As much as I’ve been a Disney fan, I have not been the biggest fan of the steady stream of prequels and remakes. I have opinions and feelings about the subject.
Cruella is the origin story of one of Walt Disney’s most iconic villains. Yes, Craig Gillespie’s film is set in the proper timeline (maybe shifted forward by five years), taking place in the early 1960s. Cruella is actually Estella (Emma Stone), and both she and her mother are on the run. In need of quick cash, she meets up with a mysterious stranger at a global fashion show. Then the young Estella witnesses the murder of her mother by a pack of rabid dalmatians.
The newly orphaned girl is taken in by two grifters, Horace (Joel Fry) and Jasper (Paul Walter Hauser), and soon becomes the ring leader of a pickpocket operation. When Estella turns eighteen, Jasper, knowing she can’t live as a grifter forever, gets her an internship to work for the fashion designer The Baroness (Emma Thompson). Estella proves to be a talented and gifted designer with new and fresh ideas.
“…the origin story of one of Walt Disney’s most iconic villains…Cruella.”
Now here’s where the story gets juicy. The Baroness was somehow involved in Estella’s mother’s death. Upon learning this, Estella decides to exact revenge by creating a mysterious competitor known as “Cruella.” She uses the alter-ego to sabotage The Baroness from the inside.
I loved that Cruella’s story as a Disney Villain is firmly established…until the end. Emma Stone plays the role as a narcissistic sociopath. She has a dark side and is only made darker by The Baroness. Is Emma Stone a perfect Cruella? I say yes. Sure, her British accent may not be perfect, but it stands above Dick Van D**e’s by miles. I love Stone’s take on the slow mental breakdown of Cruella, and there’s a monologue near the end that may seem odd but works for the character.
Emma Thompson also stands out as the kid’s version of Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly. There’s surprising depth to The Baroness, who should by no means have any.
"…definitely one of the better live-action remakes that Disney has put out."