MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
Glenn Close as CRUELLA DE VIL
Jeff Daniels as ROGER
Joely Richardson as ANITA
Joan Plowright as NANNY
Hugh Laurie as JASPER
Mark Williams as HORACE
Directed by: Stephen Herek
BY KEVIN CARR
There was a time in the 1990s when the Walt Disney company started reviving classic animation and shooting live-action versions of them. The result were some decent films, but not always perfect. One that sticks in my mind is the live-action version of “George of the Jungle,” which was cute but not great. Still, it was par for the course set by the original cartoon.
Around the same time, they adapted “101 Dalmatians” into a live action adventure. It was quite risky on the studio’s part because they made the bold decision to not have the dogs talk. This worked well, actually, because talking live-action pups might have been a bit distracting.
In order to make the movie work, they had to bring one of the best Disney villains to life – Cruella De Vil. For this part, they enlisted the skills of Glenn Close, who completely owned the role and gave us as good of a live-action Cruella as we could expect.
Aside from non-talking dogs, there were some other changes to the story. One of these changes was to update Roger’s (Jeff Daniels) job from songwriter to video game designer. This was a clunky and awkward change, but fortunately, it didn’t have too much bearing on the rest of the film.
When all is said and done, I did enjoy the live-action “101 Dalmatians,” which is a huge compliment considering the original animated film from 1961 is one of my favorite Disney films. A lot of this credit goes to Glenn Close for making Cruella as good as she did.
For the family audience, the film works well. The updated aspects to the story are more relateable to children nowadays, and while the dogs are cute, their less-personable aspects are tempered by some over-the-top slapstick humor.
The recent re-release of “101 Dalmatians” is a simple redo of the previous DVD release, and no new bonus features are included. It’s a DVD for the film only with no other incentives beyond that.