With the exception of Beauty and the Beast, I’ve not been a huge fan of Disney’s live action remakes however I do appreciate a film such as Maleficent which aims to put a new spin on a familiar character in a fun and interesting and this something that Cruella has done well.
Cruella has one goal in mind and that is to humanise the most vile character in cinema history and despite my best intentions of wanting to hate this film and it’s title character, it managed to win me over within the first 20mins. Am I saying this is one of the best films of the year, absolutely not. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think cinema necessarily has to good, it just needs to entertaining and I found this film to be very entertaining.
I’ve seen a lot of people compare Cruella to Joker and I’m not sure why that’s the case as there’s no real narrative thread or commonality between the two aside from them both being about the rise of a popular villain and to be perfectly honest, at least I managed to stay awake during my first viewing of Cruella so as far as I’m concerned it already gets top marks if we must compare the two.
Emma Stone stars as the titular character and she steals the show as Cruella (or Estella as she’s known at the beginning of the story) and chronicles the origin of the puppy slaying mad cow that gave us nightmares when we were children. However, I did find her performance to be a little unbalanced in places and I felt she sometimes she completely switched personality in one scene to the next when the Cruella persona is introduced.
The film itself is set in 1970’s London and has a very punk rock aesthetic to it in places with a kick-ass soundtrack that, at times, becomes a little distracting. The less you know about the story though, the more I think you’ll enjoy the film. As I said above, I don’t understand the Joker comparisons but I would understand if someone was to compare the film to something like The Devil Wears Prada.
There’s some really cool imagery on display here as well and the period setting looks and feels like a natural addition to the story rather than an unnecessary addition like so many other films before. I think if you approach Cruella with an open mind and a bag of popcorn then I’m sure you’ll have a good time. Just remember though, you’re going to spend 2hrs of your life cheering on a character that wanted to slaughter a bunch of puppies in order to make a coat.
by Edward Laing