Disney’s live action Cruella origin film is a fun heist film mixed with visually mesmerizing fashion to rocks out to classic rock of yesteryear. But for kids, this film might be in a lot of ways so far over their head that the only time they will be interested in watching it is when the cgi/live action dogs are running around.
The film based on the character Cruella de Vil from Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians. The film is directed by Craig Gillespie with a screenplay by Dana Fox and Tony McNamara, from a story by Aline Brosh McKenna, Kelly Marcel, and Steve Zissis. It is the third live-action adaptation in the 101 Dalmatians franchise and serves as a prequel. Emma Stone stars as the title character, with Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, and Mark Strong in supporting roles. Set in London during the punk rock movement of the 1970s, the film revolves around Estella Miller, an aspiring fashion designer, as she explores the path that will lead her to become a notorious up and coming fashion designer known as Cruella de Vil.
Emma Stone absolutely shines in the villainous role of Cruella as the character goes on a journey of being an outsider, henchmen, meek and shy assistant to an overtop, self absorbed fashion terrorist.
Emma Thompson makes for a formidable antagonist when she’s first introduced but as the film goes on she becomes more and more like a dog that is all bark and no bite. You realize she isn’t this creative fashion genius everyone believes her to be. She instead stands on the shoulders of her underlings who do all the work.
The set designs and costumes are breathtaking, some of the best to ever be seen in a Disney film.
Complaints about the film being dark are warranted however. But honestly the biggest issue is the misconception that this is a kids movie. A lot of the dialogue, music, and plot details lean more towards an adult heist/revenge film as opposed to a family adventure film. Will kids be traumatized by seeing a character being attacked by dogs and thrown off a cliff to her death? Maybe. But the more likely scenario is they will be bored to tears after the first 15 minutes of the film.
All in all, did Cruella need an origin story where evil Dalmatians killed her mother and set her on a path of crime and eventual revenge? Probably not. But Emma Stone puts this film on her back and carries it to greatness. Her charm, wit, and likability here shows why she is the mega movie star she is. Plus there’s enough callbacks and Easter eggs for hardcore Disney fans to aww and oooh over throughout the film (make sure you stay past the credits for a bonus scene that sets up 101 Dalmatians).
In closing the HipsterZOMBIEJoint Experience highly recommends checking out Cruella for its fun cast, amazing visuals, and fabulous choice of classic rock tunes. “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by The Stooges is played to great effect here.
Give the dog a bone and check out Cruella now…