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Cruella First Reactions: Emma Stone Is Fabulous in Impeccably Designed, Perfectly Cast Reimagining of A Classic Disney Villain

Critics on social media say the live-action origin story is a visually stunning, surprisingly sinister mix of Joker and The Devil Wears Prada.

by | May 14, 2021 | Comments

Disney’s latest reimagining of its animated classics looks back at the origin of Cruella de Vil, with Emma Stone portraying the One Hundred and One Dalmatians villain. Titled Cruella, the live-action movie arrives in theaters and on Disney+ (with Premier Access) in two weeks, but critics have already seen it and begun sharing their thoughts on social media. Going by this initial buzz, Cruella is a surprisingly fun prequel, particularly delightful in its performances and all of its design elements, especially the costuming.

Here’s what critics are saying about Cruella:


Is this another win for Disney?

Cruella is ICONIC.
– Shannon McGrew, Nightmarish Conjurings

Ridiculously entertaining.
– Tania Lamb, Lola Lambchops

Cruella is spectacular fun.
– Erik Anderson, AwardsWatch

Cruella is absolutely divine. Deliciously devilish, wonderfully wicked, undeniably outrageous.
– Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Cruella is an absolute blast!! Wickedly wild, it’s a darkly comic joy! One of the biggest and best surprises of the year!
– Jimmy O, JoBlo

Cruella is going to be the biggest surprise of the summer.
– Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

It’s easily my favorite movie of the year.
– Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky


Emma Stone in Cruella

(Photo by ©2021 Disney Enterprises)

It is award-worthy?

Cruella is this year’s first true Oscar contender in many, many categories!
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Hair & Makeup, Production Design, and Costume Design are sure bets for Oscars noms.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment


Will it even satisfy Disney haters?

Cruella [is] bold, dark, and wonderfully anti-Disney… Definitely not for kids, which is so refreshing to see from Disney.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

Now THIS is the kind of Disney Princess I can get behind, darling.
Grace Randolph, Beyond the Trailer


How does it compare to Disney’s other live-action remakes?

Possibly the best live-action Disney movie yet…this movie is something special.
Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

It completely stands out on its own from all the other Disney live action films thus far.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment


What about the two previous versions of 101 Dalmatians?

Audaciously reshapes the infamous villain’s narrative. Nods to the animated classic are FUN.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Emma Stone is FLAWLESS as Cruella, and her version blows Glenn Close’s version out of the water.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky


Cruella

(Photo by ©2021 Disney Enterprises)

Is the film reminiscent of anything else?

Cruella is the spiritual successor to The Devil Wears Prada.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Cruella is Joker meets The Devil Wears Prada.
Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

[Cruella] has Joker moments here and there, but she is definitely her own character.
Grace Randolph, Beyond the Trailer

Cruella is the perfect combination of Batman Returns meets The Devil Wears Prada.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

Cruella is a fabulous heist film.
John Nguyen, Nerd Reactor

Cruella is a tasty caper.
Scott Thompson, IGN Movies


How is Emma Stone?

Emma Stone is perfection.
Jimmy O, JoBlo

Emma Stone crackles as she evolves in the titular lead.
Simon Thompson, IGN Movies

Emma Stone legitimately gave me CHILLS at one point.
Sarah El-Mahmoud, CinemaBlend


Emma Thompson in Cruella

(Photo by ©2021 Disney Enterprises)

What about Emma Thompson?

There are two queens in Cruella. Emma Stone and Emma Thompson both shine in a battle of who is more wicked.
Tania Lamb, Lola Lambchops

Emma Stone is just mind-blowing, and Emma Thompson matches her every step of the way.
Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

Emma Stone and Emma Thompson are truly an iconic pairing, and they play it to the hilt.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

I loved Emmas Stone and Thompson chewing and gnashing at the scenery with glee.
Erik Anderson, AwardsWatch

Emma Stone absolutely shines as Cruella, and Emma Thompson is wonderfully wicked as the Baroness.
John Nguyen, Nerd Reactor

Emma Stone/Emma Thompson are a devious match whose performances test the boundaries of a Disney film.
Shannon McGrew, Nightmarish Conjurings


Are there any other highlights in the cast?

Paul Walter Hauser is absolutely hilarious.
Erik Anderson, AwardsWatch

Paul Walter Hauser is terrific and Winks the dog is adorable.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

I also have to mention Paul Walter Hauser, because he’s a real highlight and so, so funny (I’d say the same about Joel Fry, too). Wonderful double act who play off Emma Stone perfectly.
Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry are terrific as Horace and Jasper. They’re animated without being “cartoony,” giving their supporting characters multi-faceted internality and introspection. They’re heart and humor.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser make for delightful partners in crime.
Simon Thompson, IGN Movies

We have the first officially out and proud Disney character  (John McCrea) in her gang!
Grace Randolph, Beyond the Trailer


Paul Walter Hauser, Emma Stone, and Joel Fry in Cruella

(Photo by ©2021 Disney Enterprises)

How about those costumes, though?

Gorgeously costumed by Jenny Beaven.
Erik Anderson, AwardsWatch

Every outfit is STUNNING and fits perfectly in the London punk rock era.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

A visual feast of 1970s London and high fashion.
Tania Lamb, Lola Lambchops

Stylish and sassy. The dive into ’70s fashion is fab.
Sarah El-Mahmoud, CinemaBlend

Costume designer Jenny Beavan deserves third billing.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction


Do any other elements stand out?

Rich visuals and creative cinematography enhance this pithy origin story dipped in camp.
Simon Thompson, IGN Movies

An exciting score by Nicholas Britell.
Erik Anderson, AwardsWatch

It’s got a killer soundtrack.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

The soundtrack is FIRE!
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky


Emma Stone in Cruella

(Photo by ©2021 Disney Enterprises)

How is Craig Gillespie’s work as director?

I’m so glad Cruella had a director like Craig Gillespie, who has explored the horror genre with the 2011 remake of Fright Night, cause it helped set a darker, more insidious undertone.
Shannon McGrew, Nightmarish Conjurings

How about Craig Gillespie’s superb direction? [He] continues to showcase his range as a filmmaker.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment


Does it have any problems?

The film is too long.
Tania Lamb, Lola Lambchops

A bit long in the tooth at 2h 15m.
Erik Anderson, AwardsWatch

There are questionable things with Cruella’s backstory that make it hard to pair up with the villain we hate to love… Anyone concerned about the need for an origin story for Cruella de Vil will find things to be frustrated about.
Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy

A Cruella De Vil origin still wasn’t earned for me overall. Cruella felt forced and over indulgent.
Sarah El-Mahmoud, CinemaBlend


Any parting thoughts?

Don’t miss the post credit scene! WOW!
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

It SCREAMS for a sequel.
Grace Randolph, Beyond the Trailer


Cruella opens in theaters and streams on Disney+ with Premiere Access on May 28, 2021.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

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