At a certain point in Cruella, the protagonist admits, rather defeated, “People need a villain to believe in and I’m happy to fit the bill”. She is tired albeit determined, staring the archetype of the bad guy right in the eye, preparing to take the leap. The thing is, the Cruella (Emma Stone) we see here is far – far – from taking the full plunge. 

Craig Gillepsie’s prequel was set to a controversial start, much being said about how there is no need for yet another Disney live-action that offered little else but chunky paychecks. But at the end of the day, there the film is, so why not surrender to it? The answer is that it is incredibly laborious to fully immerse oneself into this world where all efforts are employed to humanise a villain known for her lack of humanity. Not only do we have a meme-starter of an origin story, but the film also lacks the unhinged madness needed for a character like Cruella, never fully leaning into the delicious derangement of Glenn Close’s take on the unapologetic villain. 

Running at over two hours long, the prequel is a potpourri of classic rock songs and needle drops, with costume and set design by far the most interesting of its traits. From Stone’s beautiful parade of dresses to the stunning baroque tiles that cover the floors of a department store, Cruella is a visual feast (at least when it doesn’t rely too heavily upon CGI). Joining Stone, the modern Stan and Ollie pairing in the shape of Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry is a hit. 

Cruella will undoubtedly work for eager teens, who will avidly consume not only the film itself but the countless merchandise lines that are certain to pop up everywhere. And, from a major company point of view, what is that if not a full-blown success? 



CAST: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Hauser, Joel Fry

DIRECTOR: Craig Gillepsie

WRITERS:  Dana Fox, Tony McNamara 

SYNOPSIS: A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil.