• Strictly Films

Cruella; Gillespie ends the Streak of Many Dumpster Fire Disney Live Action Remakes. Grade: B-


Cruella tells a story about an Orphan girl named Estella (Emma Stone), who's mother tragically dies by the likes of angry Dalmatians, as Estella blames herself for her death. Estella now lives in London, as a well skilled thief with a couple of colleagues. Estella wants to do more with her life than just stealing people's money and jewels, she wants to be a fashion designer someday. Estella with the help from her colleagues, gets a level entry job at a clothing store. Estella one night drunk off whisky, redesigned a mannequin's dress. Estella on the pursuit of getting fired, surprisingly gets a job offer from a well known famous fashion designer The Baroness (Emma Thompson), as she was impressed with Estella's work on that mannequin. Witness Estella living the dream of a fashion designer, as she uncovers some dark secrets, and soon transitions to... CRUELLA!

The Cinematography t'was solid, had a very cool 70's England look, really enjoyed the set pieces and such that I haven't enjoyed in a long time with these films. The costume design was pretty bad ass, I really enjoyed the clothing and especially the fashion show sequences which were dazzling. The Score was solid as well, I honestly enjoyed the soundtrack as it was pretty fun to endure in all these cool ass songs from the past.

The cast all in all... My my, this has been the best ensemble cast in a Disney Live Action Remake in years. Emma Stone playing a young Cruella was honestly pretty good, you can tell she really enjoys playing this character. As far as the character Cruella: I think people are only going to not like this character, if they are a die hard fan of 101 Dalmatians. There are quite some new changes within this character, including not being a complete psychopath in wanting to slaughter dogs for fur coats or not having that iconic cigarette. I've learned that they didn't use the cigarette because Disney banned cigarettes from being in their films, which I really don't care because I'm against smoking, but yeah I wouldn't care to see it either. I don't know this new character portrayal of Cruella felt like a real human being to me, as I kind of dig it. As far as the villain dynamic... It's yet to be seen. I mean her stealing things is wrong, however you can argue as to why she does it. She was stealing to survive and stealing dogs to get a personal item back, I think what they did with Joker makes more logical sense as to why he appears as a villain, as this one it's really damn confusing. If Cruella never existed... I think this works just fine as it's own thing, as it's a character that is quite entertaining, has a personality, and is someone to root on.


Emma Thompson playing The Baroness... I thought she was great in this film. As an antagonist... I mean she was downright despicable, I mean she genuinely pissed me off several moments, as she captivated being a truly vile woman. Thompson and her scenes with Stone were so dope, as they both have great chemistry with each other. Paul Walter Hauser... Bro this man is in EVERYTHING since I was raving about him, back when he was in I, Tonya. Paul Walter Hauser was one of Cruella's Colleagues, was honestly solid. His own persona with this character was quite hilarious, I loved the moments with him and the dog in the eyepatch as it was quite relatable to all dog lovers I must say.


It's time to get in controversy mode: The character Artie (John McCrea). Apparently this character is supposedly the "first openly gay" character in a Disney live action film, although people said that about LeFou in Disney's Beauty and the Beast because he danced with a dude? I believe they think it's an openly gay character because he wears makeup and people I assume think he talks like a gay man. But people are claiming how Disney can't seem to get a gay character right... How so?


First Off: Why are we still condoning stereotyping?! Because Artie wears makeup, you just assume he's gay?! Maybe Artie's look was influenced by David Bowie, who was pretty popular around that era in music, fashion, and wore makeup as well and he had a wife. So maybe Artie was just influenced by David Bowie and liked that look?! You don't know, plus many men wear makeup including many male celebrities.


Second Off: Even if the character Artie was gay, how exactly does this film not get it right?! We see Artie first encountering Cruella, as Cruella notices Artie doesn't appear like everyone else. What does Cruella do?! Well she treats him with respect, she has a conversation with him, she values his opinion, she values his worth as a person and wants him to help her out in executing her plans, and more importantly accepts him for who is and treats him like a normal human being. I could be wrong, but isn't that the whole point of the whole LGBTQ community?! That their striving for respect and acceptance like everyone else though they may appear a little different?. There is more to it I know, but the point I'm making is: This film gives Artie the respect and acceptance, like those in the community yearn for. Just because Artie doesn't scream he's gay or kisses a man, doesn't mean this film didn't do it right. Artie is accepted, respected, is seen, and is valued as a human being like everyone else... I think this film did a solid job with the likes of Artie and did gave this character justice. Then again people will cry and complain about anything because their ungrateful spoiled little piss pots. Disney... You owe me for this.

Cruella was made by film maker Craig Gillespie, whom has made great films such as I Tonya and Lars and the Real Girl. Although Craig has experience with making Disney films, including The Finest Hours and Million Dollar Arm. So Craig is actually a very competent director, that I would say all the films I've watched of his are recommendable. But Craig takes on an enduring challenge: Making a Live Action Disney remake watchable again. It's been dumpster fire after the next for the last few years with these films, they lack originality, creativity, and life in these films have been completely absent. When it comes to the 101 Dalmatians: I'm not a big fan of these films or the cartoon. In fact all I remember is Glenn Close falling into horse shit, Glenn Close wilding out near a building when she discovers spots, and Glenn Close as a birthday cake. But Gillespie: He's know to do good things, can he break the streak?! Sounds like Gillespie... DID JUST THAT, AS CRUELLA IS NOT A DUMPSTER FIRE, IT'S A MIRACLE!


Cruella felt like a new vision, compared to the likes of the other 101 Dalmatians films. Like as said before: It felt like a real person, than just a whacky psychopath. The story itself really isn't half bad, as it doesn't really feel like a kids movie at all, it's honestly better suited as a fairly matured eleven year old which makes sense why this is PG-13. It just felt so odd watching a film that has like a real story, that takes on actual risks in terms of death and even disturbing dialogue for this kind of film. I mean at one point a character insists of killing a newborn baby... Like damn, I'm not a fan of babies myself, but even I was like " Hey wait a damn minute... That's fucked up." It's funny how a Disney Live Action Remake, has made a much more evil villain, than any MCU film... That woman made Thanos look like a saint, that's embarrassing.


Cruella has many enjoyable characters in this, as it appears all of them have a purpose. Including the dog characters... Like I love these damn dogs. This film has a fair amount of life to it. Like there are some fun montage sequences, some well executed intense moments, got a fair amount of laughs provided as well... Where the hell has this been in the last few years?! But the thing I enjoy most about Cruella: Is it felt like it's own thing. Like it's not copying and pasting from past films, it's trying to be something different. Whether or not you like the changes and such: At least appreciate the fact they actually did something new, that doesn't feel entirely like a waste of damn time. I mean compare to the likes of an expressionless singing animals or Will Smith embarrassing himself singing in dreadful autotune flying in a carpet... I mean at least this is a movie.


Cruella is definitely not perfect. I mean there are a fair amount of dragging here and there, as this is a fairly long film so it does happen here and there. I found the whole "How she got Deville" moment to be forced in, like it felt totally unnecessary. There's one moment in the finale, where I'm just like... It involves people not noticing Cruella and it's by far like, the most brain dead thing I've ever experience. I think one main issue that's still irking me, is the fact this is a villain origin story and it plays off to not be that at all. Like: We get Estella transitions to Cruella, as Cruella is a much more outgoing persona that can think of some dark thoughts here and there. However: I don't see her as the villain persona as she is supposedly be, in fact the ending just makes me question... How exactly is she going to turn out as a whacky evil person?! Is she gonna develop some kind of mental illness, where she appears to lose her damn mind? I don't get it at all, especially what she has in the end and especially given the fact in some way, she kind of succeeds in that whole outfit vision, so what would be the point?! I don't know if it’s nit picky in a way because without the 101 Dalmatians I think it's fine, I'm just saying because it exists.. It just makes me question how can this be a villain orgin story, when there is no sign of her going to be just that?

Whatever: Cruella is a film I was impressed by, as I wasn't expecting to thoroughly enjoy it at all, in fact I question if I should even give it the time to see it, but thankfully I did!

Overall, Cruella is a fairly decent film, I recommend checking this one out, you may be surprised. -Mitch Smietana

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