Monday, May 24, 2021

101 Dalmatians

20 years since I last watched it, so how does it hold up?

Now I know this isn't technically the first Disney live action remake but honestly who even remembers the 90s Jungle Book? Nobody, I don't even think it should count since it tries to stick more to the books and not do the animated film again. So this is the first technically, at least for me. It's...mixed, not so much on production or story but primarily on the tone. The tone in this movie is beyond scatter brained, it's almost inherint because the plain fact of the matter is, the story concerns a group of puppies being stolen with the intent of being killed, skinned, and made into a fur coat by the one and only Cruella DeVil as a rescue attempt is made to retrieve the pups. So it kinda has to tightrope a quite dark and screwed up main story, but still put the ha ha funny funny moments specifically for kids, young kids at that and it doesn't always pull it off. Now production wise, it's done really really well. Location shooting in London, screenplay by John Hughes and yes I'm still reeling from that revelation, a mighty great cast I mean the star power they have here is kinda unreal, the animal training is highly commendable, set design primarily for Cruella's places is wonderful, all the elements are there. It's just the flip flop between cutesy, and weird and f***ed up that bothers me. I mean this movie will put the fear of DeVil in you boy, Glenn Close is terrifying yet incredible in this role. There isn't a fraction of a shadow of a doubt in my mind's eye she is the only reason anyone watches this movie. She's just that good! But that's not at all to say the rest of the cast isn't good, hell I'd say easily the second best actor in this is Hugh Laurie, it really is like if the Prince Regent took up being an accomplice it's beautiful. Of course I have to shout out Mr. Weasely himself Mark Williams, I think him and Hugh work very well together. Even our main couple played by Jeff Daniels and Joely Richardson do good work. And the more I think about it this was my first experience for so many actors when I was like 5, Glenn, Jeff, Hugh, Mark, actors I've come to appreciate and love in 2 decades time. I know I haven't talked much about the dogs and while the animals are trained really impressively, I didn't think they were that big a part of the story, strange though that may sound. Heck the 15 puppies birthed doesn't even occur until the 40 minute mark in this almost 2 hour film, and you get brief moments of cutesy stuff but I could not help but focus more on the dark stuff. I mean this movie freaked me out a fair bit when I was young, the skinned tiger was f***ed up and upsets me more now, Skinner was a creepy character and hasn't lost much of his edge despite his low screen time, Christ just hearing Glenn scream got a startle out of me often that woman is either go all or go home. There's flat out horror movie shots at times which I do kinda love but then I remember the title and audience demographic and I'm just like, yikes. True there were parts I didn't like, for instance our main couple decide to get married because the dogs have fallen in love. I see no faults in logic there. Plus the fact this movie brought a fair bit of 1995 to memory, I mean God I'm aging by the minute here at this point. I have no issue saying I watched the second movie more than the first when I was young so that will be fascinating to see so many years later. This film I give 3 stars, 7/10, catch you next time for 101+1 more doggos.

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