“101 Dalmatians” meets “The Devil Wears Prada” in Disney’s new film “Cruella,” starring Emma Stone as the iconic villain Cruella de Vil. Both “Cruella” and “The Devil Wears Prada” feature young women working in the fashion industry under a diabolical boss. However, Disney’s new film, “Cruella,” tells the story of how an aspiring fashion designer develops into an evil puppy killer.
I have to begin by admitting that this review will be biased; “101 Dalmatians” is my all-time favorite movie. However, I did go into “Cruella” with zero expectations. I had seen a teaser trailer months ago, but I didn’t read any reviews prior to watching it.
With that warning, let’s talk about the film. *Spoilers ahead!*
As someone who rewatches “101 Dalmatians” at least five times a year, I thoroughly enjoyed all the references made to the 1961 film. Characters from the original movie like Horace, Jasper, Anita, and Roger made appearances and, if you stayed for the after-credits scene, you saw the cheeky surprise that Cruella was the one who gifted the original dalmations to Anita and Roger.
The film also paid tribute to locations included in the original film like Regents Park (the park where Anita and Roger first met) and “Hellman Hall (later known as ‘Hell Hall’).”
Cruella de Vil is a notorious dog hater. This is why I was caught off guard when the movie began with Estella (the name Cruella came later) bringing a puppy home from school and keeping it as her sidekick for the duration of the film. Her hatred toward dalmatians came from childhood trauma of watching her mother die by the hands (or paws) of dalmatians.
The concept of nature versus nurture was prevalent in the movie as Cruella, in her own words, said, “She was born a little bad and mad,” but was raised by her mother to suppress the cruel side.
The soundtrack for the film was good, but it was almost too good. I saw “Cruella” in theaters with my mom, and we were snapping our fingers to almost every song. But, when every song is a banger, it becomes distracting and takes you out of the movie. So, although it was fun to sing along to the ‘70s and ‘80s hits, I think we could’ve gone without some of them.
Fashion played a significant role in the movie as Estella grew up with a goal of becoming a fashion designer and ended up working under London’s most esteemed fashion designer, the Baroness (played by the infamous Emma Thompson).
After an unexpected twist, Cruella seeks revenge on the Baroness by upstaging her as the better fashion designer on several occasions. She is able to pull this off with the help of Horace and Jasper — a pair of thieves who Cruella views as her only source of family.
“Cruella” truly encompasses everything you look for in a movie. It was hilarious, edgy, challenged the true meaning of family, and made you empathize with a character who has always been seen as a villain.
With that being said, if you want to get back to the movie theater for the first time in over a year and you need something light-hearted, “Cruella” is the perfect movie for you.
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