The other day, when I talked about Nobody, I said that it was a movie that was made for me, mostly referring to the genre mixing and style of the film. Cruella felt like it was made for me in terms of attitude.
Disney continues its trend of recycling properties with live action versions. While those have had mixed results, Cruella scores points off the bat for being a new story instead of a full on remake. Granted, 101 Dalmations was the first to pioneer that idea with Glenn Close over 20 years ago (which I need to rewatch soon). Here we’re rewinding the clock, trying to figure out what exactly set Cruella on her path of fashion, destruction, and dalmations.
The result was a lot of fun. It did feel like something might have been missing, but I was enjoying the ride enough to overlook it. Emma Stone’s bonkers energy was perfect (side bar, her posture when she was driving was amazing, exactly like the cartoon), and I loved how well she faced off against Emma Thompson. The other standout (and show stealer) for me was Paul Walter Hauser as one of the henchmen.
Speaking of the henchmen, I actually really did like their part of the story and their relationship with Cruella. No one ever really thinks about poor old Horace and Jasper, but it turns out, they’re our girl’s found family. It was kind of beautiful how they found each other as kids and came up together, even if we know where their story is gonna eventually end up. That was just one of the story elements that I felt was very well thought out, tying back to the original and giving a reason for various details we know and (maybe) love about Cruella.
But what I loved most, and why I say this movie was made for me, was the punk rock vibe throughout the whole thing. Cruella’s designs were very much the type of thing I’d wear, and her spirit of rebellion is the same code I live by. I felt seen.
The music however, needed a little work. Great idea to make the soundtrack a big part of the film, and while I like most of the songs, they were all pretty obvious choices. This has been a trend post Guardians of the Galaxy, and Suicide Squad fell into a similar pitfall where it chose big great songs, but they’re songs that get used all the time. Guardians tread off the beaten path, and Cruella could have ventured that way as well, esp since there’s a whole untapped catalog of classic punk rock that would have fit perfectly. The frustrating part is that this was directed by Craig Gillespie who also did I, Tonya, which did nail it with the soundtrack. Still, it’s a nitpick and not a showstopper.
I do still kinda feel like a little something was missing, but I can’t bring myself to knock off any points. I enjoyed it, and I loved basking in that punk rock glow. Just enough risks that paid off just enough. Sure, I’d love to see it go even further, but we gotta remember that it’s Disney. And for Disney, this was really cool
Cruella – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/