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By Alan Ng | May 27, 2021

One thing I loved about Cruella was how it embraced the U.K. of the 60s. If you want to make your kids a fan of psychedelic 60s, this movie will do just that. The soundtrack features the best rock of the decade. The fashion is all there too. I’ve just never seen a kid’s film that did the 60s justice… or did the 60s at all! It’s all the cool stuff of that era, and I think young kids will eat it up.

The biggest problem with Cruella is its connection to the original 1961 animated feature or the 1996 live-action adaptations of Dodie Smith’s classic book. Said connection simply doesn’t work. The movie has all the significant players from the original stories. Still, unless they’re ultimately going to completely rewrite the character of Cruella into a baby-face or Stone Cold anti-hero (WWE reference), then transition to the story we know doesn’t work. Cruella doesn’t even get the Wicked or Maleficent treatment, where she’s a hero-in-disguise.

I love Stone’s take on the slow mental breakdown of Cruella…”

It should be noted that yes, Roger and Anita (Kayvan Novak and Kirby Howell-Baptiste) are in the movie, in more than just cameos. But the problem is that Cruella sets up the circumstance of how the two meet in the animated feature. Still, it logically doesn’t make sense—unless they’re planning on yet another live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians.

Cruella DeVille is a great villain across each version of the story. There are stores, Halloween parties, and a massive fan-based devoted not only to Disney villains but specifically to Cruella. Somehow making her a sympathetic character lets the steam out of this character. Maybe Gillespie and screenwriters Dana Fox, Tony McNamara give her more heart and redemption than Disney fans want. I wish they chose a direction instead of casting doubt on her true villainy. Giving the character and her henchmen so much heart robs the narrative of genuine menace.

Overall, Cruella is definitely one of the better live-action remakes that Disney has put out. Except for the ending, it honors the book and other iterations, and better yet, I could care less about a sequel. This version stands on its own, problems and all, as an interesting tale of an anti-hero… or is it about a tragic villain?

Cruella (2021)

Directed: Craig Gillespie

Written: Dana Fox, Tony McNamara

Starring: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Mark Strong, Niamh Lynch, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Cruella Image

"…definitely one of the better live-action remakes that Disney has put out."

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