‘Cruella’ Is Insane

I can’t believe this movie. I watched it and everything you heard about it is true. Cruella is insane. The character and the movie. It is ridiculous.

On one hand you’re watching an insane live action film meme and that’s wild. On the other, if you’re looking at this as capital C ‘Cinema’ then it isn’t great at all. Charming and absurd because its so manic. Manic is just the word I couldn’t stop using thinking about this movie. Manic.

It’s a crazy person movie. It’s like the flower shop scene from The Room but as a full movie. And in a similar way to The Room, its goes so far around the dial in a circle that it comes back around to a positive.

I didn’t know what I was in for. I didn’t watch a trailer and I really should have known better by the one marketing image I saw on Disney+. But for some reason I thought it was going to be a bit more of a drama about how messed up the world of high fashion is as an industry and how a desire to reach the top made her evil to the point her name is almost literally CRUEL DEVIL.

I don’t know why I thought that but I’m willing to toss blame on it being the fact I haven’t seen a comic book movie since like Spider-Man: Far From Home and I’ve been watching film and TV dramas a lot through the last year of quarantine. You know, “real art” or whatever. My brain has hit a reset point but I think this is going to help get me back to where I belong. Mortal Kombat and Godzilla vs Kong reviews incoming!

The entire point of the movie hinges on the fact that Dalmatians are villains. I’m not sold. What kind of evil psychopath sat down and got other psychopaths to agree that the world needs a movie where dogs are evil?

Like, I guess Dalmations are kind of dicks as far as dogs go since they require super hardcore training to be well behaved.

Maybe it’s a secret meta story? Because prior to 101 Dalmatians coming out Dalmatians were actually pretty darn serious guard and security style dogs. When that movie came out though that kinda changed and they’ve sort of become messy mutts because of severe inbreeding issues to meet the puppy demand after the movie came out.

But they’re still dogs!

You can’t really review this movie without spoilers, so I’ll keep it to the intro of the film that was posted on YouTube already:

  • A Dalmatian dropkicks Cruella’s mother to her death off a cliff
  • The Dalmatians are trained to literally do this by the antagonist of the movie
  • The name of the antagonist is Baroness Von Hellman. I don’t think she makes mayonnaise.

The movie basically comes down to Cruella de Vil vs Woman Who Trains Dogs to Dropkick People Off Cliffs. And we get it as a “sympathetic” origin story, again, for a character whose name is basically CRUELTY EVIL.

In some bananas way, this is almost like Batman’s origin story but replace Batman with Harley Quinn and Joe Chill with a Dalmatian. All the notes are there, but its manic and insane.

This is kind of a good capital M ‘Movie’, but its bogged down by being a Cruella movie. There is kind of a heist thing going on and I love me heist movies. There’s very much a style and vision here.

But its couched in this layer of thick, cream cheesy icing where it’s like a shitpost on Tumblr went viral and someone wrote an insane fanfic that lasts two hours and 14 minutes.

Emma Stone looks great and is wonderful in the role. So are the rest of the cast. The characters are simple and fun and wild. It’s overacted in a fun cheesy way but there doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of cake-like substance under the icing.

One major negative to the movie for me was the fact that Cruella doesn’t smoke one cigarette the entire movie. I get it’s a “kids movie” but properties like Pixar and Digimon have shown you can tackle slightly more adult themes and have some darker elements without children turning into Satan worshippers.

You can portray smoking as a normal and fine or intimidating. You just gotta try. Someone sparking up a smoke doesn’t automatically have to equal burnt out scrub stressed out and mentally falling apart anymore. Watch Letterkenny where smoking is casual and you almost don’t even notice it. Watch any non-Strangers Things-ish 70s or 80s throwback movie and smoking is just there and casual because it was. This is a movie set in the 60s and people loved their cigarettes back then!

There’s a plot thing about poop and murder but smoking is too far? This is a character basically named CRUEL AND VILE.

I don’t think this movie can be watched before 101 Dalmations and make any sense. I just don’t really see where this silly-crazy-IDK-BUT-MAYBE-wink-wink style character becomes the pure evil lady who wants to skin dogs to make a fancy jacket to smoke cigarettes in.

She goes from this meek “Oh shucks I’m just Estella oh jeez!” style character to comedic levels of “I will bathe in the blood of 1 billion Dalmatians while the planet burns around me!” and it doesn’t feel earned. It just kind of happens and switch gets flipped. I would have like to have seen more Cruella under the Estella mask moments. Maybe it is there and I missed it but I’m not sure.

Like a lot of movies that come out now as sequels, reboots, soft reboots, etc. this movie almost feels like the script was for something different but the writers couldn’t get it green lit as Unknown Intellectual Property. So they turned it around, shoe horned it, cut and covered it in “Cruella de Vil’s origin story but live action and it has levels of story insanity that not even the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon on Fox could match!” Boom, script greenlit.

I don’t know where this places overall as a Disney live action remake/reboot/whatever. It would have to be almost on its own because of the absurdity of it all. The climax is straight out of Saturday morning cartoons where you basically get the Team Rocket “We’re Blasting Off Again!” moment.

The movie is insane and I don’t even really know what I think about it. I won’t watch it again, but I hope this enters the cultural zeitgeist and we get memes for a long time. It absolutely feels like a movie you maybe wouldn’t enjoy a second time. But maybe the meme scenes are strong enough. I’ve really enjoyed seeing random Dalmatian-posting. Is it worth watching? Maybe. Is it worth the money on Disney+? Probably not. But are you a big Disney weeb? Well I guess sure then.

Lastly, Disney’s BS “inclusion” scene annoyed me in this movie maybe even more than the 2 second kiss in Rise of Skywalker. It’s Cruella holding hands with a lady for 2 seconds before the scene matters so it can be cut so China doesn’t get mad like someone dared to say Taiwan is a country. F off!

@Adam_Pyde on Twitter, Adam Reviews Things on Facebook. CanadianAdam on Twitch.

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