Step on my toes and pluck out my eyes why don’t ya! This just might be the worst project Disney has ever given green light to. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly harmless DVD cover. This movie hurts. It hurts to watch, it hurts to listen, and most of all, it hurts that Disney is responsible for approving it.
After undergoing behavioral studies and experiments to control her madness, Cruella de Vil is now a changed woman. So changed that she decides to alter her name to Ella and work with puppies to complete her community service hours. Unfortunately, Big Ben strikes noon and at the same time, strikes a chord of madness in Cruella’s brain. Now Cruella is out for the puppies she hates the most.
I’m sure the majority of you have passed up this unwanted sequel with ease and comfort, and those of you who did saved precious time and money. Congratulations on trusting your instincts and I think I speak for everyone when I say, “For god’s sake, don’t make another one!” The plot is formulaic and frequently frantic.
More often than not, the film tests your patience by seeming long and lowers your IQ by being simultaneously irritating and insanely idiotic. The script is horrendous and dimwitted to the max, resulting in a heartless film with an abundance of strange characters that no adult should ever let their kids watch. If Disney ever plans to make another instant classic, they aren’t going to do it by making unnecessary sequels and prequels. This is just a reminder of how great Disney used to be. You know, Beauty and the Beast, Lady and the Tramp, and the original animated 101 Dalmatians. Take note debut screenwriters. The film did manage to scoop up an Oscar Nomination for Best Costume Design.
There are plenty of adorable puppies, but canceling that out are the many encounters with irritatingly strange characters. The show stopper — a macaw (voiced by an erratic Eric Idle) convinced he is a Rottweiler. Whoever thought this one up clearly wasn’t thinking straight. Come to think of it, Ioan Gruffudd’s character is so oddly written I ended up questioning his humanness.
Glenn Close reprises her role as Cruella de Vil, the most notorious, iconic, and devilish villain Disney has to offer. Unfortunately, the material here is thin and withered, giving Glenn Close a bad reputation. It isn’t that her acting was bad. In fact, Glenn Close is the only thing the film has feeding it fuel and keeping it from being entirely unwatchable. But the fact that she agreed to do such a god-awful film is beyond my comprehension.
Disney rarely makes features that are truly bad. However, 102 Dalmatians is that rare disaster that occasionally spews out of the Disney vault. If the intentions here are to sorely disappoint and annoy the hell out of Disney believers, debut screenwriter Kristen Buckley and director Kevin Lima (who went on to direct Enchanted) have tremendously succeeded on multiple levels.
The DVD has many special features for those interested. Bonus features included are a deleted scene, three behind-the-scenes featurettes, audio commentary with the director, animal coordinator and trainers, and plenty more. 1/5 stars