Disney’s Cruella has a hell of a lot to prove.
In the UK at least, it’s going to be the first film many of us see back in the cinema, as things return to some semblance of normality.
But beyond that, many viewers are starting to question the need for so many live-action remakes and prequels.
So does Cruella live up to the hype? Well, sort of.
Cruella delves into the life of the 101 Dalmatians villain, with Emma Stone stunning as the titular character, known for much of the film as Estella. When tragedy strikes, a young Estella is left all alone in the world, before she’s taken in by Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser).
After a rocky start, things seem to be on the up for Estella when she meets fashion legend, The Baroness (Dame Emma Thompson). However, what she thought was her big break actually sees her life fall apart in more ways that one – and so we meet Cruella.
First things first – there’s no doubting the absolutely stellar cast.
It’s difficult not to be mesmerised by Emma Stone in any role, but when paired with Cruella’s no-nonsense attitude, obsession with creating a stir and accompanied by the incredible punk soundtrack, she’s a dream.
Emma Stone stars as Estella/Cruella (Picture: AP)
It’s difficult not to love Emma in the role (Picture: AP)
Or, as Taylor Swift would put it, she’s a nightmare dressed like a daydream.
The fashion shows were some of the best moments of the entire film, as we’re left hanging on Emma’s every movement and wishing we could see a shocking Cruella catwalk for real (how about it, Emma?).
However, as fabulous as Emma Stone is, Dame Emma Thompson stole the show as fashion titan The Baroness.
Taking on a tyrant boss role, it would have been so easy for her role to be too reminiscent of Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. But, camping it up and styling it out in a way that only Dame Emma could, she makes it entirely her own.
Dame Emma camped it up and styled it out (Picture: AP)
The famous Dalmatians don’t take long to appear (Picture: AP)
The Baroness is rude, hateful, narcissistic and completely sociopathic – and Dame Emma clearly had a blast.
Cruella definitely has its strengths and, ironically enough for an origin story, as a standalone film, could have been much better. But the need to explain the backstory of the villainous Cruella is more of a hindrance than anything.
Originally created by Dodie Smith, Cruella De Vil was designed to be pure evil – so humanising her was clearly quite the challenge, most noticeable when we’re given a reason very early on in the film as to why she specifically hates Dalmatians. Safe to say, it’s a stretch.
There are a few points when the links feel a bit jarring, and it gives the sense that the filmmakers struggled to make her evil but likeable, unhinged but understandable.
Overall, though, Cruella is a fun and slightly unexpected take on the iconic villain, and in the midst of so many live-action remakes and prequels, it’s one that’s done well.
But Disney, maybe this is a sign to quit the onslaught of live-action and prequels while you’re ahead?
Cruella is released on May 28.