Following the huge success of “Maleficent”, Disney’s next live-action prequel is “Cruella”, where they go back and tell the origin story of Cruella De Vill, who is the main villain from the 101 Dalmatians.
Emma Stone plays Estella, who, after losing her mother, is forced to live on the streets of London, with a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief and are also orphans. Together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets.
But the life of crime isn’t what Estella is destined to do, as she has a creative flair that soon catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, who is a fashion designer, who takes her under her wings.
Their relationship releases the darker personality of Estella, “Cruella”, who brings chaos, wickedness and some absolutely fabulous costumes.
The original 101 Dalmatians film obviously was very focused on the dogs, and this film doesn’t disappoint, there are a couple of sidekick dogs who are fantastic and bring some comedy moments to the story, along with the two thieves, who all make Estella much more likeable and allow you to connect with her as the films main character.
Emma Stone is also even more fantastic in the role of “Cruella”. She pulls off the crazy wild side and gives us a look at the sheer brilliance of the character. Much like “Maleficent”, the film does a good job in finding that fine line in making you empathise with the character, but always knowing she’s still a psycho who wants to kill puppies to make a coat. Which they tease on a couple of occasions, it’s not an easy line to balance, but that wicked side is so fun to watch. Emma Thompson is also fantastic as the Baroness and having these two strong female characters trying to outsmart and outdo one another, is so fun to watch.
With the film set in the 60s, the costumes are completely crazy, especially every scene “Cruella” appears in, as her whole objective is to steal the show, capture people’s imaginations and ultimately show up the Baroness. Especially as the whole look of the film is very dark and gritty, that just makes the costumes stand out. Which is what you’d want from a film with two feuding fashion designers.
My only complaint about this film was sometimes the visual effects looked a little over the top and distracted me, since it was so noticeable that they were using computer-generated images. It only happened a few times, but it might not bother you.
It’s not just the visuals of this film that stand out; the soundtrack is fantastic. Being set in London during the 1960s, means they’ve been able to use some incredible classic British rock songs from the period. The soundtrack is well worth checking out; it kinda reminds me of “Guardians of the Galaxy”, since it uses these songs perfectly to set the tone.
I’ve never felt “Cruella” was a story worth telling and wasn’t that excited about the film ahead of the release. But I really enjoyed it, especially as it wasn’t your typical remake like “Aladdin” or “The Lion King”, as it was an original story. The music is fantastic, and it looks stunning.
The big question about “Cruella” is, is it worth $29.99? Or wait for it to be released on Disney+ for free. I really enjoyed it, and I’ve already watched it twice, but I’m not sure it’s worth the Premier Access for everyone. If you’re on your own, wait or go to the cinema. If you’re a couple, it might be worth it, as long as both you or your partner are interested in it. I think Premier Access could offer value for money for a family, especially with repeated viewings.
“Cruella” is a delightful film, it looks stunning, it sounds fantastic, and I’m thrilled I’ve seen it. Emma Stone stills the show and brings “Cruella” to life, by making her a much more interesting character. The split personality aspect of the character wasn’t something I was expecting, as it made the film so much more enjoyable. It’s brilliant, and I’m sure Disney fans are going to love it, especially those who want something a little darker than usual.
Rating 4.5 out of 5.
”Cruella” is coming to Disney+ Premier Access and theatres on Friday 28th May.
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.