By Katie Bray
A combination of glorious fashion and brilliant acting, Cruella re-invents Disney’s 1961 classic 101 Dalmatians.
In keeping with recent films like Maleficent (2014), audiences are retold a classic fairy-tale from the perspective of the antagonist. Following the rise and fall of the original’s dog-napping fashion designer, Cruella De Vil, the film reimagines the villain in a sympathetic and at times thoughtful light.
Estella, AKA Cruella (Emma Stone) is as a young orphan dreaming of fashion industry success. Pushed into a life of crime by fashion mogul and mentor ‘Baroness’ (Emma Thompson), Cruella’s dual nature is a joy to watch. Both shy and outrageous, innocent yet ruthless.
From hilarious disguises and bold music to cute sidekick dogs, Cruella balances its serious storyline with dry, sharp sarcasm.
Stone’s acting prowess really shines through. The fine balance between Cruella’s shifting moods and identities emphasises the character’s reliability, as well as the conflicting emotions of someone following their dreams; a true (and recurring) Disney theme.
Similarly, the bold and colourful costume design completely matches the period and dynamic characters. Cruella’s ever more extravagant designs mirror her growing confidence and ego. Most notable is the elegant gown and a fiery red dress which sets ablaze on stage, much like that worn in The Hunger Games.
Disney has added human dimensions to a once abominable character. Whether you prefer the straightforward antagonist of the original 1961 film or you prefer the multi-dimensional aspects of the 2021 film, Cruella is certainly a villain to remember. The movie is a brilliant and spirited re-imagination of an absolute classic.
Cruella is now available on Disney+ for free or can be purchased as a DVD or Digital Sky Store movie.
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