'Cruella': First reactions praise 'wickedly fun' Disney movie with Emma Stone

·Contributor
·3-min read

Watch: Trailer for Cruella, starring Emma Stone

The first verdicts are in for Disney's latest live-action adaptation of an animated story, with critics lavishing praise on Cruella.

Emma Stone leads the origin story for Cruella de Vil, who was of course the dog-murdering baddie at the heart of the 1961 animated classic One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

She was voiced by Betty Lou Gerson in that movie and later embodied in live-action by Glenn Close in a 1996 version of the story.

Read more: Everything new on Disney+ in May 2021

In the director's chair this time around is Craig Gillespie, who previously played with the idea of "villainy" in his blackly comic ice skating biopic I, Tonya.

With Cruella's debut in cinemas and on Disney+ imminent, the first critics have now seen the movie and the feeling is primarily a positive one, with the film dubbed "wickedly fun" and "easily the best of the live-action Disney reboots".

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Stone's take on the character starts the movie as aspiring fashion designer Estella, with the story exploring the journey which brings her to the titular moniker.

Gillespie's film is set during the 1970s in London, with the punk rock movement in full swing and influencing the movie's style.

Read more: Emma Stone injured shoulder before Cruella shoot

Emma Thompson is a part of the cast as Estella's rival and fashion house boss Baroness von Hellman, while Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry play sibling thieves Horace and Jasper.

Mark Strong, Emily Beecham and Jamie Demetriou are also among the ensemble.

Emma Stone portrays Disney villain Cruella de Vil in the live-action origin movie 'Cruella'. (Laurie Sparham/Disney)
Emma Stone portrays Disney villain Cruella de Vil in the live-action origin movie 'Cruella'. (Laurie Sparham/Disney)

Cruella was originally scheduled to be released in December 2020, but was delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, along with much of Disney's movie slate.

Disney has continued to have success with live-action reboots of its animated classic, with The Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast all crossing the milestone of $1bn (£709m) at the worldwide box office.

Read more: Disney confirms release dates until 2028

Next up is a live-action version of The Little Mermaid, directed by Rob Marshall, with Halle Bailey as Ariel and Melissa McCarthy as sea-witch Ursula.

Cruella is due to be released in UK cinemas and via Disney+ — with an extra charge for Premier Access — from 28 May.

Watch: Emma Stone transforms into Cruella in featurette