Watch: Trailer for Cruella, starring Emma Stone
The first verdicts are in for Disney's latest live-action adaptation of an animated story, with critics lavishing praise on Cruella.
Emma Stone leads the origin story for Cruella de Vil, who was of course the dog-murdering baddie at the heart of the 1961 animated classic One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
She was voiced by Betty Lou Gerson in that movie and later embodied in live-action by Glenn Close in a 1996 version of the story.
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In the director's chair this time around is Craig Gillespie, who previously played with the idea of "villainy" in his blackly comic ice skating biopic I, Tonya.
With Cruella's debut in cinemas and on Disney+ imminent, the first critics have now seen the movie and the feeling is primarily a positive one, with the film dubbed "wickedly fun" and "easily the best of the live-action Disney reboots".
#Cruella is a wickedly fun watch w/ amazing costumes & an epic soundtrack. Emma Stone and Emma Thompson are exceptionally evil & hilarious, and they make the movie memorable. Also, Paul Walter Hauser steals scenes, as he tends to do. It's like a Disneyfied DEVIL WEARS PRADA pic.twitter.com/dUSjlVlgsu
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) May 14, 2021
Anyone concerned about the need for an origin story for Cruella de Vil will find things to be frustrated about in #Cruella, but there's no denying it has some serious style, incredible costumes and some Very Good Dogs. pic.twitter.com/tqpSRQrJEv
— Ian Sandwell (@ian_sandwell) May 14, 2021
— Jazz Tangcay (@jazzt) May 14, 2021
Cruella could be the biggest surprise of the summer. Bold, dark, & wonderfully anti-Disney. Emma Stone is perfection as Cruella. Hair & Makeup, Production Design & Costume Design are sure bets for Oscars noms. Paul Walter Hauser is terrific and Winks the dog is adorable. #Cruella pic.twitter.com/zPCdFXSGL3
— Scott Menzel (@ScottDMenzel) May 14, 2021
Considering how much I disliked the trailers, I'm really annoyed by how much I enjoyed CRUELLA. Easily the best of the live-action Disney reboots, remixing a familiar character into a just-edgy-enough crime adventure set in the London fashion world. Cool families will dig it.
— Jacob Hall (@JacobSHall) May 15, 2021
Stone's take on the character starts the movie as aspiring fashion designer Estella, with the story exploring the journey which brings her to the titular moniker.
Gillespie's film is set during the 1970s in London, with the punk rock movement in full swing and influencing the movie's style.
Emma Thompson is a part of the cast as Estella's rival and fashion house boss Baroness von Hellman, while Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry play sibling thieves Horace and Jasper.
Mark Strong, Emily Beecham and Jamie Demetriou are also among the ensemble.
Cruella was originally scheduled to be released in December 2020, but was delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, along with much of Disney's movie slate.
Disney has continued to have success with live-action reboots of its animated classic, with The Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast all crossing the milestone of $1bn (£709m) at the worldwide box office.
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Next up is a live-action version of The Little Mermaid, directed by Rob Marshall, with Halle Bailey as Ariel and Melissa McCarthy as sea-witch Ursula.
Cruella is due to be released in UK cinemas and via Disney+ — with an extra charge for Premier Access — from 28 May.
Watch: Emma Stone transforms into Cruella in featurette