Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil
Ioan Gruffudd as Kevin
Alice Evans as Cloe
Tim McInnerny as Alonso
Gerard Depardieu as Monsieur Le Pelt
Eric Idle as Waddlesworth
102 Dalmatians, with a slick production and good cast, is a fun movie for kids and adults.
This is the sequel to the live action remake of the Disney cartoon 101 Dalmatians. Three years after the first film, Cruella De Vil is still in prison. However, a psychiatrist has performed electroshock therapy on Cruella and she now loves puppies and hates fur. The court declares her cured and releases her on parole. However, if she tries to steal puppies again, all of her money goes to a dog shelter.
It just so happens that Cruella’s parole officer, Cloe, is the owner of Dipstick (one of the puppies of the first film). Cloe is very wary of Cruella, especially since Dipstick and his mate have a new litter of puppies. Cruella begins her new life by helping out a struggling dog shelter run by Kevin. The shelter is populated by an interesting assortment of dog characters and a talking macaw that thinks he’s a Rottweiler. Meeting each other through Cruella, Kevin and Cloe fall in love.
However, it does not take long for Cruella to snap out of it and go back to her old ways. She again resurrects her plan to make a Dalmatian spotted fur coat. She recruits a French fur designer, Monsieur Le Pelt, to help with her evil plan. She again starts stealing 102 Dalmatians and sets up Kevin for the blame. It’s up to the second generation of puppies, led by the unspotted Oddball, to save the day.
This is definitely a fun movie for kids. I never saw the first live action 101 Dalmatians, but this one was still very enjoyable for both children and adults. The production is very slick with a great soundtrack and a wonderful cast. Glenn Close is wonderfully maniacal as Cruella De Vil. She certainly seems to have fun in the role. Close is at her best as the reformed Cruella, a saint with a psychotic undercurrent. The supporting cast is also good. Eric Idle plays the confused parrot and has a few great lines. Alice Evans is sweet as Cloe. I’ll bet we see a lot more of this actress in the future.
The puppy effects were great. There were a lot of scenes that required computer animated dogs and they looked very realistic (despite doing unrealistic things). The live action animals did a good job, too, and had lots of fun moments.
If you want to take a kid to a film that won’t drive you nuts, this is a good bet. You’ll probably enjoy it, too.
What Didn't Work:
As the film went into the inevitable “slapstick mode” toward the end, it became more boring for me, at least. The kids were in riotous laughter as the final showdown takes place in an industrial bakery, but I couldn’t help but think there may have been a more clever way to end the film. What that is, I don’t know.
There’s also a scene that reenacts the “spaghetti scene” from Lady and the Tramp, but with humans. It is funny and well done, but at the same time it seemed a little ironic. Rather than make an original film, Disney simply remade the first 101 Dalmatians. Now in a brand new sequel, they continue to rip off their old cartoons (even another dog film).
To be honest, that’s about all there is to criticize without nitpicking. It’s not a spectacular film, but it is a fun one for everybody.