Cruella (2021): An Unhateable Evil
Cruella (2021): An Unhateable Evil
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  • 승인 2021.08.31 16:13
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▲ An Official poster for Cruella (source= disney.co.kr)
▲ An Official poster for Cruella (source= disney.co.kr)


The thing is, I was born brilliant. Born bad. And a little bit mad.

  The sentence above is a line describing Cruella, the main character of this movie, itself. Her full name is Cruella De Vil, and even her name is a kind of calembour using "cruel" and "devil". Cruella is the villain character of the Disney classic movie 101 Dalmatians (1996). The movie Cruella (2021) modernized Cruella paying attention to where her madness, which seemed fragmentary in the original work, began.

▲ Cruella of 101 Dalmatians (1996) and Cruella (2021) (source= disney.co.kr)
▲ Cruella of 101 Dalmatians (1996) and Cruella (2021) (source= disney.co.kr)

 With unique fashion sense to wear school uniforms inside out and a free-spirited personality, she, born with exactly half white and half black hair, is a prominent figure everywhere. This double-personality woman looks clumsy and confused when she is “Estelle”, but she darkens into “Cruella” who emboldens precarious and giddy things when facing the new truth. This movie leads from the story about “Estella” who dreams of success as a fashion designer to the story about conflict with her mom, revenge and a mind going crazy in “Cruella”.

 Craig Gillespie, the director of Cruella, proved that he could make a good story of a female anti-hero through his previous movie I, Tonya (2017), about the assault on Nancy Ann Kerrigan by figure skater Tonya Maxine Harding. In addition, he has shown his talent in revealing the inner side of the wounded character through the movie Lars and The Real Girl (2007). Therefore, this movie, the next move of this director, raised expectations even higher.

Now Cruella will be the mainstream.

Estelle will appear from time to time.


▲ The left is when she is Estella, and the right is when she is Cruella. (source= disney.co.kr)
▲ The left is when she is Estella, and the right is when she is Cruella. (source= disney.co.kr)

 This movie features not only Cruella (Emma Stone) but also Baroness (Emma Thompson), and they form "Bad Villain vs Worse Villain" composition. Emma Stone perfected the personality of the character by elaborating on each step of finding identity in a good Estella and a bad Cruella. Emma Thompson also shows off her charisma that is not lagging behind Cruella’s at all. The audience can feel the thrill and gratifying of watching a battle between the two Emma.

 In this movie, the two villains compete in fashion and style. These offer visual fun comparable to other Disney movies set in fantasy. When Baroness is preparing hard for her fashion show, Cruella suddenly appears and spoils it in a more attention-grabbing way. While the fashion of Baroness is elegant and dignified, the counterattack of Cruella is as unconventional and bold as her personality. The story unfolds by leading on fashion and style that is a weapon and an attack.

▲Cruella(left), Baroness(right) (source= disney.co.kr)
▲Cruella(left), Baroness(right) (source= disney.co.kr)

 Moreover, selection of songs upcoming like another story in the movie offers auditory fun. The audience will think, "I think I have heard this song somewhere!" when they hear the sound track of this movie. It stimulates the nostalgia of old pop songs such as “Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps” by Doris Day and “Stone Cold Crazy” by Queen. Also standing out is the use of music that romantic jazz softly covers the screen passing by with a quick breath. This movie is set mainly in the 1970s in London and has a generally dark atmosphere, doubling the enjoyment of the audience watching the movie through music that well-matched to the scene.


"Cruella is absolutely divine. Deliciously devilish, wonderfully wicked, undeniably outrageous. Emma Stone & Emma Thompson are truly an iconic pairing & they play it to hilt. Costume designer Jenny Beavan deserves 3rd billing. Plus, it’s got a killer soundtrack.” 
-Courtney Howard, a film critic


 Like setting the tempo to the extraordinary passion for fashion of Cruella, this movie is the result of a team with perfect teamwork including background, music, production, and acting. The interior design of places where Cruella mainly actives, such as department stores, workrooms, companies and banquet halls, and the sound filled with restlessness catches the eyes and ears. With the confident acting of the actors, this movie allows audiences to enjoy everything from the opening to the end in a non-boring direction.

 However, the possibility of imitation cannot be excluded, as this movie is a Disney movie that a lot of kids can see. This movie can implicitly give teenage children a terrifying message: "Get rid of your mother and make it on your own." Although the story unfolds convincingly, there is nevertheless a dangerous element. Actually, in the U.S., the viewing age has been limited to 13 years old or older, but critics say that it would be right to raise viewing age in terms of the level of the story. Therefore, this movie requires attention for children to watch.

▲Cruella (Emma Stone) & Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) (source= disney.co.kr & warnerbros.com)
▲Cruella (Emma Stone) & Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) (source= disney.co.kr & warnerbros.com)

 Meanwhile, Cruella begs a comparison to Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) in Joker (2019), a representative double-personality character, in the preview. The laughter heard when Cruella reveals her true nature and says, "I guess they were always scared, that I had been a psycho," recalls Joker. However, Cruella, who has a lot of similarities to Joker in that her outer shell dies and reveals her inner self, has a slightly disappointing story compared to her splendid looks. While Joker heightens the excitement by showing his inner self step by step, Cruella did not fully explain her narrative, embedded as it in bursting songs and colorful lights.

 The director expressed his thoughts on these comments. "We are clearly different from them. We created a tragedy in our own way. In the preview, people may think of Cruella as Joker, but Cruella also has wit, humor and energy." Actually, the public commented that the preview reminds them of Joker; however, it is clear after watching the movie how Cruella goes against the grain of Joker.

 The main points of the movie Cruella are that fashion is flashy, the music is intense, and the story is delightful. Cruella, a strong and self-reliant character with an outstanding nature that is not locked in the frame with a narrative that is bound to become strong. The bold appearance of Cruella, who proudly gets what she wants with a fierce momentum, gives people a kind of pleasure living in a tightly knit network of organizations operating withing the boundaries of the law. Seeing her live the best life for herself, even though some people think she is just an attention seeker, people may be able to identify their true selves as being suppressed.


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