Director: Craig Gillespie
Staring: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Houser
In the last 5 or so years Disney has been working through its back catalogue producing live action re-makes and re-imaginings of their beloved stories. Cruella is the latest in that series. Similar to Maleficent, we are presented with an origin story for an infamous villain. This time the dog killing villain from 101 Dalmatians.
We see Estella from birth to death. Being a rebel and someone not scared to stand up for herself in school, she is seen as a trouble maker and is kicked out. Her mother decides to relocate with her to London, with one stop on the way to see a friend to ask for help. It’s during this meeting that Estella sees her mother killed by dalmatians. She then travels to London by herself and falls into a small gang.
We are then transported, to the sound of She’s a Rainbow by The Rolling Stones, into the 70s and an adult Estella, played by Emma Stone takes the screen. She is part of a gang of thieves who move from job to job, always looking for a new angle for mischief. Estella has always wanted to be a fashion designer. One of her friends sorts her out a position at a clothes shop as a cleaner, and that’s where things really get going.
The cast is pretty fantastic in their roles. Emma Stone gives an amazing performance as Estella, bringing life to the villain. Emma Thompson is devilishly dark and cunning as The Baroness, Estella’s nemesis. Paul Walter Hauser’s English accent is a bit suspect, but his character, Horace, is full of charm and fun.
The music is almost another character in this film. It roars throughout, playing a wide selection of classic rock songs from the 60s and 70s; Queen, The Rolling Stones, Blondie, Tina Turner covers of The Beatles and Led Zeppelin and a bit of Iggy Pop thrown in there as well. There is barely a moment without fantastic music blaring from the speakers. It doesn’t detract from the film at all, and actually punctuates each scene perfectly.
The film is visually stunning, from its recreation of 1970s London, to vivid and contrasting colours that make the film seem even more cinematic. It’s something that begs to be seen on the big screen, and while this is available on Disney Plus at an extra fee, it is worth going out to see it at the cinema.
Finishing at around 2 hours and 20 minutes, the film does have a slight problem with length. It could do with some trimming down. It doesn’t get boring, and I didn’t check the time or wish it was over sooner, but it does feel a little bloated and could be made shorter.
Cruella is vivid and alive with colour and an amazing songbook. Emma Stone is fantastic in the title role. I have a new favourite live action Disney remake and it’s going to take a lot to take the top spot.