“Cruella” is a reimaging of Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmatians. The movie serves as a prequel to 101 Dalmatians with Glen Close, an executive producer on the film.
#1. The Cast
The cast has a few notable standouts.
Emma Stone is having a “blast” as Estella/Cruella. She hasn’t played many villianous roles so it’s refreshing to see her play a “villian role”. Her performance as Cruella is energetic and full of enthusiasm. She leans into the character’s devilish side.
Emma Thompson plays a “Miranda Priestly” like character in Baroness Hellman. She’s ruthless and career-focused. Her presence is quite intimidating. With a single note from her whistle, her Dalmatians were menacing and scary.
Joel Fry as Jasper was definitely the “heart’ of the movie. He has a good dynamic with Emma Stone and Paul Water Hauser (Horace). Their friendship is believable and genuine. They support each other and aren’t afraid to call each other when necessary.
John Mcrea as Artie was a fun character. Artie and Cruella are “kindred spirits”. Both have an interest in fashion and similar taste for bold & unique designs. He has a fun personality.
I’d buy a dress from his shop.
#2 The Soundtrack
The soundtrack is full of songs hits from 70’s or earlier. A few songs I recognized were: “One Way or Another”(1978) by Blondie “These Boots Are Made For Walking” (1966) by Nancy Sinatra, “Should I Stay or Go” (1982) by the Clash and “Smile”(1963) Judy Garland Version
#3 The Costumes
The fashion in this movie was top notch. So many beautiful costumes to choose from. My favorite pieces were the period costumes from Baroness Hellman’s Black and White Ball in 1963, Cruella’s red dress, the green dress design by Estella, the gold bead dress, and the long dumpster truck dress made of trash.
#4 Easter Eggs:
There were a few nods to the original 101 Dalmatians animated film.
Anita and Cruella met each other as classmates in school.
Roger is a piano player and composes the song “Cruella Deville” during an end credit scene.
Ponga& Perdita have cameos however in this different continuity, they’re siblings.
Jasper comments how some dogs resemble their owners. This line was lifted straight from the animated film.
Similar to the live action 101 Dalmatian movies, actual animals such as dogs were used in the film instead of CGI animals.
Throughout the film, Cruella flip flops between “the sweet and kind Estella” and the bad troublemaking Cruella”. After a moment of clarity, Cruella realizes that “Estella” isn’t who she really is, It’s a made-up persona to fit into society and please her “adoptive mom”. Cruella is her true self.
She embraces her villanous troublemaking nature.
#1 The twist reveals
-1. “Baroness Hellman is Cruella’s mother not the sweet maid Catherine.”
I kind of saw this twist reveal coming. I figured Catherine had a previous connection to the Baroness that’s why she came to her begging for money. In addition, I’ve seen this plotline before in a different movie (for example Mother’s Day). The mother becomes pregnant with a child. She views the child as a hindrance to her career so she abandons it. The baby grows up with no knowledge of her birth parents until later on. She’s raised by adoptive parents.
Despite being an adoptive mom, Catherine was more of a mother to Cruella than the Baroness ever was.
” Cruella’s plan to reveal herself as the Baroness’s daughter was a bit convoluted. However, it makes for a great heist scene. It showcases that the Baroness is ruthless and self-focused. She’ll dispose of anyone including her own daughter who stand in her way to reach “the top” and keep her place there.
The film has a run time over 2 hours. A few scenes could’ve been shortened or cut altogether to keep the movie under 2 hours. This runtime made the movie feel sluggish toward the end.
#3 “Dalmatian Fur Coat”
In the movie, Cruella steals Baroness Hellman’s dalmatians to retrieve a necklace.
In a later scene, she’s seen wearing a “Dalmatian fur coat” at her fashion show, Baroness assumes that she killed her dalmatians for that fur. Cruella doesn’t deny the rumor, instead she supports it. She steps into the “villian role”.
The dalmatian fur coat was probably made out of faux fur since PETA wouldn’t approve of “animal cruelty” onscreen. Also the dalmatians are unharmed by the second to last scene.
Unlike the previous bunch of Live-action Adaptations, Cruella feels fresh, energetic, and has a ton of enthusiasm& passion put behind it. I recommend, you give Cruella a watch either in theaters (if they’re open in your area) or on Disney + once it’s free to stream. You’ll have a fun time laughing and being in awe of the various fashion pieces.