Cruella review: What the movie does with the classic Disney villain

Look out for Cruella De Vil! Disney+ will premiere the newest Disney film Cruella later this month under its Premium Access offering. This movie isn’t Disney’s first live-action adaptation of the 101 Dalmatians villain. And it’s not the first original Disney villain origin story. But, it may be the best one yet.

I love this trope of taking villains and giving them a backstory. Some might ask, why Cruella De Vil? But this movie is proof that the devilish Dalmatian-hating designer is more than worthy of her own film. A complex character herself, Miss De Vil’s backstory delivers on every front. If you think you know Cruella, think again.

The movie shows a new side of this villain, who was born with the name Estella. It’s obvious from the start that the girl is going to raise some eyebrows. Estella is used to getting into trouble and even used to getting into fights. It’s there where we meet her alter ego — Cruella, as she is known.

This movie is not only a celebration of the character, but of the actresses at the helm. The film stars Emma Stone in the title role and Emma Thompson as a new character named The Baroness. The two Emmas are as fabulous as ever, proving why they are true icons, and why they really were the perfect picks for this movie. Like their characters, every move they make is intentional. Emma Stone gets to show off a side of herself, in fact several, that we haven’t seen before. And it’s obvious that this side was aching to come out.

It’s a big undertaking to be the title character of a movie, especially when the character is as iconic as Cruella De Vil.  That said, Emma Stone nails it. Stone is, in a way, playing two characters. She brings the undeniable fire of the evil Cruella De Vil, and shows the range of emotions and hurt that Estella has. And she does an amazing job with in this story of how the two become one and the same.

This is not your average Disney movie. It’s risky, but the reward is well worth it. This movie is about fashion and like fashion, it’s chic, fun, and dangerous. But it doesn’t stray from real emotional. It also answers the questions of who we really are as people. Is our destiny already written for us to follow or do we make our own destiny? Are we the main character, or do we choose if we make ourselves the main character? Is family what you’re into with or is family what you make?

Every aspect of this movie keeps the viewer entranced in the universe created here. You’ll really feel like you’re in vintage England. The music, the sets, the cinematography all need to be perfect for the audience to believe it — and it is. But the best part? There are twists and turns until the very end.

Stream Cruella on Disney+ with Premiere Access starting May 28

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