Superman’s disguise just got demoted.
I imagine “Craig Gillespie” is what happens when you base your entire directorial aesthetic off of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990) — the spacious, long-take panning/dollying and the dad-fueled, gen-x classic rock soundtrack; it’s all down to the bone! — and while that doesn’t necessarily insinuate as a negative for me if I, Tonya (2017) proved to us anything, there usually needs to be some diverting bite in the story to compliment such an attractive style. But therein lies the major difference between Gillespie’s compelling Harding drama and his prequel to Disney’s infamous puppy-slayer: Cruella accentuates one of the most shamelessly stereotype-driven stories I’ve seen in a VERY LONG time, which for me corresponds to a beyond offensive and tiring experience.
If the 134-minute runtime wasn’t enough to make this heinously unoriginal sap-opera feel any longer than it warrants to be, the initiating 40 minutes of it that deliberately exposes every formulaic twist-and-turn to come with pronounced hints certainly won’t make it feel any quicker. Completely obsessed too with lineage being an integral explanation of character and unconvincing, overnight transformations in arc revelations like the modern Disney template absolutely gobbles in, I genuinely wanted this movie to end the more and more it went on so I could avoid the next cringy, predictable reveal that this film thought its audience could possibly fall for. Oh, and if you’re looking for a prequel that connects the dots between this and the 101 Dalmatians (1961) timeline when it comes to Cruella de Vil’s complexion, this film will only further contradict your understanding of her character in replacement for the trendy new “villain-turned-sympathetic-anti-hero” hogwash. Hollywood is progressively losing their way thinking that we need to be emotionally manipulated in order to simply understand where an antagonist is coming from or to simply be engaged with their backstory.
The dress game here was absolutely on point though; I f**king L-O-V-E-D whenever this movie just decided to be a momentary fashion show! Seems to me that the costume and set designers of Cruella deserve to have their talents put into a much better narrative!
“Cruella” is now playing in theaters and available to purchase on Disney+.