has a more conventionally pretty face, I think the Disney Store Cinderella has more personality in her features--a quality that I tend to treasure in my dolls. Unfortunately, the personality in this face doesn't seem much like the personality of the movie character.
This Cinderella has chocolate brown eyes that appear lighter due to a tan ring on the inside of the iris.
Lily James' eyes are wide and expressive...and a very rich dark brown:
My doll's eyes are very nicely painted, with brown eyeliner and subtle lavender eyeshadow. There's even a tiny pink dot at the inside corner (inner canthus) of Cinderella's eye:
The lips are painted pale rose and do not have any glitter:
This doll is wearing earrings, a tiara and a veil--all of which are removable.
The earrings have a similar style to the Mattel doll's earrings, with a colorful area at the top (purple flowers in this case) and then a thinner golden dangling section with molded flowers:
These earrings are painted well, and even have a small silver dot at the center of each purple flower:
This doll's tiara is headband-shaped. It is tucked into her hair on either side and stitched into place:
The tiara is made out of gold plastic and has painted flowers, just like the Mattel tiara. I like the choice of paint colors on this tiara better, though, because they have a metallic sheen that blends with the gold nicely.
The long chiffon veil is removable and can easily be put back on, thanks to a sturdy loop of elastic:
Without the veil, it's easier to see the details of Cinderella's hairstyle. Her hair is pulled back into a simple high ponytail, but the ends of the ponytail are divided into sections and curled under to create the illusion of a bun.
Unfortunately, my doll's hair is squished on the right side, so the style isn't symmetric:
This picture (with the veil back on) shows how the hair is pushed up on the doll's right side:
This hairstyle seems very accurate to the movie, but (as with the earrings) the size is way off. The doll's hair is massive.
This version of Cinderella's wedding dress is significantly nicer than the Mattel version. First of all, it is made out of a lot more material. Second, the material is pretty nice. It is a cream-colored satiny fabric with a bit of drape and a beautiful golden shimmer.
This dress actually comes in two pieces--the bodice is separate, with a full velcro closure in the back:
The bodice has printed flowers with rhinestone accents along its asymmetric neckline. I like the jewel tones of the flowers--they are much more elegant than the opaque iron-on flowers of the Mattel dress. My only complaint here is that some of the rhinestones could have been placed in less suggestive areas...
Here's the bodice on its own--it has sheer sleeves and a sheer neck, but one of the shoulder straps is made out of the cream-colored satin:
The construction is good, with robust seam allowances. There is even a light gauzy liner on the inside of the satin areas:
The skirt is very full and has a long, dramatic train. It has a colorful, detailed flower pattern printed all along the hem, with large sections of flowers and vines running up along the sides:
The fabric of the dress is infused with very fine golden glitter--part of what gives the dress its lovely shine. This glitter does not shed, which is nice.
In contrast to the Mattel dress, when Cinderella is made to lift up a corner of this gown, the fabric folds and drapes in an attractive way:
Underneath the bodice, the skirt has a nicely-made pointed waistband:
This closes in the back with a small square of velcro.
Under the skirt, Cinderella is wearing a drop-waisted white petticoat with stiff tulle:
This doll has the same body as the 2014 Disney Store Princesses, with eleven points of articulation and internal knee joints.
My doll has a defect in her left hip joint, which is part of why her legs look so warped and bow-legged. I am pretty dismayed to have yet another Disney Store doll with leg issues, but I also feel a bit of kinship with this doll, since I don't have a good left leg right now, either!
|Bum leg buddies!|
You can see that the hip doesn't seat all of the way into the joint socket on the left side:
For a clearer view, here are the legs without a stand:
The hip defect is the biggest problem here because it interferes with the doll's flexibility. However, even if the hips had both been normal, this doll still would have come out of the box with badly warped knees and lower legs.
I think I can see what the issue is with the hip joint, and it looks like it might be fixable. On the normal side, you can see the white plastic t-shaped hip connector, with little fragments of skin-colored vinyl around it:
On the bad side, the t-shaped connector is still completely covered in vinyl.
The factory must mold the vinyl doll around this hip joint and then cut away the vinyl where it isn't needed. This doll's production missed a step. The extra bulk covering the joint makes the leg very stiff and inflexible. I tried to use some very small scissors to carve away the excess vinyl, but I couldn't get it completely removed. I'll keep working on it.
With all of the attention I paid to this doll's leg defect, I almost forgot about her shoes! She comes wearing very plain white plastic pumps:
The shoes are tied onto Cinderella's feet with clear rubber bands, and these bands leave behind some dents:
|Fairly common with all Disney Store dolls.|
Here's my favorite picture of the Disney Store Cinderella:
I was very interested in getting a close look at the Prince Charming doll from this set because I have never owned a Disney Store male doll before. Well, that's not exactly true. I guess I own the Classic Prince from the animated Cinderella, but he's still in the showcase gift set box he came in. Not sure that counts.
It's certainly true that I have never inspected a Disney Store male doll up close before--or reviewed one. I did not know what to expect.
The first thing that struck me about the Prince was his weight. He is more solid than the Disney Store Princesses, and he also has these large black vinyl boots that add a lot to his heft. The boots also help him stand up really well on his own:
|Prince in Boots.|
The second thing I noticed about the Prince is that he is dressed really nicely. I love his sueded blue jacket with all of the gold embroidery. It is quite striking:
The Prince's face is a little funny, though. Like Cinderella, the Prince has a unique face mold, but I don't see a huge resemblance to
Robb Stark Richard Madden--the actor who plays the Prince in the new movie. He looks handsome, for sure, but also a little suspicious or shifty:
Even when his side-glancing eyes are looking at the camera, I feel like he doesn't trust me:
|You look like a Lannister.|
Here's a screen shot of Richard Madden from the movie:
|Look at that smile!|
As an aside, I am desperately curious to know if they will give this Prince Charming a real name in the movie. I think he is meant to be Henri or Henry, if Ever After is any indication, but I can't find any information about the character's name in the new movie. We'll find out soon!
So anyway, Richard Madden has gorgeous, clear, sky blue eyes. I mean, these eyes are as blue as they come. The doll has what are essentially brown eyes...with tiny little blue crescents around the pupils. Also, Richard Madden has a killer megawatt smile...and the doll is a serious grump:
|Winter is coming...|
Not only are these eyes mostly brown with just a hint of blue, but the inner edge of the iris is painted with a strange speckled brown color that seems like a peculiar choice:
This doll has a nice profile and molded dark hair. I generally prefer molded hair on male dolls, simply because I have seen so few rooted male dolls where the hair is done really well.
The Prince has a lot more detail in his ears than the female dolls tend to have:
Now, let's take a look at this amazing coat:
A white ribbon sash runs diagonally across the Prince's chest, bearing two large plastic medals:
Here are the medals up close:
There's also a third decoration right under the Prince's collar:
The jacket has large gold plastic epaulettes on each shoulder. These are stitched to the underlying fabric of the coat:
The epaulettes look good, but I do wonder how securely they are sewn on, and if they might be at risk for falling off over time.
The white ribbon sash fastens with velcro under the Prince's right arm, but is stitched to the coat on the left side:
Under the sash, the front of the coat is covered with gold embroidered decorations and tiny gold plastic buttons (these are glued on):
The gold buttons are only decorative--the coat actually opens along a velcro seam...to reveal that there's no underlying shirt:
The coat is well-constructed and even has a satin lining on the back and down the full tail of the coat:
|Looks like the epaulettes are held in place with one gold stitch...|
I love the way this piece looks from the back--the seams are so handsome:
Under the coat, the Prince is sporting large pectoral muscles and a grey satin cravat:
The cravat attaches with velcro and is easy to remove. It is sewn with a few decorative folded layers:
The Prince is wearing cream-colored pants with belt loops (no belt) and gold stripes down the sides:
The stripes are actually sewn into the seams of the pants--not just painted or printed onto the fabric.
The boots are very large, but fairly plain. They have a molded stripe around the top and are shaped to look like they are slightly wrinkled:
Unfortunately, without the huge boots, the Prince can barely stand on his own at all. I could only get him to balance in this weird pitched-forward position:
It was slightly difficult to remove the Prince's pants. His legs are made out of soft vinyl, and the friction from this material caused the pants to cling to the legs and turn themselves inside-out as they peeled off. This gives us an excellent chance to view the inner stitching and construction, though:
I had so much trouble getting the Prince to balance, I eventually had to resort to using a doll stand. This doll has only nine points of articulation (neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees):
His head can only rotate around. It does not have the same degree of up-and-down mobility that the Disney Store female dolls have.
The Prince's shoulders are rotating hinges with a nice range of motion:
The Prince's elbows are simple hinges, though, and do not allow for any rotation of the lower arm. This makes for some stilted (ancient Egyptian?) poses:
|It's the sand dance, don't you know.|
The hips are articulated in what seems like a similar way to the female dolls, although the flexibility is not as good. The Prince can't quite make it into a full side-to-side split:
He also can't do a complete front-to-back split (nor is he happy with me for making him try):
|I cannot believe you're making me do this...|
Incidentally, that picture, above, gives a nice view of the Prince's painted gold wedding band. Here it is up close:
This doll has those infernal internal knee joints. They can technically click through three different degrees of bending, but only two of these positions will hold. That makes for very limited knee flexibility:
|That's it, folks.|
The poor Prince can't sit in a chair very well...
Nor can he remain upright while sitting on the ground:
|Hey, if I had a lounge chair, this would look awesome.|
I have to say, it was discouraging to see that the Disney Store's male dolls have even less flexibility than their female counterparts. The neck can only spin around, the hip mobility is inferior, the elbow joints do not have any rotation, there's no wrist articulation at all, and the doll can't stand alone--despite a sturdy frame that really looks like it should balance well.
I actually don't have that many 1:6 male dolls in my collection (something I need to remedy...), but here is the Prince with a Monster High male (Deuce Gorgon) and an Integrity man (Chip from the Poppy Parker line):
|Hey. Do you work out?|
Chip and the Prince actually look quite similar in size, however Chip's shirt is a bit too tight on the Prince, and there's no way Chip's narrow pants were going to fit over the Prince's rubbery legs and wider hips.
|Whose hips are you calling wide??|
On the other hand, Chip can wear the complete Prince's outfit with no problem:
|Chip Farnsworth in Prince Charming's outfit.|
In fact, with his clear blue eyes, thick eyebrows, nice smile and dark hair, Chip almost makes a better Prince than the Prince. If only his slicked-back hair wasn't so ridiculous!
I don't own any Ken dolls, but I do have Prince William from Mattel's Royal Wedding set:
Once again, William's clothes are too tight for the Prince...
But the Prince's wonderful outfit works just fine on William, despite being a little too big:
|Prince William in Prince Charming's outfit.|
The outfit brings out William's bright blue eyes, making me even more curious as to why Disney didn't give their Prince doll the right color eyes:
|I maybe see why they didn't give the Prince a huge smile, though...|
It's a little tricky to get the Prince back into his original outfit. His flexed feet and rubbery legs are not conducive to dressing. In addition, the shape and flexibility of his feet make it hard to get the boots back on.
When I reunited Cinderella and Prince Charming, I noticed that Cinderella does seem to have a hard time getting her new husband to look at her:
|Yoo, hoo! I'm standing right here!|
Even though the dolls have side-glancing eyes that look in opposite directions, they don't tend to gaze lovingly at each other when they're posed side-by-side. Cinderella looks like she's mildly distracted or amused by something in the corner, and the Prince looks like he's on high alert...or really nervous about something:
With a little maneuvering, these two can be made to look at one another, though:
|Oh, there you are.|
And can even imitate the romantic pose that is shown on the back of the box:
I wanted to compare the two Cinderella dolls side-by-side, and this was when things started to get very confusing for the poor Prince:
The Mattel doll has a smaller head and finer body features than the Disney Store doll, but she's still in scale with the Prince:
|This is not my beautiful wife.|
The Disney Store Cinderella has a much better dress than the Mattel doll in almost every way. I do prefer the design of the top part of the dress on the Mattel doll, though--with the gracefully scooped neckline and the strapless, symmetric bodice. I also like how the tulle continues down to the waistline on this dress.
|Mattel Cinderella (left), Disney Store Cinderella (right).|
The bodice of the Disney Store gown looks kind-of tortured in comparison to the clean lines of the Mattel dress:
|Mattel Cinderella (left), Disney Store Cinderella (right).|
However, the quality of the fabric and the full cut of the Disney Store dress is so much more elegant and fun to play with.
|Mattel Cinderella (left), Disney Store Cinderella (right).|
It took me a while to pick a favorite head mold with these two dolls. As I mentioned, I think the Mattel doll is more conventionally pretty, but she's a little generic. The Disney Store doll has more personality--she just doesn't have a personality that reminds me at all of Lily James as Cinderella.
I also think that the Disney Store doll has an unnaturally large head--with a oversized hairdo that exacerbates this. Next to the Mattel doll's refined bun with it's elegant twist, the Disney Store doll's hair looks juvenile.
|Mattel Cinderella (left), Disney Store Cinderella (right).|
The Disney Store doll looks like she has a huge flower growing out of the back of her head:
I decided that I like the Mattel doll's head better, but the Disney Store doll has a much nicer dress. Fortunately, the two Cinderellas can share clothes, so it was possible to make the perfect combination:
|Mattel Cinderella in the Disney Store Cinderella's dress.|
|Mattel Cinderella in the Disney Store Cinderella's dress.|
And here's a look at the Disney Store Cinderella wearing the Mattel dress:
|Disney Store Cinderella in the Mattel Cinderella's dress.|
You guys know me pretty well by now, and so you've probably guessed that what I really wanted to see was the Mattel doll's head on a highly articulated body. I would have just swapped the Mattel head onto the Disney Store body, but the Disney body is defective and I do not like the internal knee joints.
Instead, I tried to find an articulated Barbie body that would match Cinderella's pale skin tone. None of the dolls I own were a good match, though:
|Cinderella, Barbie 2014 Style doll, Barbie Fashionista Raquelle|
Maybe there's a Barbie expert out there who can help me find a better match? I am wondering if perhaps the Twilight dolls are the right shade?
In any case, I swapped Cinderella's head onto the Style doll's body, just to see how she would come to life with a few more joints.
I re-introduced Mattel's Cinderella to the Prince, and I have to say that I think the dress and the extra articulation fooled him for a little while...
He seemed to sense that something wasn't quite right, but Cinderella's new joints made her positively giddy, and her excitement distracted the Prince. She soon had him dancing all over the place:
|Are you sure this is the right Ella...?|
|You wouldn't trick me, Emily, right? Right?|
|She looks prettier than I remember...|
|But she certainly moves like the Ella I know!|
Just as the Prince was relaxing into the moment, he spotted his actual bride staring at him with a shocked look on her face...
|Oh, hey Ella! You don't mind that I borrowed him...do you?|
And a little frustration with me...
|You DID trick me! Meddlesome reviewer.|
|Or maybe they lived grumpily ever after?|
Bottom line? There was a lot to look at in this review, so let me summarize each doll individually and then make some broad comparisons.
Mattel Cinderella: This doll has a lovely but generic face. She hints at the features of the Cinderella movie's star, Lily James, without trying to look exactly like her. Unfortunately the doll comes wearing a very stiff, play-quality dress and a wimpy veil. She also has a minimally articulated body that limits her posing. She has the feel of a play doll, but her unremovable, wrinkle-prone veil is not well-designed for play. This doll would make a nice display piece, but as such, the dress should be much more impressive. Given the quality of the dress, I find the $30 price tag too high. I have my fingers crossed that Mattel's $45 version of Cinderella--the one wearing the blue ball gown--will deliver with a much better outfit.
Disney Store Cinderella: This doll has a unique face mold that tries unsuccessfully to capture the features and personality of Lily James. The doll definitely has personality, but her overly large head, wide jaw and enormous hair end up giving her an almost comical look. This doll's dress is beautiful, though. The skirt is voluminous and dramatic, and the whole thing is accented with an impressive (removable) chiffon veil. The glitter-infused fabric of the gown has a gorgeous golden sheen that gives a magical quality to the doll's appearance. My Cinderella came with a number of frustrating flaws: her dress is littered with holes from the plastic ties in the packaging. Also, one sheer sleeve of the dress was ripped by the rubber band that held it in the box. The hairstyle is crushed on one side and the doll has a defective hip joint and warped legs. The dress would make this doll worth her $35 price, but the flaws seem too numerous and unacceptable for a doll in this price range.
Disney Store Prince Charming: This doll has another unique face mold that bears a slight resemblance to the Cinderella movie's Richard Madden. However, the Prince doll's dark eyes and perplexed frown strike me as poor choices for depicting an actor with striking blue eyes and such a brilliant smile. Still, I find myself quite fond of this character's head mold. I am not as impressed with the Disney Store male body, though. He cannot stand on his own without his boots, and he has far less flexibility than the Disney Store female dolls. The Prince's outfit is amazing, though. I absolutely love it. In particular, the detail in the sueded blue coat is fantastic. This outfit looks incredible on the Prince--and on every other male doll I own who could wear it. This doll's articulation makes him better for display than play, but he has no glaring flaws and seems easily worth his $35 price.
Overall, I find myself happier with the Prince doll (or at least his outfit...) than I am with the Cinderellas. Each Cinderella doll has some great features, but neither delivers the complete package. Here's a breakdown of who did what best in my opinion:
Face mold: Mattel. In the end, I think hinting at Lily James' features was a better choice than trying to copy them exactly.
Dress: The Disney Store. Except for the shape of the bodice and neckline, everything about the Disney Store dress is superior to the Mattel dress.
Hair: Mattel. The Disney Store doll's hair would probably look better if it was boiled and let down, but when I compare the factory styles, the Mattel doll's more refined up-do looks better to me.
Jewelry: The Disney Store. I prefer the jewel tones of the Disney Store's tiara and earrings to the more glaring (and sloppy) bright colored paint on the Mattel jewelry.
Veil: The Disney Store. The Disney Store's long, removable chiffon veil is vastly superior to Mattel's thin, short tulle veil that is sewn to the doll's head.
Articulation: I'll say Mattel...just because there were no flaws on that doll and I really like the shape of her arms.
I think that the Mattel Cinderella's head on a matching articulated Barbie body (wearing the Disney Store dress) will be great. But putting together that ideal doll takes quite a bit of money and effort. I really, really wanted to love these first Cinderella movie dolls, but in the end I feel a little bit let down. On the bright side, there are enough good qualities in these dolls that I still feel optimistic about the other offerings from the Mattel and Disney Store collections...especially Mattel's ball gown Cinderella and the Disney Store's Fairy Godmother. More than anything, I am just looking forward to March 13th when I can sit back and soak in the gorgeous-looking new Cinderella movie. I wonder if after I've seen the movie, any doll that brings back memories of that experience will have a special place in my heart that makes all of the flaws seem to disappear? That would be nice. After all, where there's Cinderella, there's hope, and where there's hope...there is magic.