Well, color me black and white and give me a puppy to skin, I actually loved Cruella.
To be frank, I think that that live action Disney adaptations are trash. With the exception of The Jungle Book, they are absolute low-effort garbage that seem to get more and more uninspired with each new iteration. Perhaps this is why Cruella feels like such a revelation to me. Not only does this live-action adaptation of the villainess from 101 Dalmatians tell an original story that we haven’t seen before (unless you count The Devil Wears Prada), it is bursting with delightful performances, an audacious style, and a story that allows Cruella to remain the villain while allowing you to root for her as well.
This is the kind of movie that Maleficent dreamed about being.
Set before the events of 101 Dalmatians, Cruella follows the life of Estella, a brilliant but somewhat evil child who, after a horrible turn of events, finds herself in London where she climbs the ladder of fashion from the very bottom rung all the way into the employ of the equally to slightly more evil fashion diva, The Baroness. From there, Estella is determined to bring The Baroness down by adopting an fashionista alterego, Cruella DeVil.
My goodness, this movie is so much fun. Emma Thompson and Emma Stone are simply phenomenal as The Baroness and Cruella, borrowing heavily from The Devil Wears Prada, but that’s okay because the movie moves out of that shadow fairly quickly.
I enjoyed this movie because, rather than making Cruella a hero, she’s still a fairly despicable person and, even though she does have some revelations about treating those close to her better, you still buy that she would happily skin a bunch of puppies to make a coat if the mood struck her. I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate the fact that, deep down, they kept Cruella evil and, what’s more, it’s that darkness inside of her that not only gives her an edge, but allows her to ultimately win.
Basically, Cruella is a battle of the bitches and I loved every glorious moment of it.
The movie is dripping with style, both in set decoration and the amazing costumes, and has a banging soundtrack to boot. To be honest, at times you almost forget you’re watching a movie instead of a fashion show. As I said, Emma Stone is fantastic as Cruella. Part of me was hesitant to see someone so young and beautiful take on the role of a character I’ve always regarded as an old hag, but she pulls it off and more than makes the role her own. You accept her as Cruella DeVil without question.
Emma Thompson is also fantastic as the deliciously evil Baroness, giving Cruella a delightful foil to play off of. It’s always great to see Thompson on screen. It feels like we don’t see her enough.
Cruella is so much fun. Twists, turns, oneupsmanship, and snarkiness… this is a film that breaks the corporate mold of, “Lets do the bare minimum because we’re sure that these movies are going to make a ton of money,” and does something new, different, and amazing.
I’m shocked. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like it at all.