Between the torrent of remade Yes spin off Live action from Disney, Cruella is a breath of fresh air. As an independent experience, the combination of ’70s fashion, punk-rock anthems, and dastardly acts of revenge is extremely pleasurable, and Emma Stone is the perfect choice for this wild role.
However, the prequel doesn’t quite connect with the original material. While the villain’s origin story, directed by Craig Gillespie, is certainly funny, it still seems like a lot is missing between this movie and 101 Dalmatians, in which Cruella De Vil acts as the main antagonist.
Cruella details the character’s life, literally, from her birth (formerly known as Estella), until her youth. The early years of the future designer’s life are nowhere near as exciting as the ones that follow, and cutting those scenes would have kept the film from feeling too “bloated” and protracted.
The turning point of the film is the entrance of the Baroness, which is understandable given that the role is played by the brilliant Emma Thompson. It shows the glamorous and tempting side of high fashion and gives us a glimpse of what Estella could have been if she hadn’t been taken in revenge.
There are heist movie influences on Cruella, something that I found unexpected but very much appreciated. Jumping from place to place and watching the antihero perform tricky stunts and get out of sticky situations was exhilarating, and something that hasn’t been seen in other live-action Disney remakes.
The movie feels strongest when it draws on the dramatic reveal of the costumes, playing with them like parade moments. Variety notes that Cruella has 47 different costumes, designed by Oscar-winning designer Jenny Beavan, who has worked on a wide variety of films, from The leftovers of the day until Mad Max: Fury Road.
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The thought and details that went into some of these costumes are obvious. Some only appear onscreen for twenty seconds or less, but are still memorable for their bold, daring finish. I never thought I would say I want to wear a dress inspired by a truck full of garbage and newspapers, but here we are.
Wardrobe and style also play an important role in bringing the ’70s to life, another area in which Cruella shines. Punk-era London seems like the perfect setting to bring this character to life, giving her quirks and unique qualities that make her feel more like a person than an evil cartoon character.
The stone captures above all this nuance. However, there is a turning point where Estella puts aside any pretense of trying to pave the way for success and lets slip her inner villain.
While the rationale is there, at least on paper, the change is shocking and could have been achieved in more subtle ways throughout the film.
A controversial central message of the film is that your blood defines who you are. I might not agree with that in principle, but it fits the narrative of what will eventually become a contemptible character. That said, I don’t think the Cruella at the end of this story is ready to continue skinning puppies for her own fur coat.
On the one hand, he has a close relationship with dogs, puppies that are sure to steal the show from some people. The seeds were planted to show a hatred for Dalmatians, but by the end of the film, it looks like we still have a few twists and turns before we get to the literally black and white villain of future Disney movies.
There is also a very strange post-credits scene, which is directly linked to the story of 101 Dalmatians. I won’t do any disclose, but it left me pretty confused and unsettled when I realized how prepared some of these characters are for what’s to come in this universe.
If I know of Disney, all of these mixed messages are due to the fact that there are more feature film ideas hidden in the House of the Mouse vault. As a character, Cruella is far from over, so I suspect there is still room to play.
Although it is rated 12A / PG-13, I’m not sure kids will enjoy this movie. Wacky sidekicks Jasper and Horace (played by Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser) provide comedic relief, and one-eyed Chihuahua Wink is a pleasure to watch. However, there are dark undertones to this story, and the length alone makes it difficult to hold attention throughout the film.
Disney is riding on his remade live action, trying to appeal to millennial nostalgic audiences while still keeping everything safe enough for young viewers. However, this film has the sin of being much more daring.
Cruella fits perfectly with the themes of the film. It is the story of a thief who became a fashionista who gradually allowed herself to be driven mad by revenge. It’s also a fashion and 1970s love letter, and it captures the London decor perfectly: De Vil is in the details.
While it’s not about Emma Stone becoming Glenn Close’s disgusting Cruella, it’s a wild roller coaster and one of the best live-action Disney remakes we’ve seen, even if it does. could do twenty minutes less.
Original article published in English on our sister site TechAdvisor UK.