MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of Cruella De Vil, the evil dognapper of Disney’s 1961 film One Hundred and One Dalmatians and if you are hankering for a movie that combines the swinging London fashion scene of the early 1970’s with a nonstop jukebox of songs mostly from other time periods, mixed together with an arsenal of cute trained dogs, slapstick fights, half-baked capers, eye-popping costume design, and scene chewing from two actors named Emma ...
Cruella is your go-to for post-pandemic fun!
I don’t want to tell you too much about the plot – so that you can decide for yourself when to roll your eyes or scratch your head – but the story begins when the title character is a young girl named Estella (Tipper Seifert-Cleveland), recently orphaned, first teams up with Horace and Jasper, two street kids, to become a team of expert pickpockets. Eventually Estella grows up to become Emma Stone and develops a flair for design. She is noticed by London’s top designer The Baroness (Thompson) and is mentored and championed until she is considered a competitive rival.
Yes, it’s the “De Vil Wears Prada” for preteen wannabe fashionistas. It’s mindless, colorful, fast-moving, overlong and set in a storybook world similar to other comic book franchises.
This movie is one hot mess and audiences are loving it. But it is a peculiar mixed breed. After watching Cruella with my wife, I commented that it was the rare film that I found entertaining and boring at the same time. “So did I!” she said.
It’s not really a great film for little kids. After being terrified by an early scene involving vicious dogs, they will be encouraged to consider petty theft as well as a career in fashion. And then they will be bored for the next 90 minutes (of a 2 hour and 14-minute film).
Cruella does succeed in crafting a story that passes the Bechtel Test, with strong female characters and no male-centric romance to get in the way. The costume design is Oscar-worthy. There is good comic relief with a diverse and talented cast that seems to be committed to the lightweight material.
If you can stay through the first part of the closing credits, you will be rewarded with an additional scene that sets the stage for a sequel.
If you decide to skip Cruella, you will be rewarded with 135 minutes of your life.
At last! A movie review that is entertaining and boring at the same time.
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Two halos: A sporadically amusing but totally unnecessary film.
Two pitchforks: A violent death offscreen; street crime; mild mayhem.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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