Cruella ★★½

Cruella was a movie that struck a rather interesting chord for me at the time. I didn't really know what to expect or what kind of story was gonna be told here. After finishing, I can't help but to feel underwhelmed to an extent.

This film has been getting pretty good ratings from the masses. I'm not sure if this is a "girl power" movement and/or if they genuinely like this movie, but this one was just very middle-of-the-road for me. A lot of people are making the comparisons to that of Joker and The Devil Wears Prada. To that I say, please watch more movies. I never really understood the Joker comparison other than maybe a couple different elements that are similar to each other, i.e. the way certain scenes are filmed.

For the way the film presents the Cruella character, it came off rather tame in comparison to the 101 Dalmatians films. This is more of a personal preference thing, but I wish the film delved a little further into her psyche and what turned her into the more familiar characteristic. That being said, I do appreciate the newfound perspective that light was shed onto, despite how seemingly surface her story is.

The film really struggles to find its footing in the first part in regards to tone and storytelling. It's very soundtrack heavy with a lot of licensed music, and most of the time it feels really shoehorned to make you feel a certain way about scenes, but it seems at though they would've worked better without the music. For some weird reason, they decided to make the dogs CGI in some scenes, and it doesn't look very good when it's done, and it didn't really add anything or go beyond any limitations that actual dogs couldn't do.

I think the costume and production design are probably the best part of the entire film, but that's not that surprising because Disney can get the best of the best. The performances are all pretty serviceable, but also fun. Nobody really stands out, despite the fact that Emma Stone is a great actress, but she does a fine job with what she's given. The cinematography is actually pretty good. There's a handful of smooth transitions within scenes that convey what it's aiming to.

I'm gonna get into a little spoiler territory, because these are a couple things I'm wanting to mention so just skip to the very bottom if you wish to not be spoiled.


So when I mentioned earlier about how Cruella's backstory isn't that tragic, it really...isn't that tragic. For popular reason, I'm gonna use Joker as an example, even though I've been avoiding that this entire review, but even that character has been through much more traumatic experiences than Cruella. For her, the writers decided "yeah we're not gonna really try to make her tragedy anything unique or monumental so we'll just do this" and then as a result it's "oh her mom got thrown off a cliff by some CGI dogs". Like, okay then. Way to cop out by using the most typical trope for a villain origin story.

So as you could've already guessed, the writing can be very lazy. Right when you get to the twist of the Baroness being her actual mother and then the last 10 minutes or so of the movie, I thought "REALLY? THAT'S WHAT THEY WENT WITH"? Seriously though, that parachuting scene I thought was really funny because it was just such an uninspired way to handle the ending.


Overall, I didn't hate this movie enough to call it bad, but didn't love it enough to call it good. In essence it's just pretty mediocre and there's not a lot of substance to take away from it. If you liked 101 Dalmatians, then you'd probably get a kick out of this movie. I don't know if I'd recommend it, but I do think it's the best Disney live-action remake, so it's got that going for it, I suppose.


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