Cruella ★★★½

Goodbye, Cruella.

Cruella can be called a lot of things. It deserves “campy”. It is a prequel to Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, exploring the story of its famous villain, Cruella DeVil. From the same dastardly bro that brought you I, Tonya, humanizing the woman responsible for busting rival Nancy Kerrigan’s landing knee, Craig Gillespie takes a stab at Cruella. It's based on the novel One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith; one of the people responsible for the story was Aline Brosh McKenna who wrote the screenplay to The Devil Wears Prada. Boom! The film is so self-aware and doesn't try to hide behind anything, playing The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog" (which is so catchy that Cruella can't help but sing it later upon returning home).

The last thing I wanted was a villain I could pity. However, Cruella manages to do this without causing the audience to feel very guilty. Emma Stone humanizes her, but also gives a larger than life performance that shows just how "mad" Cruella has been driven.

Wreaking havoc at galas is my personal specialty.

Emma Thompson is the ultimate sweetheart, but really shows her range as someone with perhaps a crueler heart than Cruella (is that even possible?). The story sets up her character as The Baroness from the beginning as someone who isn't to be messed with and who is even perhaps out for blood. When she says, “I’ve done it again”, taking credit for something someone else does, it recalls Kristin Scott Thomas' character in Love Crime (Crime d’amour).

Its execution was less cartoony than Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn and less emotional than Joker. It was clearer, more thoughtful, and less ambiguous than either of those two movies. As someone who was sick of villain origin stories and was extremely apprehensive about Cruella, I still managed to have a good time and escape with a clear conscience. Overall, it was a good watch.

Aren’t they gorgeous and vicious?

Vegan alert:
-Dalmatians portrayed as vicious
-Training dogs to thieve
-Fur hat
-Horace’s leopard-skin cape with fur
-Pest-control sprays a dog
-Rats are dumped in a kitchen
-Cruella orders chicken and lamb
-Cruella threatens to kill dogs
-Baroness’ snakeskin dress
-Wink (dog) is thrown
-Dog whistle is used to manipulate dogs

Vegan points:
-Dogs named Buddy and Wink are treated with the utmost respect and loved throughout the whole movie.
-Credits encourage people to adopt from local animal shelter
-American Humane monitored the action. No animals were harmed.

Allison M. liked these reviews