In need of puppies
Don’t expect playful, precious Dalmatian pups in Disney’s Cruella
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It’s a bad sign when you find yourself checking your watch during a movie. Cruella, the new Disney release (rated PG-13 for violence, drinking, and some profanity), seems cruelly long, with weak humor, overbearing music, and mostly unlikable characters. Two dogs are cute. Viewers learn who Cruella de Vil was before she gained her sinister reputation.
Cruella as a youngster is 12-year-old orphan Estella (Tipper Seifert-Cleveland). She joins up with two boys—one clever and one buffoonish—together devising Oliver Twist–like schemes to rob people. But she’s always longed to be a fashion designer.
The adult Estella (Emma Stone) eventually lands a job at London’s top fashion house. Occasionally, her character evokes sympathy. She’s a marvelous designer, but her schizophrenic demise into her Cruella persona provokes cringes. She’ll do anything to wreak revenge on her nemesis, an evil baroness (Emma Thompson) whom Cruella is too much like.
Cruella shines with glamorous costumes, several A-list actors, and detailed settings that entice viewer eyeballs, but this prequel to the 101 Dalmatians franchise is not a family-flavored Disney film. Don’t expect any playful, precious Dalmatian pups. The only spotted canines are snarling pets of the baroness, who shove a woman off a cliff.
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