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Cruella (Live Action Remake) – An Experience Straight Off the Runway

Courtesy of Disney - Cruella

Cruella, Craig Gillespie's innovative live-action look on Disney Animated films, was a movie straight off the runway.

Regulars to the movie theater or even Flixtor didn't exactly have high expectations for yet another Disney live-action remake of a classic animated film they loved dearly. Overshadowed by the massive bomb that was the remake of Mulan in the previous year, Cruella didn't receive much attention. At the same time, many reviewers carried their previous experience with Mulan into Cruella, expecting yet another fail.

I must confess, I hadn't even seen 101 Dalmations before seeing the Cruella live-action remake, so I really can't make that comparison; for me, Cruella is a movie that stands alone.

And in this movie, the audience first gets to meet our main character, a rebellious teenaged Estella, forced by the cruel and alien world into her absurd personality – Cruella – the other side of her. Abused and laughed at by her peers, finally standing up for herself, and then removed by the stupid headmaster (who turned a blind eye on all the bullying). Her mother withdraws her from the school milliseconds before the headmaster declares Estella's expulsion. So mother and daughter take this still-clean slate and journey to the city, hoping to find new opportunities. They end up at a magnificent mansion; being the curious girl she was, Estella went into the building to explore, even after her mother ordered her to stay in the car. That decision led to her mother's death. Our story begins with an orphaned child in a big London with big dreams.

The movie follows Cruella as she strips away her fear of others' opinions of her and fully embraces it. Doing fashion her own way, embracing her authentic self, and taking revenge on her nemesis, The Baroness. The movie is full of great twists and builds a complete character of Cruella. The movie is very well developed in general, plot, theme, and character. It is probably among the best of Disney live-action remakes.

The best part of the entire movie is the spectacular fashion, meticulously crafted by the two-time Academy Award-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan. The huge gowns are full of stories and meaning. In one of my favorite scenes, a long red carpet spreads over the top of the Baroness's car as Cruella strides pridefully onto the hood; the angry red feathers of her long skirt cover the entire car, trapping the jealous Baroness. As a top, Cruella dons an imperial jacket/coat, encrusted with diamonds and hanging with braids of gold. Cruella is a true queen, just like she was meant to be. As an actor, Emma Stone pulls off her part flawlessly, in perfect coordination with Jenny Beavan. Every look is stunning. Every line is perfect.

Cruella is a true runway experience without the true runway price tag and with an intriguing story as a bonus.

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