Cruella ★★½

I simultaneously have a lot and little to say about this film. It's easily the best Disney live action film... which I know is a low bar to clear, but I'll take a 2.5/5 movie over a 1/5 movie. Emma Stone carries the movie (no surprises there) and the costumes look awesome (courtesy of Jenny Beavan, who also did costumes for Mad Max: Fury Road). I think my problems with the movie overall was the fact that it looks like a David Fincher movie with the pseudo-documentary camerwork of the Avengers movies while being totally silly and not self-serious. The gritty realism of the aesthetics is at total odds with the tone. It can't decide between being edgy and kid friendly so it ends up being toothless... Also the gratuitous use of pop music reminded me way too much of Suicide Squad. It's not without some highlights though. When the David Bowie looking character performs that cover of I Wanna Be Your Dog by The Stooges at Cruella's runway show? Iconic. Even the guitarist is playing the right chords!

Some of the feminism at the start was obnoxious ("I am woman, hear me roar" was painful) and hurt the first half hour or so. However, what I found refreshing was that it never tries to outright villainize men. Instead, all the conflict thrown at Cruella isn't a symptom of her gender (nor the gender of the people who oppose and oppress her), but a symptom of what her ambitions represent. Cruella ultimately overcomes her obstacles not just because she's a bad bitch, but because of how strongly she believes in her dreams.

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