Cruella de Vil, Cruella de Vil, one of Disney’s best villains finally got her own prequel movie. Not that I really needed to know the origins of Cruella’s mad obsession with fur coats, but it exists now, so I’ll live with it. You must know the drill by now, it’s another live action Disney remake and because the animated movie it’s remaking is 60 years old, it needs to be another villain origin story, just like the Maleficent movies, in order to be profitable.
Cruella is essentially Disney’s Joker, but unlike Joker it’s suitable for the whole family. Meet Estella, whose backstory is a series of unlucky events. As a child she dreamt of being a fashion icon, but after her mother was tragically murdered, she was forced into poverty. Now an adult, Estella grabs the attention of Emma Thompsons’ Baroness character. The Baroness’s perfectly wretched personality brings out the very worst in Estella, revealing the evil Cruella. (Yes, it’s silly, but just go with it!) From there Cruella tries to tear down the Baroness’s empire and that’s how you get the most competent entertaining Disney Live Action Remake.
Surprise, surprise, Cruella was actually good, and let’s talk about why that’s so. The movie is just over two hours long, and it starts off pretty slow, but once Emma Thompson’s Baroness enters the picture it just becomes fun. My favourite portion of the movie is the rivalry between our two leads and the heists that ensue to ensure the fall of the Baroness, and promote the rise of Cruella. The heists in this film are basically a series of pranks similar to ones seen in Better Call Saul, which is probably why I liked this portion of the movie the most. As far as acting goes we have a very solid cast. The two guys that played the house thieves were good comic foils and Emma Thompson was a good villain. Emma Stone is unsurprisingly a very good Cruella de Vil, but she still doesn’t hold a candle to the original Betty Lou Gerson or even Glenn Close in the ’96 101 Dalmatians. That’s mainly due to how they wrote Cruella so differently to previous versions of the character. She’s no longer a total loon, but instead a tragic edge lord, which is totally fine, but she unfortunately can’t compete with someone who is totally mad.
The most annoying parts of this story are the forced connections to 101 Dalmatians, most of which are really stupid. Like the fact that Cruella has worked with the two crooks who will one day help her kidnap 99 puppies since she was a kid and that Cruella was born with the black and white haircut! It’s a common trend for Disney Live Action Remakes – unnecessary changes that do nothing but ruin the original movies they’re based on. The long awaited answer as to the origin of Cruella’s love for fur coats doesn’t exist here because New Cruella doesn’t kill dogs nor does she smoke! This Cruella has newer and better motives like that a Dalmatian pushed her mum off as cliff when she was kid, which led her into poverty, and an obvious need for revenge. It’s laughably dumb, but I did happily go along with this development, until the stupid plot twist happened.
So when all is said and done this is probably the first one of these remakes I’ve enjoyed since that Jungle Book remake. I liked the style, the lavish costumes and the bouncy soundtrack. It’s still unfortunate that this film does fumble a bit, but this is the first time I’ll admit that I’m interested to see where the remakes go next. That’s Cruella, it’s currently at the cinema or on the over priced Disney+ exclusive section. I have being The Blog Complainer, signing out.