Delightful story with puppies that will steal your heart
Simon Davis | 05/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was a stroke of genius for the legendary Disney Studio to decide to remake their classic 1961 animated feature "101 Dalmatians", as a live action feature. Never a great fan of remakes, I feel this story is a natural for a live action version and on first viewing it totally won me over. It has so much to offer viewers of all ages, whether it be its 99 gorgeous Dalmatian puppies that would melt the heart of any dog lover, a top class production with terrific sets, locations and stunts or a wonderfully wicked villianess in the incomparable Cruella De Vil played to perfection by gifted actress Glenn Close.The film follows closely the original story and tells the tale of London couple Roger and Anita who meet through a Dalmatian dog mixup in a London Park and fall in love, marry and find themselves the happy "parents" of 15 beautiful Dalmatian puppies when their Dalmatians Pongo and Perdita begin a family of their own. Their happiness is short lived however when Anita's boss the dastardly Cruella De Vil spots the puppies and immediately makes plans to have the puppies kidnapped so that she can turn their pelts into the extravagant spotted fur coat she has always dreamed of having. What ensures is a comical tale full of laughs, great stunts and hilarious situations of the "boo the villian, cheer the dogs" variety. The Dalmatian parents, with the aid of many assorted members of the animal kingdom from woodpeckers, squirrels, and assorted sheep pigs, and dogs not only succeed in tracking down the missing puppies in their hideout but also outwit Cruella and her incompetent accomplices at every turn. The animals revenge on Cruella and her accomplices makes for most of the humour as they find themselves being dumped through falling roofs, landing in tubs of gooey molasses and being smelled out by skunks!No expense was spared on this production and indeed all the live action characters bare an amazing resemblance to their cartoon counterparts. Gleen Close towers over the whole production in her performance as Disney Studios most famous villianess the totally over the top Cruella De Vil. Her makeup, hair styles and clothing is everything you would imagine Cruella to be. It is to the credit of Glenn Close that she succeeds totally in bringing to life such a well known and "loved" cartoon villianess. A supremely talented actress as seen in such diverse roles as those in "Fatal Attraction", "Dangerous Liaisons", "Meeting Venus", and "Paradise Road" among others, she is a total riot as the bizzare fashion designer with an extreme fur fetish. It is she who makes "101 Dalmatians" such memorable viewing and her encounters with the animals in the second half of the film will have you laughing for ages. The sight of Cruella rising out of the tub of molasses where she has been unceremoniously dumped by the animal brigade will bring fits of laughter to the viewer. The film also boasts the great talents of Jeff Daniels and the lovely Joely Richardson as Roger and Anita the loving couple drawn to each other by their fondness for Dalmatians, and the gifted Joan Plowright as Anita's former Nanny who finds herself performing the role again but this time for the 15 puppies in the house. Much of the comedy stems from the great playing by Hugh Laurie and Mark Williams as the wacky Jasper and Horace employed by Cruella who's job it is to steal the puppies for Cruella. They receive the main brunt of the animals "revenge" to great comic effect as does John Shrapnel in the role of the sinister scarred Skinner who is employed to turn the puppies coats into Cruella's new coat. The animal stunts performed in this film will have you gasping as the animals seem top take on human personalities of their own to brilliant effect. The location photography around London and in the snow scenes at Cruella's hideaway also create a very pleasing look to the film.I never fail to watch "101 Dalmatians" without finding a smile appearing on my face. It is a totally delightful film that is just as much for adults as it is children which is a real credit to the Disney Studios. Glenn Close really makes the film a viewing experience with her over the top playing here but if you are in anyway a dog lover you can't help but be totally captivated by these delightful 101 spotted creatures charming the audience in "101 Dalmatians". Enjoy!"
Glenn Close steals the show
Dave | San Diego, CA | 09/11/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Disney remade their classic animated film of the same name 35 years after the original, as a live-action movie in 1996. The tale is familiar to most: two Dalmatians, Pongo & Perdy, bring their owners together. Roger (Jeff Daniels) and Anita (Joely Richardson) fall in love almost at first site when they meet in the park. They get married and their Dalmatians have puppies. Sounds like a lovely romantic tale, right? It would be if it weren't for Anita's boss, the evil Cruella de Vil (Glenn Close). Cruella is a fashionista who loves fur...and her latest desire is to own a coat made of Dalmatian fur. When she learns that Anita's dog has had a litter of 15, she sets her sites on them to make her desire come true. Anita & Roger turn down her offer, so she sends her bumbling minions Jasper & Horace (Hugh Laurie & Mark Williams respectively) to steal them for her.
Does it equal the original? No, not really...but this is not a surprise. How could you top Marc Davis' animation of Cruella, one of the most memorable characters in animation history? Still, you have to give Glenn Close much credit for making Cruella her own...remove her and you have little reason to watch this film. With her fright wig and amazingly over the top costumes, Close truly comes close...she is an evil delight to watch as she barks orders (pun intended) and does everything in her power to make the fur coat a reality. Laurie (now starring in the hit series "House") and Williams are excellent as her bumbling henchman. The animals are also lots of fun to watch, as they often show that they are much smarter than their human counterparts.
Note to parents: this movie is somewhat darker than the animated versions, with a few creepy scenes with the taxidermist. Nothing major, but still parents might want to be careful as Glenn Close's characterization is more frightening and nightmare inducing than her animated namesake.
Sadly and surprisingly, there are no extras on this DVD other than a theatrical trailer. The widescreen (2:35:1) picture is excellent (enhanced for 16x9 TVs), and there is a wonderful Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround mix.
Overall, an enjoyable film that is bumped up a few notches thanks to Glenn Close's performance."
Finally, here comes a long overdue release from Disney's Vau
S. Cirronella | NY | 06/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"this is a great live-action take on the original classic starring two-time Golden Globe winning actress, Glenn Close. This DVD has been out of print for several years now, and is long overdue for a new release. Currently the cheapest that you can buy the only other dvd version of this film, is at $55 dollars, which is used in an "acceptable" condition. I really would like to update my disney collection, and I am very happy that they are releasing this DVD. Although, I do prefer the animated version, I do like the acting performance of Glenn Close's greatly convincing role as Cruella Devil and Joan Plowright's perfect fitting role as the Nanny. Any Disney collector would definitely be excited that this classic, which actually generated $320,689,294 in theatre sales, when it was released in 1996, is being brought back out of the disney vault for the first time in 9 years!!!!!"
Arnita D. Brown | USA | 01/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fashion designer Anita and computer-game writer Roger meet, fall in love and marry along with their dalmatians Perdita and Pongo. But the proud dogs' puppies are kidnapped by Anita's boss Cruella De Vil, who is stealing young dalmatians to make the coat she has set her heart on. Enlisting the help of the British animal kingdom, Pongo and Perdita set out to find and rescue all ninety-nine pups from their fearsome captors, Jasper and Horace. "101 Dalmatians" is perfectly good clean children entertainment. It's has a fun feeling and atmosphere and some great characters. Glenn Close is perfectly cast as über-villain Cruella De Vil and portrays a highly memorable character. She truly is the highlight of the movie and steals the show. If you liked the cartoon as a kid, you'll love this version as well. Sit down with your family and enjoy this movie.