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Movie Monday : Cruella (2021)

Cruella de Vil is a Disney film that tells the genesis tale of the legendary villain. Cruella, starring Emma Stone, takes place before the events of One Hundred and One Dalmatians, the 1961 animated classic based on the Dodie Smith novel of the same name, in which the fashion-conscious Cruella de Vil plots to kidnap a litter of Dalmations in order to construct a magnificent coat.

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Many of the film's segments have a heist-like excitement to them, which is made all the more entertaining by the fact that they take place at fashion shows and on catwalks — it's like a combination of Ocean's 8 and The Devil Wears Prada.

Many of Cruella's important characters are already part of the 101 Dalmatians plot - Cruella herself, Jasper, Horace, Anita, Roger, and so on - but Artie isn't, despite the fact that he seems like he should be. While it's reasonable to presume that Artie is still involved as Cruella's business expands, he hasn't appeared in either version of 101 Dalmatians.

After Cruella, the future is a little hazy, but Disney does leave the door open for more, with a few options for where the plot could go. Cruella 2 may either continue this trend by adding a new enemy for Cruella to fight up against, or it might take things a step further by truly embracing Cruella's darker tendencies and making her a villain in order to connect with 101 Dalmatians.

Emma Stone is fantastic, delivering all the sharp comedic timing, scowls and grimaces, and believable self-absorption required to transform a 2D villain into a lively, unpredictable force. While Stone is clearly at ease being ridiculous, her emotional range is one of the film's greatest assets, veering into tragedy as the weight of her actions flashes over her face before settling back into the controlled mask of a villain with a lot on her plate.

Cruella is available on Disney+ for a limited period at an additional cost to Disney fans.

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