93 / 100
Watchable Minutes : Cruella ended up with an impressive 134 out of 134 watchable minutes for me. The movie looked great and the story was entertaining all the way to the end.
Trailer Comparison : The trailer is a solid representation of the final movie, but it didn’t really capture my attention and make me want to watch the movie.
Movie or Film : Cruella is a solid movie all the way around, but it doesn’t do anything beyond offer entertainment.
- Run time : 2 hours 14 minutes
- Studio : Disney
- Director : Craig Gillespie
- Where to Watch : Disney+
Young Estella wreaks havoc at home and in school, causing her mother undue stress. After getting kicked out of yet another school, Estella and her mother leave the small town they live in and make way for London to join the fashion scene. On their way, they stop at a family friend’s home in order to secure some funding to live out their lives in London. As her mother goes inside, she makes Estella promise to stay in the car but after seeing the ravishing guests Estella sneaks inside. After making her way through the party, Estella witnesses a terrible crime and is soon discovered. Making a desparate getaway, Estella arrives in London alone and is soon set on a path of crime and fashion.
I was never really interested in seeing Cruella when the marketing blitz first started. It just wasn’t my kind of movie. The live-action remakes of the classic Disney animated movies have all fallen incredibly flat and so I wasn’t super hopeful for this one. Even though Emma Stone and Emma Thompson are both excellent actresses, I just couldn’t have cared less about this movie before I watched it. However, it was movie night, and my fiance’s turn to pick and she chose Cruella. I was initially underwhelmed by the choice, but I decided I could use some eye bleach after watching a certain movie for Who’s In The Box! so I figured why not.
Cruella starts off pretty normal with a voice-over from the character’s birth by the main character, Estella. It serves as a vehicle to get the audience up to speed and managed to get a few laughs out of me. There’s plenty of girl power to be had, but it wasn’t annoying or preachy like some other recent movies have ended up being. After some events that establish what kind of counter-culture kid that Estella would grow up to be, we skip a few years and young Estella is now an experienced grifter. We were also introduced to Horace and Jasper, who fans of the original animated movie will remember. The three of them now make a living by running scams but Estella is growing tired of the criminal lifestyle and soon comes to realize that her mother would have hoped her daughter would apply her talents in a more honest and professional way. Sensing that Estella is meant for better things, her friends land her a job at the center of the London fashion industry and the story takes on a life of its own very quickly from this point. It’s incredibly entertaining, sharply written, and excellently directed.
Having an entertaining story is great and all, but it’s worthless without a capable cast to bring it to life. Thankfully, Craig Gillespie had such a cast in Emma Stone and Emma Thompson. Both are incredibly talented actresses and their chemistry as protege and master, rivals, and eventually (spoiler alert) parent and child were exceptional in each stage of their relationship. Stone won me over as the hopeful and talented Estella and then established herself as a more than capable anti-hero as Cruella. Thompson was just a stone-cold bitch as The Baroness. Her attitude was insufferable and her delivery exuded karen-isms after pretty much every sentence. The supporting cast of Joel Fry, John McCrea, Mark Strong, and Paul Walter Hauser was excellent as well and didn’t overshadow the main cast in the slightest. They all added depth and flavor to the world, which isn’t something that I would have expected from this group.
Pairing an enjoyable story and perfect cast with the impressive visuals and sound design is crucial, and Cruella knocked it out of the park. The city streets of London and the mansion interiors all looked fantastic and incredibly clear. There were a few iffy moments of CGI where things just felt a little off, but I only noticed those moments because I was actively looking for them. The scene were Cruella drives off in her garbage truck dress looked a little plasticy and her tumble off the cliff was laughable, but those were the only two major instances. The score and sound design of the movie was pretty good, with female covers of popular songs by Led Zeppelin, Queen, and The Beatles. They chose popular covers by Ike & Tina Turner for a few of them and it fit in nicely.
Overall, Cruella was a pleasant surprise for me. I didn’t have any real interest or high hopes, but I ended up really enjoying it and hopefully the Disney live action department takes notes because I would like to see future remakes or origin stories given a similar treatment.
If you like this, check out :
- 101 Dalmations
- The Lion King
- Tron : Legacy