CRITICAL / FILM REVIEWS – Disney continues to derive its animated films in live version. This time, it’s Cruella who gets a makeover in front of Craig Gillespie’s camera. For the occasion, Emma Stone was chosen to play the famous antagonist.
Cruella : from cartoon to film
The history of 101 Dalmatians, everyone knows her. The animated film made the happiness of a host of children. In his desire to make live remakes of his original films, Disney just released Cruella. Directed by Craig Gillespie, the feature film places Emma Stone as the famous antagonist. The rest of the cast includes Emma Thompson, Mark Strong, Paul Walter Hauser, and Joel Fry. So, 25 years later 101 Dalmatians by Stephen Herek, Emma Stone succeeds Glenn Close in the clothes of the terrifying Cruella.
Craig Gillespie is thus responsible for recounting the origins of Cruella, when she was still young Estella. The filmmaker, to whom we owe in particular Me, Tonya and The Finest Hours, play it safe, offering an extremely classic prequel, and which lacks originality. Indeed, even if the feature film remains effective, the chosen prism does not come out of the usual constraints imposed by Disney. Craig Gillespie wall lamp the classic disney pattern : a dysfunctional child, who loses her parents, and has to fend for herself.
An interesting aesthetic
Fortunately, Emma Stone’s arrival relaunches the film. Craig Gillespie finally takes its cruising speed, and presents the fate of an interesting anti-heroine, Oliver Twist way Machiavellian version. In any case, the director signs an astonishing and quite personal aesthetic. Since he interferes in the world of fashion, he takes the opportunity to offer absolutely superb sets, magnificent costumes, and a constant grandiosity.
Against all expectations, Craig Gillespie offers a careful staging, almost theatrical, who does not hesitate to use brilliant pyrotechnic effects to materialize Cruella’s bad moves. The clothing duels of the two protagonists are thus dazzling with beauty..
Cruella also owes a lot to the presence of Emma Thompson. The latter is impeccable in the role of the antagonist. Always very fair in her interpretation, she exudes charisma and stands out on the screen as a convincing antagonist, but who nevertheless reminds too much of the original Cruella. Craig Gillespie takes the somewhat disappointing bias of creating a double of our future big bad. In any case, the actress even steals the show from Emma Stone, who is a little over-playful, and fails to be completely convincing in the skin of the heroine. The latter sometimes recalls the superficial extravagance of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.
But the Disney recipe is well oiled. The connections with the other films are as always skillful, and brush the viewers in the right direction. Cruella is in this a very codified feature film. Disney swaps Glenn Close’s cigarettes and furry minds for a more formatted character, and who especially shares much less madness. It then becomes difficult to get attached to the protagonist. It is also difficult to believe this story, which offers a pale copy of the great Cruella. Film sometimes flashy, and not always essential, we still wonder what is the real interest of such a prequel, if not to sanitize a great figure of pop culture. It is above all a film to the glory of Emma Stone, which tries to restore Cruella to its past demonic splendor.
Cruella by Craig Gillespie, released on June 23, 2021. Above the trailer. Discover all our trailers here.