Cruella Review: 5 Ups & 5 Downs

Emma Stone shines in this muddled, uneven origin story.

Cruella Emma Stone

After Disney took a theatrical hiatus for most of 2020, the latest in their spate of live-action remakes is now in cinemas and on Disney+ worldwide.

Cruella is of course a prequel-slash-reimagining for 101 Dalmatians' iconic villain Cruella de Vil, a project which invited immediate skepticism from many for one simple reason - does anyone really want a sympathetic origin story for a woman who kills dogs for fur?

Regardless, Cruella is finally here armed with a titanic $200 million budget, talented director Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya), and an all-star cast led by Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, and Mark Strong.

The results, predictably, are all over the place. Though broadly well-received by critics so far - with most reviews landing in the three-star region - Cruella matches its style and creativity at every step with frustrating excess while succumbing to many of the most cliched problems that plague so many prequels.

It certainly doesn't want for acting talent or filmmaking skill, but by the end of its 134 minutes, Cruella is more an exhausting, fitfully entertaining sit than a genuinely worthwhile origin story that fully justifies its own existence...

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Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.