Cruella – Movie Review

Directed by : Craig Gillespie

Written by : Dana Fox & Tony McNamara (Screenplay), Aline Brosh McKenna (Story)

Starring : Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, John McCrea, Emily Beecham, and Mark Strong.

Cruella is Disney’s latest live-action adaptation of their classic characters, this time taking on the titular villain from the classic 101 Dalmatians story. Unlike their previous live action efforts – that mostly focuses on converting their iconic animated films to a live action version – Cruella ventures out to tell its own story that’s very much detached from it’s dalmatian-repulsed origins. Opting for a fresh new take that seeks to reinvent the character of Cruella de Vil, taking place in 1970s London, during its punk rock movement phase.

Emma Stone takes on the iconic character, providing an energetic and enjoyably unhinged performance that showcases the essence of Cruella de Vil – while reinventing the character at the same time. It also helps that the film opts to make Jasper & Horace Badun (Joe Fry & Paul Walter Hauser)two characters who are usually relegated as measly henchmen in the old animated films – into Cruella’s best friends, as the chemistry between Stone, Fry, and Hauser were a delight to watch.

Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya), takes the helm and injects his signature energetic direction into the film. Drawing inspiration from films such as The Devil Wears Prada and even some slight nods to Todd Phillip’s Joker. The heart and soul of the movie is the relationship between Emma Stone’s Cruella and Emma Thompson’s Baroness – mirroring the dynamics of Meryl Streep & Anne Hathaway in the aforementioned The Devil Wears Prada.

The only stain in this overall fun flick is the overdrawn runtime of 2 hours and 13 minutes, while the film never runs out of energy – there were some parts that felt overly-stretched and could have been left on the cutting room floor. In-addition to the bloated runtime – the film’s soundtrack choice might feel overbearing at times, even though they certainly fit the tone.

What sets Cruella apart from Disney’s other live-action attempts is that it does not feel shackled by the need to stay true to its source material. Cruella has no reservations when it comes to changing the characters’s origins in order to serve a better story.

Cruella is now available in theaters and Disney+ with Premier access.

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