5/10 Coming off of the phenomenal “I, Tonya”, director Craig Gillespie has his latest come up short as this mediocre retelling of Cruella de Vil feel more like a studio (Disney) made it as opposed to the director. Gillespie has demonstrated talent throughout his directing career but this movie feels like his creative control was reined in by studio executives. The first big problem I noticed with this movie was that there was WAY too much music. I’m not sure if Disney just wanted to see a ton of soundtracks to this get sold or what but Gillespie can’t go two minutes without shoving another song down the audiences’ throats/ears. The movie actually has a decent score so either utilizing silence or letting composer Nicholas Britell write more music would have been benefitted the overall movie as opposed to the nonstop barrage of hit songs that started to take me out of the movie, especially in the first half. Coming in at roughly two hours and fifteen minutes, this movie felt about fifteen minutes too long and could have maybe trimmed some of the fat. The overall story is a ridiculous one as Emma Stone plays both Estella and Cruella. Many characters see Estella and then Cruella (same person with different hair, no glasses and fancier clothing) and can’t put two and two together and see that it is the same person. It is as ridiculous as people not being able to tell that Clark Kent is Superman and it feels just as silly here. For being a movie aimed at kids, there are some adult themes that some parents may not want their little ones exposed to. The classic Disney “one or both parents are dead” has gotten so old and repetitive as they continue to beat that dead (parent) horse and this is yet another example of that tired trope. As for what worked, the acting was very strong with Emma fully diving into the craziness of her role and Emma Thompson being the true standout for me. She is a wicked, terrible villain and Thompson does a fantastic job of getting us to hate her. Jasper and Horace were always complete morons without a functioning brain cell between the two of them in previous iterations of the “101 Dalmatians” story but the writers wisely made them real people here and their connection to Cruella was a sweet and emotional one, while still leaving room for her to be cruel as the movie goes on. The production design and more noticeably, the costume design are fantastic which is extremely important since the movie takes place in the fashion industry/world. Despite being a little long, you will be entertained the entire way through and the cinematography was solid. The movie sets up for a sequel and I hope they are able to actually make the dalmatians a larger part of the story next time around. With the good and bad, this movie ends up falling somewhere in the middle right at average but due to some of the content, if you have kids you might want to have them wait until they are slightly older, unlike other animated and live action “101 Dalmatians” movies.

#ICruella / #AHotSpotForCrime / #SpotOnCostumeDesign / #WomenInBlackInternational / #GraGraGrand / #SympathyForThedeVil

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