New ‘Cruella’ Trailer Proves How Good Glenn Close Really Was
Two weeks ago, we were gifted with the second trailer for Disney’s upcoming villain-focused film, ‘Cruella’.
The new trailer introduced us to the film’s antagonist, a rival and senior designer (played by Emma Thompson) who opened the trailer with this gem;
“Let me give you this advice, you can’t care about anyone else. Everyone else is an obstacle. You care what an obstacle wants or feels you’re dead. If I’d cared about anyone or thing I might have died. You have the talent, whether you have the killer instinct is a big question.”
While we’re listening to Thompson, we see Cruella cleaning a bathroom, then sewing a dress, then in the room while Thompson is delivering the line.
So, in less than 30 seconds we are made to understand that this is an origin story for Cruella, who was clearly groomed and taught by Thompsons character to become the dog murdering mad-woman we all know and love.
But a rundown of the entire plot isn’t the only thing that’s given away in under half a minute. Listening to this opening line, we’re also able to discern that this is a movie that is going to tell you, rather than show you, absolutely everything we need to know about the characters.
Thompson may as well have said;
“Let me give you this advice. I’m evil and selfish and can teach you to be the same way. But are you capable of murdering dogs? That was a question that was answered in 1961, but we’re going to spend the next two hours of this film answering it again anyway.”
Perhaps Disney felt vindicated with how well audiences responded to Katheryn Hahn’s dog-murdering character in ‘WandaVision’ on Disney+, a feeling that led them to believe that they could do no wrong.
Don’t trust that feeling, Disney.
The title role of Cruella is being played by the loveable Emma Stone, who has been given the unenviable job of following up Glenn Close who played the role 25 years ago in the 1996 live adaptation of 101 Dalmatians.
Close perfected the rough and maniacal villain with a unique likability that somehow distracted us from the fact that her goal was to literally murder and skin over a hundred puppies.
But the portrayal was so good, and the imagery so defining, that a lot of her character and the style of the film can be seen very clearly in the more recent film, ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’
Watching Prada, the influences from 101 Dalmatians are striking. If you’d like to see for yourself, go back and re-watch the reveal scenes for both Cruella in 101 Dalmatians and Meryl Streep’s character in ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’ They’re almost shot for shot identical.
But where Prada seemed only influenced by Dalmatians, this film seems determined to rip-off both films without including any of the believability or likability that kept both films so grounded.
The trailer includes a scene that features Roberts walking through a lineup of clothes, ripping them apart with her criticism, then, with what looks like a blade.
It’s as though they saw Streep tearing apart people’s designs with her remarks, then wondered aloud to themselves,
“Could we pull off that exact scene, but add sword? Then she could literally cut Cruella, thereby starting and justifying a rivalry that can carry the film!”
It seems they ignored the fact that Streep’s scene could believably happen in the real world. But once you add a sword, things take a turn for the ridiculous.
That Poor Chewed Up Scenery
As beloved as Emma Stone is, even she is unlikely to get away with how overacted all of these scenes are.
Overplayed, unrealistic, and at the same time, Stone is trying to hold and maintain an English accent. An accent that constantly wavers between modern day and classic Hollywood seemingly at random.
Then, as if things aren’t absurd enough, we see Cruella’s dress magically transform after catching fire, and her walking stick smack the daylights out of multiple guards. Is she a superhero? Is she literally a witch?
“Cruella only wore striking outfits in 1996. What if this time we gave her a freaking Hunger Games fire dress. The VFX will eat up the whole budget though, so we’ll top it off with the world’s cheapest wig.”
Why is Disney taking what is possibly the most iconic villain of the 1960’s, who was perfected in the 1990’s, and subjecting her to this kind of abuse?
Have they made so many Marvel films that they’re now unable to make any film that isn’t tonally ‘The Avengers’?
The Silver Lining
If there’s any positive to come from watching this film, it will be a newfound appreciation for Glenn Close and what she pulled off in 1996.
The unbelievable way she delivered her lines with a high, manic energy without it ever feeling ridiculous or overblown. Or even the scene during which she delivers Cruella’s iconic evil laugh, a laugh that sends a tingle down your spine and prepares you for the evil acts yet to come.
Another positive for this film will be the costumes. (Excluding Cruella’s wig).
It seems that this movie is going all-out in the costuming department, gunning for that Oscar. That way when they win, they can slap ‘Oscar Winner’ on the cover art and let you guess for yourself what the Oscar was for.
But that’s all I can say about the trailer. I will have to wait until the film is out properly before I can know for sure whether the final result is as bad as its marketing.. but here’s my prediction..
This movie will be a weaker villain origin story than ‘Maleficent’ was in 2014. Where that movie used a rape allegory to justify the protagonist’s transformation into evil, this film will use fashion-fuelled revenge to give us a Miranda Priestly meets Health Ledger’s Joker manic energy. At the same time, a feminist tone will be forced in but not followed through on properly, and the whole dog-murdering thing will be left out.
So, to future readers I ask… was I right?