There are only a handful of live-action remakes that Disney have released of their original animation movies. The consistency of the outcome of those have been extremely varied. The likes of Dumbo, Alice Through the Looking Glass & The Lion King weren’t good films, although some of them fared very well at the box-office. Their best work to date would have been The Jungle Book remake back in 2016 but, their original take on the villain from 101 Dalmatians has us thinking that Disney may have finally found their remake groove.
Cruella is based on the villain from the animated film 101 Dalmatians and chronicles her early years as a child to becoming a fashion icon with a villainous twist, and loathe for dogs. Academy Award winner Emma Stone stars as Cruella and dazzles her way through the film with one of my favourite performances by the American actor. From minute one, Stone does remarkably well to channel two different personas in the film. Stella, the original name for Cruella. Estella is a low life criminal on the streets of London aspiring to work in fashion. As Estella finds her identity, she creates the character of Cruella and once she appears, you enjoy every moment she appears on screen. Stone’s ability to make her character larger than life and just be extremely fun make for an enjoyable viewing experience. Alongside the good performances of Emma Stone, the rest of the ensemble all play their part very well and make it a great ensemble piece and easily Disney’s best live-action remakes so far.
The direction from Craig Gillespie is also to be applauded. The Aussie director who has made great films such as I,Tonya & Lars and the Real Girl brings this indie feel to a big budget Disney movie and delivers a visually stunning movie that utilises fantastic costume design and set pieces to allow the film to breathe and not rely on heavy CGI as many other Disney movies have done in the past. Although the running time is close to two and a half hours, it didn’t feel like that at all. Cruella does extremely well to keep you entertained throughout to make it worth its runtime.
It’s extremely hard to find any faults with this. Cruella is a shining example of a re-imagining done right. The exploration into Cruella’s back story and rise to fashion icon is enjoyable and delivered in emphatic fashion by Emma Stone in what has become one of our favourite performances of hers. Cruella is available in cinemas and on Disney+ premium.
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