Cruella (2021) Review

Cruella is a live action film that is a prequel to One Hundred and One Dalmatians as we see the story of a young girl named Estella who does not have a straight forward start in life. Wanting to be a fashion designer she competes with The Baroness and Cruella de Vil is released.

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To begin this review I am actually going to start with a confession that I didn’t really have much of an interest to watch this film. Mainly because I thought it was going to be another Disney were going to push on the premier access on Disney+ and had no intention of paying £19.99 to watch it once. I am therefore very happy to confirm that with it opening at the cinema I went to see it and throughly enjoyed everything about it. So thankful the cinemas opened in time for Cruella’s release and that I decided to see it.

A prequel is always tough especially with Disney’s current obsession with these villain live action remakes. We get a backstory of a young Estella and how she witnesses the death of her mother, believing it was all her own fault for refusing to listen and just stay in the car. Then as she ran away from the party that was happening she got to London and met Jasper and Horace who did not have anyone either and survived by stealing. She joined them and a decade then passes with them enjoying the life they have created and living as a unique family unit.

When Jasper surprises Estella by getting her a job in a fashion house that she adores, it doesn’t really work out how she expected when she is just a cleaner, not allowed on the machines or to do anything fashion related. That would all quickly change though when she drunkenly redesigns the window, something which her manager fires her for but on arrival The Baroness loves it and offers her a job. Working with the power centred Baroness who pretty much makes her workers come up with all her designs was never going to fully sit well for Estella who was battling to keep everything inside.

As Estella struggles to control another ego Cruella everything is about to change as she hits the fashion scene by trying to destroy each event that the Baroness was attending. The true nature of everything that happened from the opening scenes was a pretty good twists in all honesty. I felt as though it gave a good background and linking everything together. Obviously I will not be spoiling that, wasn’t quite what I had guessed as the twist but it was actually even better than I had predicted.

The soundtrack/music that was used from start to finish was truly perfect and outstanding to the different moments and scenes. Seriously when they get the soundtrack right in a film like this it really does give it an extra edge which is always a very good thing.

The casting was pretty perfect with Emma Stone nailing the transition between Estella and Cruella in the best possible manner. She gave it her all and really showed just why she is one of the best young actresses around at the moment and I always look forward to seeing her different performances. Emma Thompson is utterly perfect as The Baroness and does the villain approach so effortlessly. I mean she is such a joy in every single role she takes on, isn’t she! Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser were both impressive bringing the comedic moments into the story and lightening the mood so often. I loved seeing John McCrea on the screen having seen his award winning performance on stage in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie not long after its debut in the West End. Seeing that the talent actor is now getting a transition to film is so brilliant. I feel like I also have to mention Mark Strong who is always impressive in supporting roles.

If like myself you are having doubts about watching Cruella, please get rid of them as it really is a very good film with so many enjoyable moments. Don’t let the other live action prequels or remakes put you off as this one actually has a decent story, with amazing music and brilliant performances.

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