Cruella ★★★½

Love me into shape, I suppose, was the plan.”

it’s easy to dunk on this movie for many reasons, such as for the fact that it exists in the first place, and for the odd choices it makes, and for the humorously frequent needle drops (the greatest hits are fun but why rely on them near constantly when u have a composer as phenomenal as Nicholas Britell on board??), but all that said, I had SO much more fun watching this than expected. probably in no small part because the experience was enhanced by watching it at a drive-in theater with my family on a pleasant evening, post-rain, with a voucher for free hot cocoa and all-you-can-eat snacks.

“I want to make art, Artie, and I want to make trouble. You in?” 

there’s a certain cartoonish pleasure in seeing two great Emmas clash in a struggle for power, and there’s an appropriately ridiculous level of gothic Drama baked into the origin story of this over-the-top disney villain, who thrives on the dramatic spectacle of her own histrionic Joker-esque wickedness. it’s more style than substance for sure and I’m left unclear about what was the *point* of it all—and yet, the style is an enjoyable indulgence, with its fiery mish-mash of fashion & devilish supervillainy. 

“From the very beginning, I've always made a statement. Not everyone appreciated that. But I wasn't for everyone.”

side tangent: i’m thankful & not surprised that Cruella’s descent into evil stops short of committing actual canine killings, but it’s also funny how that was essentially her core defining purpose in the source material and they couldn’t exactly stick to that in a movie that centers her sympathetically, lol.

which makes it interesting, based on the bit with the newspaper headlines & false public perception of Cruella as a Dalmatian Killer fueled by the press, how this movie sort of reframes the Cruella character we remember from the original 101 Dalmatians as a myth, like a 2D misrepresentation existing only in collective imagination, a mere shadow on a cave wall, invented from a misreading of a more “real” live-action “truth”… which then gets me thinking about the frustrating perception of hierarchy that positions live action as superior because of its ostensible closeness to reality, and how contemporary Disney feeds this devaluation (of the same medium it originally helped champion & popularize) not only through its industrial practices but actually embedded intertextually in movies like this one ...which leads me into thinking about postmodern media and Plato’s theory of the forms, and imitations of imitations, and fake fur coats, but I’ll stop this review right there before it spirals completely out of control 🥴

“Anyway, must dash—much to revenge, avenge, and destroy.” 

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