Archive for Cruella de Vil

101 Dalmatians

Posted in Animation, Classics, Disney, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Pongo the Dalmatian lives in a London bachelor flat with his owner Roger Radcliffe, a songwriter. Bored with bachelor life, Pongo decides to find a wife for Roger and a mate for himself. While watching various female dog-human pairs out the window, he spots the perfect couple, a woman named Anita and her female Dalmatian, Perdita. He quickly gets Roger out of the house and drags him through the park to arrange a meeting. Pongo accidentally causes both Roger and Anita to fall into a pond, but it works out well as the couple falls in love. Both the human couple and the dog couple marry.

Later, Perdita gives birth to 15 puppies. One almost dies, but Roger is able to revive it by rubbing it vigorously in a towel (because of which, they would name the pup, ‘Lucky’). That same night, they are visited by Cruella De Vil, an wealthy former schoolmate of Anita’s. She offers to buy the entire litter of puppies for a large sum, but Roger says they are not selling any of the puppies. Weeks later, she hires Jasper and Horace Badun to steal all of the puppies. When Scotland Yard is unable to prove she stole them or find the puppies, Pongo and Perdita use the “Twilight Bark”, normally a canine gossip line, to ask for help from the other dogs in England.

Colonel, an old Sheepdog, along with his compatriots Captain, a gray horse, and Sergeant Tibbs, a tabby cat, find the puppies in a place called Hell Hall, along with lots of other Dalmatian puppies who Cruella had purchased from various dog stores. Tibbs learns the puppies are going to be made into dog-skin fur coats and the Colonel quickly sends word back to London. Pongo and Perdita quickly make their way from London to retrieve their puppies. They arrive just as Horace and Jasper are about to kill the puppies. While the adult dogs attack the two men, Colonel and Tibbs guide them from the house.

After a happy reunion with their own puppies, the Pongos realize there are 84 other puppies with them. Horrified at Cruella’s plans, they decide to adopt all of the puppies, certain their pets would never reject them. The dogs begin making their way back to London, aided by other animals along the way, with Cruella and the Baduns chasing behind them. In one town, they cover themselves with soot so they appear to be Labrador Retrievers, then pile inside a moving van going back to London. As the van is leaving, melting snow clears off the soot and Cruella spots them. She follows the van in her car and rams it, but the Baduns, trying to cut off the van from above, end up colliding with her, knocking both vehicles into a deep ravine. Cruella yells in frustration as the van drives away.

Back in London, Roger and Anita are attempting to celebrate Christmas and Roger’s first big hit, a song about Cruella, but they miss their friends. Suddenly barking is heard outside and after their nanny opens the door, the house is filled with dog. After wiping away more of the soot, the couple is delighted to realize their companions have returned home. They decide to use the money from the song to buy a large house in the country so they can keep all 101 Dalmatians.

REVIEW:

I am by no means a dog person, but occasionally a film about dogs actually warms my heart to the creatures. Examples of this feat are Old Yeller, Lady and the Tramp, and of course this film.

The beginning narration by Pongo where the camera pans down to Roger and then he introduces himself was pure genius, as was the way he and Roger meet Anita and Perdita.

When the puppies were born and that 15th pup, who went on to become Lucky, nearly dies, I thought it was going to be another sad moment such as the death of Babmi’s mother or Dumbo’s mom being put in a separate trailer.

I really liked the way that all the dogs have their own network to help each other out. I wonder if that’s what all the barking is about at night.

Horace and Jasper are the typical bumbling henchmen to one of the most popular and evil Disney villain, Cruella de Vil. Seriously, how many villains do you know have their own song? Yes, you can says Prince John (Robin Hood), Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone), Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective ) and Gaston (Beauty & the Beast). However, with the exception of Gaston, none of those songs leave a lasting memory in your psyche, and even his isn’t that memorable. There is a reason Cruella last name is de Vil, as in “devil”, she is evil on the level of Jafar, the Wicked Queen, Lady Tremain, and the penultimate Disney villain, Maleficent. One thing I wish that would have been addressed, even if only a line or two to let the audience know, was what happens to Cruella and her henchmen after the wreck.

I love the films that Diseny was releasing around this time. Something about that sketchy animation really appeals to me.

I still wonder why they felt the need to make this into a live-action film. Especially considering how it wasn’t that great. I guess money drives people to do anything. I’m a purist when it comes to Disney films, though, and think they should be left alone. That includes the songs, so you can imagine my disdain for these tween “stars” that “update” the classic songs. I won’t get into all that now, though, but I will say that this is a film for the whole family to enjoy!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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