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Western Animation / Cinderella the Cat

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Cinderella the Cat (Gatta Cenerentola in Italian) is a 2017 Italian animated movie. It's a Darker and Edgier take on the classic Cinderella story, specifically Giambattista Basile's 1634 version likewise titled "La gatta Cenerentola", using a futuristic vision of the city of Naples as background.

Vittorio Basile is a tech mogul who builds a giant, high-tech ship called Megaride, which has a functionality where it stores the memories of everyone who steps inside and displays them as holograms. Vittorio has ambitions to turn Naples' harbor into a technological center and improve the quality of life in the city. However, Salvatore Lo Giusto, a mafioso, conspires with Angelica, the woman Vittorio is engaged to, to kill Vittorio at their wedding ceremony and take over Megaride for Salvatore's own operations.

Upon Vittorio's death, Megaride is inherited by his 3-year-old daughter, Mia Basile, who is put under Angelica's care until she comes of age and can sign a contract that cedes the ship to Salvatore. 15 years pass, with Mia growing up mute from the trauma of her father's murder and living in squalor, with only the ship's holograms for comfort. However, Primo Gemito, a former employee of Vittorio, has been trying to frame Salvatore all these years. Things come to a head when Mia and Primo meet on the eve of her 18th birthday.

Gatta Cenerentola features examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Context Change: Shoes that perfectly fit Cinderella's feet are retained as a plot device, but it's not something that a prince uses to look for her. Instead, they're bridal shoes, what tips Angelica to the fact that Mia and not her is Salvatore's intended bride, and therefore that Salvatore has double-crossed Angelica.
  • Adaptational Gender Identity: In Basile's tale, the stepmother has six daughters. In the film, one of them is actually a cross-dressing boy.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: While mostly based on Giambattista Basile's rendition of the tale, some story elements have been inspired by a 1976 stage adaptation of Basile's work by Roberto de Simone.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The heroine of Giambattista Basile's tale is named Zezolla. Here, she's called Mia.
    • The same goes for the six wicked step-sisters, who were named Imperia, Calamita, Fiorella, Diamante, Colombina, and Pasquarella. In the film they have the more mundane names of Anna, Barbara, Carmen, Luisa, Sofia, and Luigi.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Mia has become an expert at navigating Megaride's network of air-vents.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Luigi, one of Angelica's children, is a femminiello, a Truth in Television example of gender fluidity typical of Neapolitan society (in simplified terms, an identity somewhere between an effeminate gay man and a transgender woman).
  • Animal Motifs: Mia is constantly called a cat by her step-mother and sisters and has many cats in her room who keep her company. Her petite frame and lithe and quiet movements also help the comparison.
  • Anti-Villain: Angelica, the abusive stepmother, has some sympathetic qualities. She was reluctant to kill Vittorio because he seemed like a good man, but went through with it out of love for Salvatore, whose affections for her are shallow and wither as she gets older. Angelica spends 15 years on the ship, hardly seeing Salvatore and haunted by holograms of Vittorio that make her feel guilty. Then when Salvatore returns, he's quick to ditch her to get himself married to the barely legal Mia. When all her children get killed, she realizes she has wasted her life on Salvatore and decides to sink the ship, going down with it. She also spares Mia.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: Mia's dress, since the climax takes place at her forced wedding to Salvatore and things get bloody.
  • Cleanup Crew: Mia, being Cinderella, is tasked with cleaning up at the behest of her step-family. But since said family consists of a bunch of assassins, this in effect means that Mia cleans up the messes they make in their killings.
  • Dumb Struck: Mia witnesses her father's murder at the age of 3. She is so traumatized by it that she spends the next 15 years mute.
  • The Family That Slays Together: Angelica and her six children are all assassins.
  • Ironic Name: The Big Bad mafioso is called Salvatore Lo Giusto (literally Savior the Just), while the wicked step-mother is called Angelica.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Angelica sacrifices herself to destroy the Megaride, taking Salvatore with her.
  • Shout-Out: Mia and her father Vittorio share a surname with the author of the tale which inspired this film, Giambattista Basile.
  • Virtual Ghost: The Megaride stores the events that happen inside and replays them as holograms, giving the ship some sort of haunted atmosphere especially when it replays the events from before Vittorio's death.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Two of the step-siblings are Barbarella and Luigi, who are constantly at each other's throats. But Luigi doesn't hesitate to come to her rescue when she's dealing with Primo and after thinking he killed him, tells Barbarella that she can take credit for the kill. Luigi is also very distressed when Barbarella is killed near the end of the movie.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Angelica is Mia's stepmother after marrying Vittorio, much to Angelica's displeasure as she has to take care of her until she comes of age to fulfill Salvatore's plans. Also, Mia has six step-siblings (five sisters and one cross-dressing gay brother) who are mean to her instead of the traditional two.
  • Wretched Hive: Naples after it was taken over by criminals. Salvatore even performs a song on stage about how polluted the place is and how depraved and lawless the people are.