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Cruella (2021)

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Well, if they just let her be evil without any stupid sob story or redemption arc, it might  at least be fun. But I have no interest in seeing this. I love Emma Stone, but Glenn Close was the perfect Cruella.

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Summary:

" Brilliant. Bad. A little bit mad. May 2021.

Academy Award® winner Emma Stone (“La La Land”) stars in Disney’s “Cruella,” an all-new live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious – and notoriously fashionable – villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil.

“Cruella,” which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by two-time Oscar® winner Emma Thompson (“Howards End,” “Sense & Sensibility”). But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.  

Disney’s “Cruella” is directed by Craig Gillespie (“I Tonya”) from a screenplay by Dana Fox and Tony McNamara, story by Aline Brosh McKenna and Kelly Marcel & Steve Zissis. It was produced by Andrew Gunn (“Freaky Friday”), Marc Platt (“Mary Poppins Returns”) and Kristin Burr (“Christopher Robin”), with Emma Stone, Michelle Wright, Jared LeBoff and Glenn Close serving as executive producers. Two-time Oscar®- winning costume designer Jenny Beavan (“Mad Max: Fury Road,” “A Room with a View”) creates the dazzling and imaginative costumes, which take on a life of their own. "

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1 hour ago, Spartan Girl said:

Well, if they just let her be evil without any stupid sob story or redemption arc, it might  at least be fun. But I have no interest in seeing this. I love Emma Stone, but Glenn Close was the perfect Cruella.

I don't know about a redemption arc, but we still might get a sob story. Even though the trailer admits she's "bad" (the Maleficent trailers hid the fact that they made her the 'good guy', so...). However, the writing credits give me hope it'll at be fun and hopefully good. They're definitely going to give her a reason to target Dalmatians specifically, though.

I wonder if this is supposed to line up with the Glenn Close version, at least partially? Close has a producer credit - interesting.

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Emma Stone looks awesome in this, I really dig the mod look, but I am not here another of these "sob story villain origin story" movies. They might still be advertising with the whole "she's bad!" stuff, but you just know she is going to get a big sob story where it was totally her mean parents fault or some mean boyfriend or she was bitten by a mean dog and now she hates dogs, and its just going to take away from Cruella being just a cool evil villain. This is probably going to be another Maleficent where the bad guy is actually a misunderstood woobie who was never even really did anything wrong and the heroes were the bad guys all along and they take a badass female villain and make her some poor sad victim who loves children and puppies and is perfect. It'll probably turn out that Cruella was never going to actually skin the puppies and make their fur into a coat, she was actually saving them from the evil Roger and Anita, who were going to sell the puppies to an evil puppy dealer or something. 

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The trailer actually has me intrigued. I am worried they will try to excuse her but I think it would actually be fun if she is just a very stylish psychopath. But after what they did to my all time favorite Maleficent, I'm trying to manage my expectations. I will say Emma (both Emma's) looks AMAZING. If nothing else, I think this is going to be visually stunning. 

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New trailer and stills released:

 

 

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My opinion of the need for this aside, the costumes are fantastic.

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I hate to admit it, but this looks awesome! As long as I pretend that Emma Stone's character is just some other character who happens to be named Cruella and not the actual Cruella DeVil from 101 Dalmatians. But the clothes, the cinematography, the setting, the sparring between the Emma's...I'm in. 

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Yeah, I'm kind of digging it too.  I don't know if I'm $30 on Disney+ digging it, but I'm closer than I thought I'd be.

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30-second spot with some new clips:

 

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I loved it. An audacious film for a Disney film. This could have been a Touchstone film back in the day. It has a great pedigree behind it with writers from "The Favourite" and "The Devil Wears Prada" behind it.  Great fun IMO and doesn't water down Cruella that much.

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Did Horace’s earlier comment about one of the Dalmatians gaining weight mean that dog was a she, and was pregnant? And if so, does that mid credits scene imply that Pongo and Perdita are... siblings? And why did Cruella send Roger a gift? Did he have scenes that were cut from the movie because I don’t recall the two of them interacting at all.

I’m assuming that like Maleficent, this is non-canon with the animated movie although if it is supposed to be, being the one who gave both Roger and Anita their dogs would explain why she feels entitled to their puppies. Although I can’t reconcile this Jasper (or Horace for that matter) with his animated counterpart.

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Did Horace’s earlier comment about one of the Dalmatians gaining weight mean that dog was a she, and was pregnant? And if so, does that mid credits scene imply that Pongo and Perdita are... siblings?

Yes. Genghis was their mother.

Quote

And why did Cruella send Roger a gift? Did he have scenes that were cut from the movie because I don’t recall the two of them interacting at all.

They were in a scene together, but didn't interact.  Cruella also gives a voiceover about how Roger always blamed her for being fired (though how could she have known he felt that way?) so I think she gifted him Pogo as a goodwill gesture. It's a good guess that a scene was cut. The Baroness did task him with investigating Cruella.

 

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I liked this film actually! I wasn’t planning on seeing it, but since I bought the 3yrs of Disney+ for everyone, my friend has been buying the premiere access films. 
 

Emma Stone did a great job as Cruella, it was a gorgeous film and such fun. 

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A lot of the Twitter commentary about this reminds me of a lot of what I think is misguided discussions about Riverdale.  Yes, Cruella's mom getting killed by being knocked over a cliff by Dalmatians is silly -- intentionally so.  This is camp.  Now, camp may or may not be your thing, but it is what it is.

Artistically this isn't a movie with any particularly compelling reason to exist, but if you get past that, it's entertaining enough.  Stone is a blast as Cruella, as you'd expect, and all that Disney $$$ paid for a lot of fun production and costume design and a nothing-but-hits soundtrack (I rewatched Gillespie's previous film, I, Tonya, right beforehand, and he's clearly a guy who likes his music cues).

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It was a very stylish film and overall I liked it, but I think the best moments were used in the trailers, so those scenes lost a bit of their impact for me.  Specific spoilers below:

The first part of the film with Cruella as a child dragged for too long.  It felt very much like a kids' movie in this segment.  She lashed out because she was being bullied, so I'm not sure that she truly inherited the cruelty from her birthmother that they were trying to claim with her alter-ego "Cruella".  

I think the segment I liked the most was probably "The De Vil Wears Prada" parts, since both main actresses had excellent line deliveries.  The Baroness was probably even more deliciously sharp than Cruella by a small margin.

I don't understand why Cruella's adoptive mother went directly to the Baroness for financial support, instead of John the bald butler, who could have helped her under the table. 

The story wasn't overly creative, but I think it provided an engaging and satisfying narrative once it got going.  Unlike "Maleficent", which I thought was a very messy story with a way more blatant attempt at a sob story.  I was glad this movie didn't make Anita and Roger into evil psychos.  Yes, they made Dalmatians into killers, but they made it clear multiple times that Estella/Cruella didn't skin them.  I was initially worried we were basically getting a female Joker, but aside from some similarities in makeup in a few outfits, that thankfully did not pan out.  

However, this movie does not work as an actual origin story for the Cruella in the animated movie.  This Cruella is a different person.   Sure, she is overdramatic and flashy but she is basically a decent person with a vendetta against someone specific who wronged her. 

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Yes, Cruella made sure only the Baroness paid for her crimes. And only upped the ante once she found out the full truth. And considering she trained the dalmatians to sit, overriding the Baroness' commands, she probably treated the dogs better. Not really the actions of someone "bad and a little bit mad." The only collateral damage was Roger getting fired which Cruella made up for (apparently?) I'm still confused how she knew or cared what happened to him. Unless there's a deleted scene where he finds out her identity but keeps it a secret which is when he gets fired. At least then the puppy gift would have made sense, as Roger and Anita would be the only people not living in Hell Hall at the end who knew her secret and kept it.

And while inbreeding probably isn't as genetically harmful in dogs, I'm still a little disturbed that Pongo and Perdita are littermates, and that Roger and Anita had to have realized it at some point after they start dating and realize they got their dogs in exactly the same way at exactly the same time.

I actually did really enjoy the movie, but it doesn't work at all as a Cruella DeVil origin story, since I can't imagine how in a few short years she becomes obsessed with skinning a hundred puppies (unless she's also seeking revenge against Genghis and is playing the really long game), and Jasper and Horace being totally subservient and fine with actually being the ones to commit the act. Even if she does end up losing her moral center by taking the death of Estella literally. But it can't possibly be an actual prequel unless Roger completely forgets that he wrote "Cruella DeVil" years earlier. 🙃

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27 minutes ago, dmeets said:

Yes, Cruella made sure only the Baroness paid for her crimes. And only upped the ante once she found out the full truth. And considering she trained the dalmatians to sit, overriding the Baroness' commands, she probably treated the dogs better. Not really the actions of someone "bad and a little bit mad." The only collateral damage was Roger getting fired which Cruella made up for (apparently?) I'm still confused how she knew or cared what happened to him. Unless there's a deleted scene where he finds out her identity but keeps it a secret which is when he gets fired. At least then the puppy gift would have made sense, as Roger and Anita would be the only people not living in Hell Hall at the end who knew her secret and kept it.

And while inbreeding probably isn't as genetically harmful in dogs, I'm still a little disturbed that Pongo and Perdita are littermates, and that Roger and Anita had to have realized it at some point after they start dating and realize they got their dogs in exactly the same way at exactly the same time.

I actually did really enjoy the movie, but it doesn't work at all as a Cruella DeVil origin story, since I can't imagine how in a few short years she becomes obsessed with skinning a hundred puppies (unless she's also seeking revenge against Genghis and is playing the really long game), and Jasper and Horace being totally subservient and fine with actually being the ones to commit the act. Even if she does end up losing her moral center by taking the death of Estella literally. But it can't possibly be an actual prequel unless Roger completely forgets that he wrote "Cruella DeVil" years earlier. 🙃

I took this story as the “true” story of what happened, and the 101 Dalmatians animated film as a “tall tale” based on the antics of Cruella DeVil. 
 

Anita and Roger may get together later, but Emma Stone’s Cruella doesn’t end up trying to skin 99 puppies. She didn’t kill the Baroness’ dogs and make a coat, that was all propaganda and speculation.  

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I suppose if they are doing a sequel, we will see Roger and Anita's meeting, there will be tons of Dalmatian puppies, and then Someone More Evil (aka The Baroness who breaks out of jail or maybe some other scene-stealing famous actress playing a disturbingly obsessive Cruella super-fan who turns out to be Cruella's long-lost sister/aunt/cousin) steals Roger and Anita's puppies and frames Cruella, leading to attacks on her by the anti-fur lobby and the police, as Cruella with the help of her two henchmen with hearts of gold, try to steal back the Dalmatians.  

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The music was on point. Unfortunately they gave away that Mark Strong was a good guy when he liked Iggy and The Stooges. 

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I look at "Cruella" as just another story in a line of stories born out of the original 1956 novel.  I never looked at this film as trying to be the actual building block towards any other iteration.   

I do agree that this works as a "true" story of Cruella and everything else like her desire to skin dogs for their fur is part of mythos built around her.  Look how quickly The Baroness' notion that Cruella killed her dogs to make fur made it into the papers? A good story - even if it's fake - sells.  

But I think many people are looking too literally at this.  Especially the Twitter folks who are squicked by the Pongo and Perdita reveal.  In the original novel they aren't mates.  If there is a sequel I can see Roger and Anita meeting and taking their respective dogs to a dog park where Pongo meets his canonical mate Missis and Perdita's canonical mate Prince.  Or not. Again, to me this movie doesn't exist to serve 101 Dalmatians, but moreso Cruella and build out her world. 

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19 hours ago, AngieBee1 said:

I do agree that this works as a "true" story of Cruella and everything else like her desire to skin dogs for their fur is part of mythos built around her.  Look how quickly The Baroness' notion that Cruella killed her dogs to make fur made it into the papers? A good story - even if it's fake - sells.  

I think this interpretation could have been further developed in the existing movie, if the Baroness had a set of hard-core supporters, or she had a newspaper in her pocket that vilified Cruella.  In this movie, all the fashionistas seemed to love Cruella and mourned her death, and the main newspaper with the scoop was the one Anita wrote for.

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This movie was awful. The character in this resembles nothing of the cartoon villain. How is this an origin story? How does she go from this to wanting to skin Dalmatians and make coats out of them? It MAKES NO SENSE.

It doesn't even try. Which is weird, because then who is this for? People with a vague recognition of the character name and image but no real memory or knowledge of either of the old movies (the cartoon or the 90s one?) I don't get it at all. 

Because it does imply that it's a prequel, what with showing Pongo and Perdita at the end, but that's just baffling at that point. I assume that scene is for people who are familiar with the 101 Dalmatians story, but those people in particular will be confused, because what on earth does that mean? That's she's plotting for them to get together, have babies and then kidnap them way ahead of time? For what possible reason? There is no acknowledgment of what or who Cruella DeVil actually IS in this.

Disney has completely forgotten how to make villains. And they have zero appreciation for what made their classic villains beloved and iconic in the first place (namely, that they were EVIL! Is it not okay to make evil characters anymore? Wtf?) They watered down Gaston in the ridiculous BATB remake, they did the same thing to Jafar in Aladdin, now Cruella Devil of all people. I'm so dreading what's going to become of Ursula.

And if she's not supposed to be the real Cruella in any way, then why include any of the references to the original stuff? There shouldn't have been any dogs in this movie at all (they certainly had nothing to do with the story).

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2 hours ago, ruby24 said:

Because it does imply that it's a prequel, what with showing Pongo and Perdita at the end,

It's a Cruella origins story, not a prequel to One Hundred and One Dalmatians (novel, animated film or or live action).  That's a distinct difference in feeling that this film is a direct prequel to either of those. It's not. It's building upon the mythos of a character and tying in elements from the other canons.  

 

2 hours ago, ruby24 said:

There is no acknowledgment of what or who Cruella DeVil actually IS in this.

In her monologue at the fountain it tells us who Cruella is. The entire movie does. If people feel that in previous iterations that Cruella essentially is boiled down to  just a woman who wants to skin animals, and that is all there is to her then yes, I can see why this film is disappointing.  This film gives insight on her drive and diabolical nature.  And there is room to show more as her conversation with Jasper shows. 

Jaspar: She's a homicidal maniac and you're not. 

Cruella: We don't know that yet I'm still young. 

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Honestly, I think Cruella should have just made the Baroness’ dogs into a coat for real. Once Upon A Time wasn’t afraid to get that hard core, and when that show did it better, you know you’ve missed the mark. It also would have at least been in character for our Cruella and made more sense: she wears the Baroness dog coat once, decides it’s too “coarse” for her taste and starts getting the idea to use puppies.

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Can anyone be so kind as to tell me if there's any actual violence against dogs or puppy torture or anything? I am dying to see this, but that's the one thing I can't watch (somehow, people being gruesomely murdered in shows/movies is fine for me. I have problems.)

 

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5 minutes ago, SallyAlbright said:

Can anyone be so kind as to tell me if there's any actual violence against dogs or puppy torture or anything? I am dying to see this, but that's the one thing I can't watch (somehow, people being gruesomely murdered in shows/movies is fine for me. I have problems.)

 

Nothing happens to any animals.

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I loved it!  It was my first trip back to theater since "the before times" and it was FUN...campy vibes with gorgeous fashions and nostalgic music, I bought the soundtrack on the ride home!  As I often tell my husband: don't overthink it, don't try to make the narrative fit into every nook and cranny of stories that came before; just enjoy the flick and have fun...and this flick was fun! 

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1 hour ago, AnnMarie17 said:

and it was FUN...campy vibes with gorgeous fashions and nostalgic music

I could care less about all the "this doesn't match the cartoon version!" Nor do I get bothered by villain redemption stories (when done right, which Maleficent was not, and I will never forgive those writers for ruining my all time favorite villain). I thought the Glenn Close version was just okay. I want to see this movie for the exact reasons you just listed. It looks like such fun with some killer clothes, and I'm excited now about the music as well. I hadn't even thought of that. 

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I think this was kind of a misfire by Disney...in the sense of....this didn't need to be made.....

But i agree with the comment, if the intention is to build a storyline of Cruella, and not 101 Dalmatians,  then I think what I would criticize the most about the movie is, I don't think kids under 8 or 9 would like it, I think it would move too slow/be too boring for them

Really liked the costume design, the dogs when CGI'ed and not CGI were cute

I did think Emma and Emma's acting was top notch....and my favorite scene and i thought best scene of the movie was the "monologue at the fountain scene" ....was kind of a Joker like scene, though the movie is definitely no Joker

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