Disney has created many live-action remakes over the last few years, some of which earned audience approval, such as Maleficent and Aladdin, and others which did not perform as well, such as Dumbo and Disney’s latest remake, Mulan. After finding success in telling the villain origin story of Maleficent, which grossed $758.5 million worldwide in 2014, with the follow up of the second film, Disney has opened the possibilities of further villain origin stories with the classic Cruella De Vil in the new trailer for Cruella.
The brief introduction of her character in the 90-second trailer shows that Oscar winner, Emma Stone gives Cruella’s character a fresh and bold reimagining of the villain who first appeared in the 1961 animated One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and later in the 1966 remake featuring Glenn Close. Set in 1970s London, young Cruella, an aspiring fashion designer, is trying to get society’s most notorious and wealthiest to take notice of her designs, and finds herself obsessed with dog skins, in particular dalmatians. Disney stated in a news release that Cruella meets Baroness Von Hellman (Emma Thompson), and ‘…their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.” Both Disney and the trailer hints at an interesting insight into her villain origin story.
The tone and the style of the story seem to be reminding people of Todd Phillips’ Joker, who brought a reinterpretation of another notorious character in 2019. Both trailers followed the main characters origin story before everything went wrong, with a voice-over introducing a deeper understanding of their back story. Both stories attempt to bring new insight into the characters to humanise them and explore their backstories to give reasons as to why they act the way that they do. However it seems that there are many critiques and negative responses in regards to this trailer; some suggest that humanising a villain like Cruella is not something we should be doing, yet the Joker was extensively praised for exploring Arthur Fleck’s descent into madness and murder, painted by the film as a hero of sorts. Not surprisingly, some of the reactions to the trailer can be argued to be rooted in misogynistic ideals.Will this be a story featuring hints of redemption for the notorious character, as explored in Maleficent, or will it explain her actions and keep her as a dangerous villain? Cruella has been labelled as the ‘female Joker’, but viewers will have to wait until the release of the film to see whether there are similarities between Cruella and the Joker.
Image Credit: Indie Wire