I know people like us as critics to be sure about our opinions. To come out of the gate with a confident ‘masterpiece’ or ‘garbage’ about every film. Indeed, I know some critics who seem to be able to always know how they feel with ease. However, in my case I often struggle weighing the pros and cons and trying to decide how I actually feel.
Cruella is one of those moments. Even as I am writing this review I’m not entirely sure what grade I am going to give it. Smile or frown worthy? Hmmm.
Part of the problem is Cruella is a very strange movie. To begin with it tells the backstory of one of Disney’s most notorious villains Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians. But it’s not really for children and it doesn’t try to humanize Cruella in the way that Maleficent did. They aren’t telling you that she actually had the best interest of the puppies in mind or something like that.
It’s basically a Devil Wears Prada story but with both characters being wicked or ending wicked. What I liked about is both Emma Thompson and Emma Stone are having a blast in their roles. It’s a battle of wits in who can be the most cutthroat and evil and that’s fun to watch.
The fashion is also absolutely stunning and guaranteed an Oscar nomination come Awards season. Both the costuming and the hair and makeup are outstanding and very memorable.
It is also fun to see a series of heists staged during the fashion shows/galas but I wish they had only had 2 instead of 3 because it started to feel repetitive after a while. The music, for the part, works (they spent a fortune on the soundtrack) although it can be sometimes a little too on the nose and obvious.
In general the movie is way too long at 134 minutes and like I said feels repetitive after a while. Some of the nods to the original film are fun and others are cringeworthily obvious. In the end, it had a hard time overcoming the bizarre premise for a children’s film.
See Cruella for the fun performances and the fashion. I would love to see it do well because we need hits at the box office but just as far as quality I’d wait and watch it on Disney Plus. At least they tried something different rather than a remake like The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast. Maybe that’s a low bar but there it is. It has fun moments and is a weird experiment from Disney. If it sounds like your jam check it out and let me know what you think
6 out of 10
Smile Worthy (Barely)