Disney has now put out several movies that are live-action reboots of our beloved classics. From the Lion King to Aladdin, it was no surprise that we would get a 101 Dalmatians movie in the works. To my surprise however, they announced an origin story of one of the most hated villains to appear on the silver screen, Cruella. This is a very bold move on Disney’s part and there was genuinely a lot of backlash that came out of this announcement. As soon as the first trailer dropped there were many notations that this story seemed very similar to a movie that came out earlier, which was 2019’s Joker. Another movie many people felt that the film studios are trying to humanize an antagonist, although they will eventually commit horrendous crimes. That being said, I entered Cruella with a lot of caution and low expectations. To my surprise Cruella, directed by Craig Gillespie (I Tonya), was a fun and enjoyable ride that had many great twist and turns that kept me engaged in its entire run time.
Emma Stone brings the character of Cruella to life in this origin story. Emma was able to steal my attention in almost every scene she was in. She has a major presence that really sets her apart from any other actors in the industry. There is a lot of depth and control in her performance not not only felt very genuine, but it was very believable. Without spoiling anything, we see two sides of her personality flip flop a lot and it never felt out of place or awkward. The movie giving us these two perspectives, allowed me as the viewer to connect with her at certain levels. We see her character arc truly bloom throughout the movie. The visual effects did throw me off at times, for they use CGI that wasn’t well polished in some of the action scenes. Overall the movie looked great and the cinematography went beyond my expectations. I extremely adored this soundtrack as well. The way they mixed in very popular hits with something original sounding, gave the movie a lot of personality. Tones were straight forward and it felt like a one of a kind movie. The entire supporting cast was equally as amazing and we got several great scenes of back and forth with Emma Thompson with Emma Stone’s character. You can say the Emmas killed it. Cruella is by far the best Disney classic live-action reboot of the bunch. Although not perfect it holds its own identity in a saturated world of sequels and reboots.
Overall I think Disney did a great job at making this reboot start with an origin story. It is a story that we have not seen before, which brings in a new fresh take. I am worried where they will take the story next since they announced a sequel will be in the works. We see a lot of growth in this character and would hate to see them tarnish it with what happens next. There are many moments where things do fall apart with the pacing unfortunately. There are many moments where her character does questionable actions that make you really dislike her, which ultimately unravels why you are rooting for her to succeed. Picking it apart there are moments of social commentary about the fashion industry or industries as a whole. They dive deep in the ideology of why people act the way they do. Mainly talking about the ruthless world they surround themselves around and what it takes to succeed. For a Disney movie, there are some very dark elements that I was surprised with in general. I think this is Disney’s most ambitious movie to date and would be interested in seeing how they will tackle future reboots. I think this movie works well and a lot of people will get a lot of enjoyment out of it.