Cruella ★★★½


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Cruella is a cool movie. I wasn’t the most excited when I first heard that this film was being made but over the past few weeks because of it’s surprisingly positive reviews I’ve been looking forward to see it. I’m always cautious around Disney live action films so naturally that little bit of me thought it could turn out to be bad but luckily I was surprised at how good the film ended up being. Although I’ve always loved the original 101 Dalmatians and even before seeing this film considered Cruella De Vil to be one of the best Disney villains I wasn’t that big into her supposedly large fandom. This film engages the audience in this eccentric character’s origins and makes you realize from the very start how much they needed to be told, even though the mainstream audience primarily weren’t asking for it. It’s easy to say that this film is definitely one of the best Disney live action films.

 The plot is good it’s a little muddled but very enjoyable story. The narrative is very engaging that consists of some familiarly fun themes of revenge and aspects of the story that could have fallen flat but rose to feel fresh. There are many themes of heartbreak and dangerous ambition that are dealt with in a manor that can be understood by adults and children too. I was honestly surprised at how stylish the film was and how despite this punk style managed to still be accessible to it’s younger demographic. There is a handful of big flaws in the story the biggest ones being that there are quite a few plot holes and moments were it seemed the story had no idea what direction it was going in. An example of one of these plot holes was how Cruella/her gang managed to get all this equipment, clothing supplies the baroness couldn’t even get, etc. without any money whatsoever. Some could argue they stole it all but for that I say it would be practically impossible for them to steal thousands of dollars worth of this stuff and on top of that showcase it in public without getting caught. 

The pacing is great since it’s such an entertaining story there isn’t a lot of slow or boring moments even if the film goes overlong. The acting is great Emma Stone gives a great performance as the star of the film. My biggest hope going into this film was that she would nail her character and she truly did. She captured that stubbornness, confidence, and raw passion that really makes a good villain. Although Cruella is clearly a villain the film did a great job of making the viewer feel sympathetic for her. Stone once again proves she’s one of the best actresses currently working. Emma Thompson gives a great performance as the narcissistic and purely evil villain. It’s uncanny how much her character resembled Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada but maybe that’s one reason I loved her in this. Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, John McCrea, Mark Strong, and Emily Beecham give good supporting performances as well. 

The direction is good from Craig Gillespie, he in fact jumbled some of the tonal shifts in a damaging way but for the most part I was a fan of his lightweight passion towards solidifying the film’s style. The script is okay it’s a frequently repetitive and generic script that is mainly saved by its memorable nature. The cinematography is great this film features some notable tracking shots especially that awesome shot when we first go into the Liberty store. The visual effects are horrible and make the dogs in the film look incredibly unnatural. The soundtrack is fantastic it’s a very fitting soundtrack with a handful of amazing songs especially during the multiple montages. In terms of the Oscars this film has a solid chance of getting a Best Costume Design nomination and although it’s definitely a far stretch Stone deserves to be in consideration for a Best Actress nod. The ending has a foreseeable twist but nonetheless is a very satisfying ending. Also I personally liked that post credit scene and I thought it added some fun layers to the characters. Overall while not many people may have asked for it, I’m certainly glad that Cruella was made because of it’s straightforward style and very situating performances. 

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