Finally we get a Disney live action remake that has an original story. Disney has given us Lion King, Dumbo, Jungle Book, Tarzan, and Mulan. None of them have been new stories, just retellings of the old story while Disney flexes how great the animation is now. That is what is really driving me away from these live-action remakes as of late! Nothing is being told brand new to the audience. Let’s be honest, most of the people that are seeing these films are those who have seen the original film.
Disney needs to start telling brand new stories, and stop pulling out the old stories with bigger production prices and a flashy cast. This is the main issue I have with this film. Okay, it is an original story, but again this feels like a chance to flex the improved animation and production with a flashy cast of Emma Stone, Emma Thompson and Mark Strong.
Cruella is original and gives us a decent look into Cruella de Vil's back story. I love Emma Stone, and she’s fantastic here but this movie still gave me the feeling of another Disney cash grab. Let's dive in shall we?
In the 70’s we see a young Cruella de Vil. She had a rough childhood and becomes friends with two other orphans Horace and Jasper. The three grow to become thieves running through Paris stealing everything they can lay their eyes on, but Cruella does not stray away from her childhood dream of becoming a fashion designer.
What I loved
I loved Emma Stone in this film. While I do not think the script was the greatest, Emma Stone worked with it the best she could and did a fantastic job. Honestly, I have always been a big fan of her since Superbad, Easy A, The Help, and La La Land. Emma is such a diverse actor and she shows how wonderful she was throughout the film.
The callbacks to 101 Dalmatians is a nice touch, given that this is the prequel to the original film. I did like seeing the dogs and the principal in the beginning of the film use that dot thing to repeatedly put black spots on Cruella's report card.
I will say the fashion was great as well. It seemed like Emma Stone had 101 different outfits in this film(see what I did there?). Paris in the 70’s was fashionable, and we see all these luxury brands like Chanel, Prada, and Gucci. Disney went all out to show the fashion, which makes sense given the story of the film. I might need to step my suit game up after seeing this film!
I do also appreciate the soundtrack for this film. I am a sucker for old school rock and roll! Music can always tell a story and it helps keep the film hip and to the times.
What I didn't love
I feel as though this film could not decide what it wanted to be. A comedy? Drama? Satire? Sometimes it was hard to tell. Also, why was I getting the vibes that this film wanted to be Devil Wears Prada? We have Baroness being the evil woman that is portrayed with Miranda and then we have Cruella being a mix of Emily and Andrea. I do not like a film that wants to be something that it just simply can't. I do not mind the callbacks to Devil Wears Prada and having some inspiration from it. Just stick to the story and be original, that's all I'm asking.
This film totally wasted Mark Strong. After seeing the film he had basically nothing to do until the last 35 minutes. For the most part, all Mark Strong did was look at the camera in shock over the wacky adventures and stand still. Mark Strong is such a great actor and he deserved better than this. I wish I had his job for this film, instead of writing this review I’d be swimming in money like he is. Good payday for Mark.
Cruella throughout the film says that Baroness is a psychopath. That is mighty bold to that considering Cruella is a serial thief, lies about her name, destroys a lot of property, kidnaps Baroness’s dogs and so on. The point is, who is the real psychopath here? The movie wanted the audience to hate Baroness, but seeing the actions of Cruella made me hate her more.
I wish the concert scene had been cut. This scene adds nothing to the story and just drags the film on unnecessarily. On that same note, the film seemed too long. 2 hours and 15 minutes is a little too lengthy for this film given the story that was basically told completely at the 1 hour and 30 minute point.
Although Emma Stone rocks in this film and the fashion will give you dreams of going to an evening ball. This film just cannot overcome uneven storytelling and a waste of a good cast.
3 out of 5.