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102 Dalmatians
DVD disk
10.15.2008 By: Sturdy
102 Dalmatians order
Director:
Kevin Lima

Actors:
Glenn Close
Gerard Depardieu
Ioan Gruffudd

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Cruella De vil is out on parole, but this time she’s been “cured” by a doctor and now she loves animals…or does she? It doesn’t take long for Cruella to revert back to her evil ways and hatch another plan to turn the cute Dalmatians into a line of clothing.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Sometimes the problem with films that feature animals, especially dogs, is that they tend to rely too heavily on our four-legged friend to carry the film. So things like a plot, direction and quality acting from humans is sacrificed while the attention is focused on a dog being cute. Disney has made billions off this notion over the years and they throw another one our way with 102 DALMATIONS.

To put it in perspective, I have a Golden Retriever that likes to watch TV. He loves anything with animals in it and when it’s dogs on the big screen, he won’t even blink. It’s become a family joke that when we watch a movie with a dog, we have to give him a seat on the couch. However, even he lost interest in 102 DALMATIONS. He was attentive during the opening credits and through the first 15 minutes, but as soon as the “actors” started taking over, he decided he’d rather lick himself and take a nap. Frankly, I was jealous of him since I had to finish the movie.

It’s a kids’ movie, so I wasn’t expecting an intricate, detailed plot. In fact, the plot we had was fine for what we were doing. We just needed a reason to get Cruella after the cute dogs, which we got right away. My biggest problem was with the human actors. They were horrible, even Glenn Close. She was fine in the first one, but here she was just cashing in her paycheck. Also, with such adorable dogs running around, we didn’t get to see enough of them. Kids (and me) want to see dogs running around on screen, not an aging Glen Close act like a five year old. The opportunity was there, the filmmakers just didn’t take it.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with Kevin Lima, Gary Gero, David Sousa and Julie Tottman: I’ve never heard a commentary from animal trainers before and as it turns out, they gave a pretty good commentary. It was interesting to hear about their challenges working with dogs, especially puppies. I wasn’t a fan of the film, but I really liked this commentary and it’s worth a listen.

Creating Cruella (4:38): This was a waste of time and featured nothing more than the cast and crew talking about how mean Cruella is.

Deleted Scene (:55): This is called a “deleted” scene, but it’s actually an alternate scene of Cruella’s release. I actually had to go back to the original scene to find a difference, so needless to say, it wasn’t very different.

Animal Actors (7:01): This was a cute featurette that had interviews with cast members and showed some footage of the animals being trained for the film. It didn’t have a whole lot of information, but the visual footage made it worthwhile.

Designing Dalmatians (5:56): This one is all about the sets for the movie, which were actually pretty intricate for a sequel. The featurette had sketches and then shots of the sets, which was nice to see. It’s a decent featurette, but not heavy on information.

Puppy Overload (1:09): A montage of different animal scenes set to music. Completely unnecessary, but good for the kids.

Dalmatians 101 (1:48): Kudos to Disney for including this on the DVD. I’m sure there were a lot of ignorant people that went out and bought a Dalmatian after seeing this or the original. This talks about the breed and what you can expect if you rush out and buy one without thinking or researching the breed. Basically, if you run out and buy a dog because you saw a movie, I doubt you’re going to be intelligent enough to do research anyway, but I’m glad Disney is trying.

Visual Effects 102 This is a little feature that has four different scenes that you can select and go through and see some before and after shots of the visual effects. This was a nice featurette that was set up very well. I like seeing the scenes as they go through different stages.

There are also some Previews
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Maybe little kids will like this, I don’t know. I didn’t think it played up the dogs enough and instead put too much emphasis on the human actors. The performances were really bad and overall this felt like a b-movie. I’d leave this one alone.
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