Photo Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

Disney Presents: Cruella; the long-awaited Prequel

Cruella is a live-action prequel feature film that was set to be released in December 2020 but was delayed to May 2021 due to COVID-19 precautions. This feature film was released in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access on May 27 of this year but users had to purchase a fee to access the film. Viewers are now able to stream Cruella for free on Disney+ starting August 27.

This feature film follows a young girl named Estella who has a dream of becoming a fashion designer when a freak accident kills her mother. She then found two orphaned boys with who she went on many heists and adventures. Estella then got her “dream job” working at the most favored fashion place in town. This leads Estella, later known as Cruella, to get involved in one of the biggest heists of their lives, leading to a major twist in the film.

When Estella was born, she had black and white hair which made her different from everyone else. She was creative and had a love for dogs, especially the stray dog she picked up off the street named Buddy. Her mother, Catherine, pulled her from school when she was little because she was being bullied and they moved to London. On the way to London, her mother stops at a party that was hosted by Baroness von Hellman where her mother gave Estella her necklace and told her to wait in the car. Buddy escaped the car and Estella went to chase after him where they ran into the Baroness’ Dalmatians. Estella ran outside and saw her mother speaking with the Baroness when the Dalmatians ran Catherine off a cliff leading to her death. Estella grabs Buddy, forgetting her necklace, and takes off into the city meeting two orphaned boys who become her friends.

Years had passed and she was given a gift for her birthday from her two friends, Jasper and Horace, for an entry-level position as a janitor at the Liberty fashion store run by the world-famous Baroness. Her manager ignored her even after she pleaded for him to take a chance on her. When staying late one night, Estella “fixes” the window display which was later seen by the Baroness the next morning. The Baroness liked the window display asking Estella to join her elite team. Estella worked very hard and was now the supervisor for the Baroness when she noticed the necklace that she was wearing around her neck.

The necklace that the Baroness was wearing was the one that her mother gave her the night of her mother’s death. In an attempt to steal the necklace back, Estella turns into Cruella crashing the Baroness’ party while her two friends try to steal the necklace. Once Estella makes her appearance, she realizes the Baroness is wearing the necklace that her friends are trying to steal. The Baroness uses a dog whistle to command her Dalmatians when Estella realizes that is the same whistle that she used to direct her dogs to kill her mother. Later, Cruella taunts the Baroness by attracting the public by showing off her outfits at her parties. Estella then kidnaps her three Dalmatians until the Baroness gives her the necklace back. 

The film takes a dark turn when the Baroness discovers that Cruella was Estella. The Baroness goes to her house and ties Estella up while she begins to set her house on fire and blames her two friends for her death. Jasper and Horace are then arrested for the murder of Estella and put in jail. Estella was rescued by John, the Baroness’ valet, who had received the necklace which is a key to a box containing her birth records. Shockingly, John explains to Estella that the Baroness is her real mother. After coming up with a plan to defeat the Baroness, Estella breaks her two friends out of jail. They send invitations out to each guest attending an upcoming party to trick them into wearing Cruella wigs so when Estella shows up at the party, no one will know it is her. At the party John, Jasper and Horace have everyone go outside where they witness the Baroness pushing Estella over the cliff. Police arrive and the Baroness is then arrested. Cruella uses a parachute and adopts her full name of Cruella De Vil, becoming a villain.

Cruella appeals to a much older audience compared to the original animated movie, 101 Dalmatians.  Even though some may think this film is for children, it contains some frightening dark scenes. It captures the attention of many older children and adults which can be seen as a family film with a dark twist.



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