‘Cruella’: Did the darker story line make or break the movie?
Cruella has been unleashed onto the world. Now, we know what makes the famous Disney villain tick, so to speak. Memes about dead mothers aside, Cruella got pretty dark. Though, honestly, it’s not that surprising. Look at The Hunchback of Notre Dame for example, Disney has not been afraid to go dark. Even if they want you to believe otherwise.
Anyway, while some parts of the Cruella origin story were a bit campy. It was still really dark. Darker than what we’ve got through most of these Disney live-action movies. Well, outside of the Maleficient which had that rape allegory going on when her wings were removed. But did the darker storyline of Cruella help or hurt the movie? Well here’s what the stars had to say about it.
Emma Stone says . . .
Cruella star Emma Stone has been attached to the project for years, and wasn’t surprised by the darkness in the film. Talking with Variety, she said, “Surprise is hard when you’ve been attached to the movie for four years and you’ve seen many different incarnations of the script. I wasn’t surprised because I had seen all the permutations it was going through.”
She added, “I thought that this was a really exciting and interesting reimagining of a character that we feel like we know on a surface level. It was fun to go deeper into what makes her tick and what makes her so evil.” But the question really . . . is Cruella evil? She’s the hero of her own story here. While she does do bad things, it’s not . . . bad. There’s not a stitch of fur to be seen anywhere in the movie.
Is Cruella’s darkness villainous?
The real issue with Cruellla, at least to us, is that while the storyline is dark, we have to wonder if that means it’s villainous. Cruella does things, but it’s against an opponent who is bad. But is she bad for it? She declares herself evil throughout the movie. But she shows compassion & caring to her friends and her own dogs. She becomes a folk hero in this sense.
In the original 101 Dalmatians and even when Glenn Close took on the role, Cruella was the bad guy. She was the system to fight against rather than fighting against the system. She wore fur. She wasn’t a folk hero. She was Ana Wintour, Miranda Priestly, you know. But in Cruella, she’s a rebel fighting against a system so it just doesn’t add up into a villain origin story.
But is it dark? Yes. Cruella’s mother is killed when she’s a girl. The Baroness (Emma Thompson) is a cold & haughty figure who emotionally & psychologically torments those around her. There’s a long game that Cruella is playing against the Baroness, who gets her just desserts. So we have to wonder where the obsession comes in for Cruella? Where does her love of fur come in?
Will we ever get answers about Cruella?
The thing about Cruella is that we don’t see why the character at the end of the movie would go on to become a fur-obsessed psychopath that we see in other incarnations of the character. No fur, not even fake fur, was used in the making of film. Again, while there is a dark story here, it’s more of a story of an anti-hero/anti-villain over an actual villain.
With Joker, which is being compared to Cruella, there’s a line, a transformation, an “oh yes he’s the moment”. But in Cruella? There’s nothing of the sort. And that’s what breaks the movie from a sort of villainous origin story over, say, a reimagining of the character.