Who is Cruella de Vil?
In the original 1961 animated movie, One Hundred and One Dalmations Cruella was a schoolmate of Anita, and as everyone knows tries to kidnap Anita and Roger’s dalmatian puppies so she can make a dalmatian coat. In 1996 Disney released a live-action remake of One Hundred and One Dalmations starring Glenn Close as Cruella. This version of Cruella was a fashion designer, who again, tries to kidnap dalmatian puppies to make a dalmatian coat. Fast forward to 2021 and Disney has released an origin story for the evil Cruella de Vil starring Emma Stone as Estella/Cruella. Well, after watching the movie I have a lot of thoughts so here is my Cruella Movie Review. (I will warn you there may be ever so slight spoilers in this post.)
My Cruella Movie Review
After watching the trailer months ago, you can watch my trailer reaction HERE, I did have some reservations about the movie. I felt Emma Stone’s Cruella character, to me, came across more as Disney’s attempt at a version of Harley Quinn. A madwoman, possibly with a split personality, gallivanting around town causing mischief. Unfortunately, after watching Cruella my mind hasn’t changed. There are a couple of things I absolutely love about Disney’s Cruella, and of course some things I dislike.
What I love about Cruella
The fashion, music, and casting. These three things made the movie for me. While I myself am far from a fashionista I loved all of the different costumes in the movie, and I give a standing ovation to the individuals and Costume Designer who created them. (I would not be shocked if they won a few awards during the next awards season.) The soundtrack for Cruella is amazing and just adds so much to the movie. I don’t normally download movie soundtracks but Cruella’s I will. It matches and melds with the costumes and story perfectly. Lastly, I loved the casting in Cruella. Emma Stone and Emma Thompson are superb in the movie and really embody their characters so well. But there is also a lot I dislike about the movie.
What I dislike about Cruella
Sadly, I am not too keen on the story, the CGI Dogs, and the shaky camera. I don’t know why I expected more from the story, but Cruella is not a complete origin story. While Cruella doesn’t have any special powers, as a dog lover, the fact she was willing to skin dogs to make a coat makes her terrible. It cements her as a Disney villain. In Cruella, we are supposed to see how she becomes the evil Cruella de Vil, but after watching the movie we have yet to really see what sets Cruella off onto her evil path. She doesn’t even hate dalmatian’s in the movie. She actually likes them and ends up owning 3.
In fact, Emma Stone’s Cruella isn’t even really a villain in the movie. Yes, she spends pretty much the whole movie trying to get revenge and causing mischief, but her actions are not entirely evil compared to the true villain in the movie, Emma Thompson’s The Baroness. So, it seems Disney would need to do a follow-up movie for us to actually learn why Cruella turns evil. (What really drives her mad.) Cruella is in truth half of an origin story and a predictable one at that.
CGI and Shaky Camera
I feel the CGI in Cruella is not as good as it should be for a movie releasing in theaters or on Disney+ Premier Access. While there are real dogs in the movie, most of the stunts done by the dogs are CGI, and you can tell. Also, in a scene in the movie where a building is set on fire the fire is CGI, and it is bad. There were also many scenes in the movie where the camera swept across a room or around Emma Stone’s Cruella and the camera was very shaky. If the camera had been more steady it would have made the scenes so much better. With Disney being at the forefront of CGI I expected better.
So, after all of that what would I rate Cruella? I give Cruella a B-. I do not feel Cruella gives us the full origin story of Cruella de Vil, and in fact, doesn’t even show her as a villain at all. If Disney had just given us more of a look into what truly drove her to hate dalmatian’s it might have been a complete origin story.
Cruella Parents Guide
Cruella is rated PG-13 and does contain violence, drinking, and some intense scenes. The word Hell is used, but there isn’t any real adult language in the movie. While not a movie for really young kids. The movie, I feel, is fine for kids 9-years-old and up.
Have you seen Cruella? What did you think?
Academy Award® winner Emma Stone (“La La Land”) stars in Disney’s “Cruella,” an all-new live action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious – and notoriously fashionable – villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil.
“Cruella” stars Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Mark Strong. The film is directed by Craig Gillespie, with screenplay by Dana Fox and Tony McNamara, story by Aline Brosh McKenna and Kelly Marcel & Steve Zissis, based upon the novel “The One Hundred and One Dalmatians” by Dodie Smith. “Cruella” is produced by Andrew Gunn, Marc Platt and Kristin Burr, p.g.a., with Emma Stone, Michelle Wright, Jared LeBoff and Glenn Close serving as executive producers.