‘Sneakerella’ is a brand new original film for Disney+ that is a modern version of the classic fairy tale ‘Cinderella’, but with a contemporary twist. It’s set in New York and has had a gender swap for the main character.
The film stars Chosen Jacobs in the title role of El, who is an aspiring sneaker designer from Queens who works as a stock boy in the shoe store that once belonged to his late mother. He hides his artistic talent from his overburdened stepfather and two mean-spirited stepbrothers who constantly thwart any opportunity that comes his way.
When El meets Kira King, the fiercely independent daughter of the legendary basketball star and sneaker tycoon Darius King, sparks fly as the two bond over their mutual affinity for sneakers. With a little nudge from his best friend and a sprinkle of Fairy Godfather magic, El finds the courage to use his talent to pursue his dream of becoming a ‘legit’ sneaker designer in the industry.
While the main story is inspired by ‘Cinderella’, it’s a very loose version but hits all the main points from the original story, which is one of the most frustrating things about this film. When the story isn’t trying to be ‘Cinderella’, it’s a fun film, but when it’s forced to fit within the confines of the fairy tale, it becomes way too predictable.
They are still able to bring some of the Disney magic into the film with a version of “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes”. The film’s magic side is kept pretty simple, with it just pushing the story along, which was frustrating. However, there are some excellent dance numbers spread out throughout the film, especially at the start and at the end, which are fun.
Both Chosen Jacobs and Lexi Underwood are really great in their roles. You can see they have some on-screen chemistry, and that helps keep your attention throughout the film.
I found the entire concept of him having to leave the Gala by midnight and losing his sneaker, just seemed utterly unnecessary when they had already brought El and Kira together in the opening scene. Just, on the whole, I found the magic elements completely unnecessary for this film, and it would have worked better without it.
One of the biggest problems with this film is how it tries to lean in on the ideal of Kira trying to find El, with them doing it in multiple ways, all of which don’t make any sense. On the one hand, running a massive social media campaign to find El doesn’t work when she’s already had two dates with him, one of which didn’t involve any magic. So it wasn’t as if she didn’t know what he looked like and felt so forced into the ‘Cinderella’ idea.
There’s plenty of new original music in the film, but some of the bad lip-syncing are very distracting, especially the step-brothers and the big battle rap at the end, which was something else I just found frustrating, which is a theme with this film as I just found it so frustrating on so many levels. Doing a remake or a new version of a well-known story isn’t always easy, ‘Sneakerella’ isn’t a carbon copy of the original story, and it’s a shame they didn’t just take the core ideas of the fairy tale, giving it a new modern twist, without the magic element. Instead, we get a hybrid film which doesn’t make much sense and just left me thinking, why was this made?
“Sneakerella” is a very modern version of the classic story that has some lovely moments. Younger audiences might enjoy this film, but I think older audiences are going to struggle with this film. Honestly, please, Disney, leave the “Cinderella” alone and don’t do another version of this fairy tale.
Rating – 2.5 Out Of 5
‘Sneakerella’ is coming to Disney+ on Friday 13th May 2022.