This review might be a couple of months late but here’s the thing… I live in rural NZ where the cinemas are a little behind the rest of the world in releasing films (we are behind the world with a lot of things so this isn’t surprising). Anyway, I saw Cruella last week and loved it.
Not all of Disney’s live action re-makes have been my cup of tea, but I was really excited when I heard we would be getting another villain POV one, as Maleficent (2014) was really enjoyable. Not only that, but we would get Emma Stone starring as Cruella! Her versatility and quirky style would be perfect for the character.
Estella, as she was known before stepping into the role of the villain, struggled in her early life at school. She was a creative child with a passion for fashion, and a streak of cruelty. Estella knew how to make bold statements and did not shy away from being different. Though her mother wished she would tone it down a little. Cruella is the story of how this growing girl dealt with a string of bad luck and grief. Estella would not get far in the world, and so Cruella was born.
The narrative of the film is exceptional. It’s not too heavy, is easy to follow, and there is a good balance between action, emotion, and comedy. On top of that, you have the punk vibe running through; the music and outrageous fashion statements that takes the film to another level.
Additionally, the dynamic duo that is Emma Thompson and Emma Stone is to be admired throughout the film. Though it’s difficult to take a liking to the Baroness’ character, you can’t help but love Emma Thompson for it. Her portrayal is on point, with her intense annoyance at everyone in the world, and her casual intrigue by Estelle, who came into her life through her fashion company. She is the villain in Cruella’s story, and Emma Thompson is perfect for it.
Another thing that is to be commended is Cruella’s relationship with Jasper. Though there is a hint of something between them, this story isn’t pursued at the end, which is definitely the right move. Normally, I’d be intrigued and would want to see any romantic relationship develop further. But as a fierce woman who focuses on making her dreams come true (albeit with the help of Jasper and Horace, her friends-turned-sidekicks), Cruella does not need this love side-story.
As an animal lover, I was worried the whole Dalmatians-as-coats thing would be more prevalent (the whole premise of the Disney animated film, right?). So I am glad it wasn’t, and that although she is a baddie, Cruella does not take pleasure from skinning dogs.
So, if you asked me what I didn’t enjoy about the film, there’s nothing that really comes to mind!
You may have heard that Cruella De Vil’s iconic cigarette was not allowed to make an appearance in this version of 101 Dalmatians. This is because Disney has banned smoking from their films (*applause*). Of course that doesn’t affect the story whatsoever and you don’t notice that it is missing. On the other hand, it has always been something associated with Cruella and would have been a powerful addition as a character building/transformation tool.
This is one of the handful of Disney re-makes that I would whole heartedly recommend. To anyone and everyone. Not only is it a fun family film (PG13) that doesn’t contain too much violence, it is also an exciting watch for any adult. The impressive wardrobe choices add an interesting element to the film, whether you’re a fashionista or not. Furthermore, the accompanying music is used well to really get you going and enjoy your viewing.
Comment your thoughts on Cruella if you’ve seen it!
Until next time,