Cruella has become a media success even before its premiere on Disney Plus. With its punk air and radical aesthetic, the origin story of one of Disney’s iconic villains has everything to succeed. But seen some of the previews of the long-awaited production, a more than evident resemblance to a recent success has been found. Is the resemblance between Disney’s Cruella and DC’s recent hit Todd Phillips’ Joker more than casual?
At first glance it doesn’t seem to make much sense to compare two completely different productions with each other. While Joker has taken on an adult tone in the comic that transcended to the screen, Cruella still looks like a cartoon. Even the one incarnated by Glenn Close in the live action version of ’96 it is much closer to animation than realistic tone.
So at first glance, the comparison does not seem very logical. However, everything indicates that the new Disney movie will give a adult tone to Cruella. In addition, he will explore a type of evil not too common in Mickey’s house.
The Cruella played by Emma Stone seems to have much more interest in portraying a strange, three-dimensional character than a funny one. How good is that? If we consider that the origin of Joker is also an eccentric, violent and unpleasant character, the experiment with Cruella could be successful.
An evil smile that is worth two: from Cruella to Joker
In 2018, Craig gillespie It took the story of a broken American idol and turned it into a strange movie. The movie Me, tonya, the director’s take on the infamous and disgraced Tonya Harding, shocked audiences and critics. And it was not a simple approach to such a controversial character.
Gillespie asked himself the right questions, and alongside Margot Robbie’s performance he got a splendid look at evil. But not a stereotypical one, but with multiple layers about greed, envy and the breakdown of the so-called American way of life. The feature film became a surprise success and made clear the director’s knack for ambiguous characters.
Of course, Cruella is not Tonya hardingBut he does have something of a greedy and voracious kind of evil that Gillespie could use to his advantage. Also, in the same way as Philips’ Joker, he has a weird take on vindication, power, and revenge.
Without reaching the harshness of the Joker incarnated by Joaquin Phoenix, Stone could give the eccentric Cruella a sense of novel purpose. Why is she obsessed with killing dogs? Why is your style so marked and part of something more sinister? While Glenn Close exploited the pure melodrama of the animated version, Stone may well find a point of outlandish evil.
Also, the character takes place in a time when Punk rock it’s everything. A rebellious and defiant breakout version of Cruella, also incorporating her worst traits, could create a great movie villain. One that does not have to be pessimistic, a necessary victim of circumstances or mired in melancholy.
And Gillespie seems to have every intention of achieving it. Standing surrounded by what appears to be a long black and white skirt, Stone’s Cruella smiles at the audience. “I am a woman, hear me roar.”
Too much feminism?
Other issues that have raised controversy around the adaptation is what seems to be a definitively vindictive trait. Or that it appears to be. It’s not really entirely true. The Cruella on Screen is based on the character from Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians. The character is a combination of a haunting villain and something more sinister with occasional hints of humor.
The combination could allow Gillespie to build a powerful villain, not entirely dependent on her animated adaptation. In addition, of course, to open a gap in the live action adaptations that until now have had a welcome in the public. But Cruella will have a combination of the powerful personality of her literary version, and certainly a lot of the quirky demeanor of the animated one.
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Could Gillespie achieve a curious work, on the fringes of a larger universe, in the same way as he did? Todd Phillips? Most likely it is the great objective of a film that, for now, breaks the paradigm of transferring popular stories frame by frame. With its air of rupture, strange and powerful, at least Gillespie’s Cruella has managed to attract the interest of the public before its premiere.