October 18, 2021

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Cruella: a review of the shopping queen

There’s Angelina Jolie on Maleficent, dedicated to the big (or not) ugliness of Sleeping Beauty. Now there will be Emma Stone in Cruella, the origin story no one expected about the great (or not) ugliness of 101 Dalmatians. The umpteenth film in the Disney studio’s massive recycling business, which has made billions with live-action films The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and company, this blockbuster is directed by Craig Gillespie (Me, Tonya), with Emma Thompson, not surprisingly friendly.

FASHION VICTIMS, THAT’S HIS CODE NAME
There are two very simple ways to look at Cruella’s flamboyant uselessness, blockbuster chic and 100 million (at least) fakes, made at Disney. The first: the origin story and Mickey Obligate, the iconic character from the 1961 cartoon, and played by Glenn Close in the cinema, loses his cigarette, his fur, and his ugliness, for the sake of long explanations and counter psychology. Stripped naked, Cruella was no longer cruel, she was just a poor little girl standing against a cruel world.

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The second: since the famous and beloved Cruella doesn’t yet exist, writers Dana Fox (Jackpot, Single, user guide) and Tony McNamara (The Favorite) just made an almost confirmed copy with baroness von Hellman, played by Emma Thompson. He is an unclean and extravagant fashion designer, who employs Estella/Crella as a small hand and a big spirit in his fashion workshop, thus taking on the idea of ​​the 1996 film, with Anita. Or how to turn an origin story into a simulated remake.

This is just the tip of Cruella’s iceberg, a big candy bar with no consequences, if it doesn’t have that vague feeling of Hollywood nausea, after more than two hours of non-stop making you want to (re)launch the season. 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race of Anything.

THE WORLD IS A STONE
No doubt the majority of the public will see Cruella for Emma Stone, and will remember Emma Stone’s (obviously overrated) accent and dress (obviously insane) and acting (obviously outrageous). The entire film was made for Oscar-winning actress La La Land, who bathes for the first time in this Hollywood selfies bath. Originally written by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), Kelly Marcel (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Steve Zissis (The Togetherness series), the screenplay was rewritten upon his arrival, and the film is a company entirely dedicated to him. .

Needless to say, Emma Stone had no trouble popping up behind three tons of makeup and various artificial postures. From Easy Girl to La Favorite, she has established herself as a comic war machine, in an explosive cocktail of self-assurance and self-mockery that allows to illuminate the simplest of scenes.

Here, she happily takes on the dual role of Cruella, an actress’s total fantasy in best-of form: shy hidden behind her glasses, spy in action robbery, diva on the red carpet, rock star on the catwalk, not to mention drama with dripping mascara and great revenge … Estella / Cruella is an actress, like Emma Stone, who paved the way.

MY KINGDOM
But the character’s treatment in the end is what Cruella is least concerned about. Outside of the not-so-inspired option of delving into the origins of the great villains, at an inescapable cost, it’s all of Disney’s bulldozer architecture that poses problems. With more than two hours to tell the most ridiculous and shallowest of stories (an orphan turned thief, seeking revenge, but without losing his humanity and style), the film quickly becomes an intense charging test.

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The plot twists and turns so much that there are two great undercover scenes at a slick party, and some staging, deception, and revealing to complete. A flashback here, a rescue there then a lengthy explanation and a musical montage between the two round out a long, sluggish story that is surprisingly taken seriously when it comes to making films other than films. Not to mention that some elements are hidden from viewers just for the illusion of surprise, just to confirm the feeling of the scenario being patched by half a dozen people.

It’s sad that director Craig Gillespie’s choices were so wise, given his shocking filmography—the near-romantic comedy A Bride Like No Other, the horror comedy Fright Night or the disaster film The Finest Hours. With Me, Tonya, she has demonstrated all the qualities to tell Cruella: the ability to film a colorful anti-hero, to direct a talented actress, and without ever forgetting her directing. But at Disney, all of that is quickly diluted in a tasteless pop soup.

You just have to look at the penNina Simone’s mischievous use of Feeling Good, some rotating camera movement, or a dress that Katniss Everdeen won’t deny to understand Cruella counts as a striking piece. , with continuous motion on the screen to create a diversion. The choice of 1970s London as the backdrop helps hide a bit of emptiness, but the illusion is short-lived. Outside of hilarious staging on the red carpet, evacuated in some casual montage, the artistic direction is surprisingly lackluster.

Perhaps because films with Glenn Close have pushed the cursor so high in terms of imagination (this incredible set and accessories, with animatronics by Jim Henson all the same), this modern Cruella drops a few notches to appeal to a larger audience. and it’s a shame if it forces him to go to the Disney washing machine. And the best joke of the film is this: the anarchic “A” on the poster, almost makes us believe that Mickey is punk with his recycling business. While the only thing is the fact that Cruella’s costume was made by Oscar winner Jenny Beavan for Mad Max: Fury Road.