Cruella is a Disney+ Original film that acts as a prequel to the 101 Dalmatians series while also going off in its own way. It’s heavily focused on the origins of Cruella de Vil (Emma Stone) as she battles against the powerful Baroness (Emm Thompson) with the help of a few friends.
It definitely has the classic Dalmatians as one might expect, but they’ve taken a bit of a ferocious turn here as they aim to largely make the lead come across as more sympathetic while also very much being villainous at the same time. It’s an interesting and fine tuned balance that works with the character to provide a rather dynamic story.
It has a very slow opening, as in it takes quite awhile to get going but once it does everything is full steam ahead which is exciting for sure. It really does amp up well providing a fun time that’s a mix of heisting and serious drama to some degree as well.
It’s definitely light, but also leans more on mature elements which makes this a bit distinct within the various Disney live action movie takes on their various historic properties. I generally liked the style presented here, at the shift when things go wild I was completely on board and excited where things were being taken. A mix of the 70’s fashion scene, over the top action scenes and of course some quirky heists with a bizarre team.
This film very much revolves around the star Emma Stone, she does a masterful job with this performance embracing a Joker like style. From the mannerism, to the humor and the wildly incredible costume efforts. I was impressed when she went wild, alongside the more subtle moments layered throughout.
The supporting cast is also quite well done, though I wish that Mark Strong’s character could had more to do with what was going on. The Baroness (Emma Thompson) comes across as ruthless which is great and Stone’s henchmen pals Jasper (Joel Fry) alongside Horace (Paul Walter Hauser) were quite funny to see in action. They also matched the historic characters quite well, at least I thought so.
This is also a beautifully shot film, the cinematography at times was quite gorgeous. Particularly the intense fashion shot statements, and the way they captured the era. Now, the CGI backed scenes were very rough which included some shots of groups overlooking the city. The Dalmatians also looked horribly fake, it was almost cartoonish at the start.
Cruella is solid prequel that’s largely led by an extremely talented lead, with Emma Stone stealing the scene as the title character. She really does nail the smaller subtle moments, and times of aggression as she embraces the villain within.
I liked how the rest of the cast fit into their roles, it was varied and respectful of the material it’s taking inspiration from. They used a ton of era appropriate music to push moments, perhaps too much at times. I quite enjoyed this effort, it was fun and wild while still being decently grounded.
It brought humor, with some dabs of drama as well. The CGI stuck out like a sore thumb, but other than that it was generally quite decent and certain viewable. Just keep in mind it’s a slow burn until it gets going and once it does things really pick up well.
Cruella Review at Home with Streamed Viewing
Screening was Provided by Disney