This 1996 live-action remake of Disney’s 1961 animated classic, itself based on Dodie Smith’s novel, follows the sources’ basics. As the story goes, Roger (Jeff Daniels), a video game designer (a songwriter in the original), and Anita (Joely Richardson) meet, marry, and (their dogs) have puppies—fifteen of them.
Enter Cruella de Vil (Glenn Close, in a Golden Globe-nominated role), the skunk-haired fashionista with a fetish for Dalmatian fur. Cruella’s one of the easiest Disney rogues for kids (born animal lovers) to loathe. I despise her for a separate reason: her choice of sidekicks, who seem to have come straight from Kevin McCallister’s neighborhood (note that both Home Alone and 101 Dalmatians were penned by John Hughes).
And that’s it. For 102 minutes, Cruella de Vil lives up to her name, the burglars bumble, and the dogs are dogs. Some kids are bound to find the antics absolutely out-of-the-chair hysterical. Good for them, I guess, but why waste their afternoon with this sloppy remake they never knew existed, when the original is still on shelves (in a newly-released ‘Platinum Edition’) waiting to be discovered by their generation?