Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Review: Disney's 101 Dalmatians (1961)

101 Dalmatians - Fifteen new born dalmatian puppies are abducted by two robbers who work for the devilish Cruella De Vil, With the owners hopeless to do anything, the parents must find their young before she has them killed and uses them for a diabolical fashion statement.

Cruella De Vil, one of my favourite fictional characters, she just defines and indeed differentiates the classic evil villainess and is famous for her dastardly scheme to full fill her ambitions of making a new Dalmatian coat. 

In this classic Disney puppy tale is rated PG is lighthearted and comedic in some respects but in others may contain a few disturbing scenes featuring one the studio's vilest villains, Cruella de Vil. As the song goes, "if she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will." For an animated motion picture, there's a considerable amount of smoking and drinking which quite possibly cross the minds of younger viewers but may concern parents, for instance : Roger smokes a pipe; Cruella is always shown with her long-stemmed cigarettes; and her two henchman drink wine straight out of the bottle. Things like may seem a bit heavy for a disney film, yet are so conviently sneaked in and blend into the story well, adding development and depth to the characters, and is just something swept under the carpet for the sake of character development being all the more important.

Some of the dialogue in this, is limited to several insults such as for instance "idiot," "imbecile," "fools," mostly said in frustration by Cruella. However on the lighter side, the dog parents and their human 'pets' as they are referred to as roles reversed in the film, for obvious reasons are relentless in their overall ambition to save all of the pups, and not just their own. Because as it's later revealed there are 101 Dalmatians all together, hence the title.

I'll go into a little detail about the story, just for the sake of interest to people who haven't seen it, but want to. Very much like 'Lady & The Tramp', 101 Dalmations is told from the perspective of dogs, this time two dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita, Mainly Pongo to start off with, just to get the story going.

The cherished owners or 'pets' as they are called are Roger and Anita, who are brought together by some sheer coincidence in a park, walking their dogs. They get married and move into an apartment together, and one day Anita's old friend from school, one of Disney's and one of the most notorious villains in film history, the aptly named Cruella De Vil learns that Pongo and Perdita are to have puppies. After she is refused to have them, Cruella plans to just take them. Have them kidnapped, or dognapped. So she hires two bumbling henchmen 'Horris and Jasper'  to steal Perdita's puppies and collaborate them with 84 others so she can make them into a dalmatian fur coat. Pongo and Perdita, with a little help of their animal friends, undertake a daring rescue to save the pups from a terrible fate.

Here's a clip from the film.

In terms of talking about quality, Disney have done it again. In creating a memorable, well loved classic which families alike can enjoy and thrive in the adventure of it. This unlike the fairy tale stories which are all fine and proper, films like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are sensational but this is just a situation where you've got a proper peril and how do you avoid it? In a dramatic, drastic rescue mission. 

All of the puppies are adorable, really well hand drawn / animated and realistic. They make the film exciting, comedic, and fun to watch. It is about them after all. What's good about the puppies is they all have personality. Rolle for instance likes to eat a lot, Patch has got a spot and so on. By adding this depth of development, It sort of creates a hold on the audience and you feel for them more when all these horrible things start happening.
Cruella is one of the most memorable female villains in the history of films!; and for good reasons. She's loud and mean, and she is willing to wear a coat made of 101 puppies, whatever the cost and however worse! She's actually one of few disney villains who doesn't die but gets what's coming to her. Which is the more rewarding result, you can't kill off a character as good as that! 9/10.

NEXT : Disney's Hercules!

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