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Cruella (2021)

We all know Cruella de Vil, which is why expectations where extremely high for this Disney live action. When I imagine Cruella, I expect the upmost of extravagance and elegance. Disney most definitely delivered on aesthetics, the costumes, the soundtrack, and the cast delivered my vision for this live-action and although it had some flaws, like all new adaptions or interpretations, I still found this live-action to be one of the best, if not the best, updated version of a classic animation.

Cruella is the epitome of glamour and fashion, as a child growing up watching 101 Dalmatians, I found Cruella to be terrifying and although Emma Stone’s Cruella is not quiet at that stage in her life the potential is defiantly there. Emma Stone did an incredible job at maintaining similarities to the cartoon whilst also brining her own unique twist to the role in the form of vulnerability and understanding. After watching Cruella, I can sympathise with the character more than I ever have before, she has a backstory, she has a tragic past and now we get to see the unseen truth behind her utterly evil personality.

Let us address the accent… *slow clap*, well done Emma Stone, I was nervous for the accent, I was nervous her laugh would not compare to Glenn Close’s in the 1996 live action but, although it was different, she truly delivered and I really felt like Cruella had come to life, which is all I wanted from her performance. The two Emma’s (Stone and Thompson) had a very organic presence together, both supported each other and had brilliant chemistry, it could have been easy for these two talented actors to clash but instead they both gave thrilling and unique performances. I also want to address Jasper and Horace, who were cast perfectly, both actors brought the essence of these characters and truly embodied their energies from the cartoon. I also loved the connection of how they met Cruella and why exactly they stick around and help her evil schemes, it tied up that element of the story ideally and I would not change a thing about the dynamic duo.

The films plot was fresh, Disney favour towards showing us the venerable side to their villains, similarly to the Maleficent films (although this was executed much better), it is intriguing to see such unlikable characters in this state, it is fun to finally understand the reasoning behind their actions. Of course, a huge part of Cruella’s look is her hair which was unexpectedly explained as a birth defect, which I was not completely sold on at first but after the explanation of her ‘split’ or dual personality of Estella and Cruella the hair somewhat explains itself and although it was a fluffy Disney explanation it still delivered the fantasy of good and evil.

Although I have raved about this live action thus far, I still want to address a few flaws that just did not sit right with me. Overall, this movie was brilliant, and, on the surface, it was flawless but after leaving the cinema and picking away at the layers I found some unanswered questions. Firstly, Cruella’s hatred for dogs; her dislike for Dalmatians is understandable and the movies clears this up but what I do not understand is why she keeps the Baroness’ dogs by the end of the film? I completely understand that Disney are updating this character for a new generation and for a new audience, but Cruella’s identity is formed from her hatred for Dalmatians which later fuels her whole narrative, which leaves me thinking, what else happens to her or have Disney decided to scrap the whole ‘murdering puppies for coats’? I know its completely morbid and disturbing but that is what makes Cruella the villain she is? Although this change in character development threw my slightly, I still thoroughly enjoyed this prequel, I am intrigued to see what they do in the second movie.

Essentially, Cruella (2021) was a perfect insight into Cruella’s backstory, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this character in a new light. Emma Stone created a likable interpretation of the iconic character whilst still brining her own personality to the role. I enjoyed the references to the cartoon and of course the connection to Anita and Roger and their inevitable involvement in the upcoming sequel after the reveal in the post credits scene. I have so much to discuss about this movie and nowhere near enough time but I’ll end with this, Cruella (2021) is by far the most enjoyable and unique interpretation of a Disney classic and I simply want more, bring me Cruella’s cigarette holder, give me her cloud of green smoke and please scare me into thinking she is going to make a fur coat out of puppies!!!


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Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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