Please, let’s leave the Hot Topic jokes at the door: Earnest ’00s mall punks don’t deserve to be implicated in the mess that is the first trailer for Cruella, starring Emma Stone. The wildly unnecessary origin story about the puppy-hating villain from 101 Dalmations is set in 1970s London, though you would never guess it from the costumes—which is a bit weird since apparently Cruella’s whole thing is that she’s so fashionable. She’s also, according to the tagline, “Brilliant. Bad. And a little bit mad.”
Well, one of those terms is applicable.
Here’s the plot, such as it is:
Cruella, which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by two-time Oscar® winner Emma Thompson (Howards End, Sense & Sensibility). But 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.
Leaving aside the odd choice to namecheck Thompson’s highbrow period pieces and not, say, Nanny McPhee, or even Love Actually: I’m insulted on behalf of anyone who was actually punk that Disney’s idea of an origin story for a puppy killer is basically “Huh, we dunno, let’s make her ‘punk,’ they’re aggressive and mean, right?” Every Warped Tour band you’ve ever sneered at for being fake punks is 400 times more punk than this movie.
Cruella’s Hunger Games dress is a nice touch. Someone gets credit for that. But if Cruella de Vil’s origin story is “Dogs growled at me and a rich person was rude” then we all deserve origin story movies of our own. Better ones than this.
Cruella will inflict herself upon us on May 28, 2021.