Disney's Cruella is now streaming on Disney+ - for free! As one of the more highly-anticipated movies of 2021, there will be plenty of people happy to escape some late-summer heat with a look at this origin story for the iconic villain of 101 Dalmatians, Cruella de Vil. Emma Stone stars as "Estella," the young girl who will become "Cruella", and the film also stars Emma Thompson as The Baroness, the aristocrat woman whose feud with Estella shapes the young girl into the upscale, animal-skinning monster we know and love(?). You can check out Cruella as part of your regular Disney+ content library starting today.
Synopsis: Before she becomes Cruella de Vil, teenage Estella has a dream. She wishes to become a fashion designer, having been gifted with talent, innovation, and ambition all in equal measures. But life seems intent on making sure her dreams never come true. Having wound up penniless and orphaned in London at 12, 10 years later Estella runs wild through the city streets with her best friends and partners-in-(petty)-crime, Horace and Jasper, two amateur thieves. When a chance encounter vaults Estella into the world of the young rich and famous, however, she begins to question the existence she's built for herself in London and wonders whether she might, indeed, be destined for more after all. When an up-and-coming rock star commissions Estella to design him a signature piece, she begins to feel as though she has truly arrived. But what is the cost of keeping up with the fast crowd- and is it a price Estella is willing to pay?
Is Cruella worth your viewing time? Here's what Comicbook.com's Jamie Jirak said in her official review:
Disney's recent slate of live-action remakes have mostly felt like pale imitations of their animated counterparts, but Cruella manages to stand above the rest thanks to its original story. The new movie is a prequel starring Emma Stone as Estella, the younger version of 101 Dalmatians' infamous villain, Cruella de Vil. This 1970s romp explains how the fashion-obsessed opportunist went from being a small-time thief to an aspiring designer hell-bent on taking down London's biggest fashion maven, The Baroness (Emma Thompson). The movie isn't perfect by any means and it could have been at least 30 minutes shorter, but between Craig Gillespie's creative direction, Jenny Beavan's electric costume design, and the wickedly captivating performances by Stone and Thompson, Cruella is easily one of Disney's best live-action films to date.
There are a million ways Cruella could have failed, especially when you consider the fact that we're supposed to root for a woman who will one day kidnap a bunch of puppies with the intent to kill them. However, the film manages to find the perfect balance between making us believe this character could one day become the Cruella we all know (and love to hate) while still rooting for her in this new context. Many people will instinctively want to compare this movie to Maleficent, but it's a completely different approach to telling a villain's tale. Maleficent was a retelling of Sleeping Beauty from Maleficent's perspective whereas no part of Cruella makes you look back on 101 Dalmatians and think, "Maybe Cruella was right all along!"
Disney's Cruella is now streaming on Disney+.