I have been DYING to tell you my thoughts on Disney’s Cruella. Anticipation is dreadful. The embargo has lifted, and I can officially share my love of the new live-action film and Disney’s Cruella Review.
Disney’s Cruella Review
Disney’s Cruella is equal parts genius and madness, and Emma Stone is nothing short of brilliant as Estella/Cruella.
Devilishly dark, Cruella is intensely juxtaposed between the worlds of the 1970s London punk rock revolution and the high-fashion community. Emma Stone and Emma Thompson deliver iconic performances that push the boundaries of anything previously seen in a Disney film, fashioning an undertone that makes this so bold and edgy, it’s almost anti-Disney. Cruella reshapes the traditional villain narrative.
-Jana Seitzer, Whisky + Sunshine
What Works in Disney’s Cruella
The soundtrack and score for Cruella are both killer
As my teens would say, the soundtrack slaps. The song’s director Craig Gillespie has chosen, add to the flow and energy of the story. Nicholas Britell’s score pairs perfectly with the soundtrack for a seamless ensemble.
Cruella is aesthetically intoxicating
Cruella is popping with rich visuals and creative cinematography. Cruella absolutely needed a director like Craig Gillespie—he’s edgy and bold, and his work on films like Fright Night and his previous exploration with the horror genre facilitated a more caliginous, insidious undertone. Each of Gillespie’s films feels boldly distant from the previous, exhibiting his virtuosity as a filmmaker
Gillespie also directed films such as Lars and the Real Girl, Mr. Woodcock, Million Dollar Arm, The Finest Hours, and I, Tonya.
Hair & Makeup and Production Design can’t be overlooked. Wigs galore (hundreds, literally) and dozens of set designs (including one at Hellman Hill house that included hundred of handmade paper flowers) help to tie this incredible visually stunning film together.
The costumes in Cruella are delicious
Jenny Beaven’s stunning creations are a look unto their own while lending a spiritual nod to iconic fashion film The Devil Wears Prada and mad villain film Joker.
Beaven could easily win an Oscar for Cruella to add to the ones she won for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road and A Room With A View.
John McCrea as Artie Will Warm Your Soul
John McCrea is the rising star who plays Cruella’s fashion-obsessed friend Artie. He lives by his own rules, is fabulously fashionable, and he gives Estella/Cruella a run for her money when it comes to fashion. He tells Estella, “Normal is the harshest insult of all,” during their first encounter.
What Doesn’t Work in Disney’s Cruella
Disney’s Cruella was a little too long
While part of me wanted more time to absorb the aesthetic and costume design, the movie was long at 2 hours and 15 minutes.
However, my caveat with that is while it’s a Disney film, it is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence and thematic elements (making it only the second live-action remake by Disney to get that PG-13 rating—Mulan was the first). Young children—typically the ones who are going to get very antsy nearing that 90-minute mark—probably shouldn’t be watching this movie anyway. So the age groups that this movie is really intended for can handle that extra 30-minute bump in length.
The Black Best Friend Archetype
Listen, I’m not Black, but I’m over the Black Best Friend Archetype (BBFA) in film and TV. I’m all for diversity and inclusion. I’m definitely not suggesting that Jasper and Horace should have been cast as white men, but why was Jasper the token Black friend? Or Anita? Estella essentially had a BBFA for the grifters and one for the high fashion scene.
The primary function of the Black Best Friend Black Best in films and TV shows to help guide their white character friends out of the difficulty du jour. The best friend is there to support (often) the heroine in her time of need with wisdom and insight, through relationships and other aspects of life. They also often appear at just the right time because apparently, they have nothing going on in their own lives.
An excellent example of his dynamic is Tracie Thomas’ character in The Devil Wears Prada. Thomas’ character reminds Anne Hathaway’s character that she’s losing touch with her values at one point in the film. Jasper does a similar thing when he tells Estella/Cruella that it is too hard to work with Cruella.
Truly, when does this end?
Is Disney’s Cruella Safe for Kids?
So, the short answer is no, and certainly not for young kids.
As with any movie, the answer to this question is subjective and with caveats.
My first caveat, as I mentioned above, is that is while it’s a Disney film, it is rated PG-13 for violence and thematic elements.
I have no problems letting my 13-year-olds watch it. However, they have two older siblings and have traveled the world (including to places that are overall not as developed as here, though, that could be debatable depending on what happened in a school district or mall on any given day). But not all kids can handle violence in that way.
While being as spoiler-free as possible, here are a few things that could be upsetting depending on the viewer: violence, fire, snarling dogs, attempted murder/murder, robbery, vandalism, etc.
Cruella releases May 28, 2021, in theatres and on Disney+ premiere access.
Have you seen Cruella? Do you plan to see Cruella in theatres or on Disney+? Leave us a comment below!
- INTERVIEW Ming-Na Wen Talks Animation for Pencils vs. Pixels - November 23, 2023
- The Marvels Easter Eggs - November 10, 2023
- INTERVIEW: Bay Dariz and Phil Earnest Talk Pencils vs Pixels - November 1, 2023