Wednesday saw the release of the first trailer for Cruella. The new movie is the latest in Disney's habit of turning its animated classics into live-action features. However, unlike the most successful films in the franchise, Cruella won't be a faithful retelling of 101 Dalmatians. Instead we're getting an origin story for the film's villain, Cruella De Vil. Emma Stone looks absolutely perfect in the role, which looks to be something of a rags to riches story where our protagonist has a thing for skinning animals. The trailer only hints at what the actual story of Cruella will be, but dognapping does not appear to be on the menu.
From all outward appearances the new movie won't have anything specifically to do with the events of 101 Dalmatians, but that's not to say that there weren't a few important references and characters that appeared in the trailer that will be familiar to those who know the 1961 movie well. And if you're not one of those people, here are the moments you missed.
The first item on the list is Hell Hall. This old manor house is also referred to as "the old De Vil place" in 101 Dalmatians. It's Cruella's home in the film, though it appears she doesn't actually live there. It's the place where the puppies are kept in the Disney original while she waits for them to get big enough to skin. Cruella doesn't look like the sort of person to have a manor house of her own, at least at the beginning of this trailer, but this moment could happen later in the movie. It's also possible that the house actually belongs to somebody else, like Baroness von Hellman, played by Emma Thompson in the movie, and only becomes "the old De Vil" place at the end. Of course, The reason Cruella doesn't live there in 101 Dalmatians is something we'll come to later in this list.
Jasper and Horace
Every good psychotic villain needs some minions, and in 101 Dalmatians we're introduced to Cruella's little sidekicks in a pair of goons named Jasper and Horace. These are the pair that actually do the kidnapping and holding of the stolen puppies so that Cruella doesn't need to get her hands dirty personally. While it seemed in the animated film that these two were just a pair of hired thugs, Cruella will seemingly reveal that's actually not the case. Jasper and Horace have been working with Cruella de Vil since her very earliest days as a grifter. And according to the plot synopsis, it seems that the three of them actually started out as equal partners, which makes the character dynamics much more interesting. In the trailer we see the two of them pretending to be pest control men. In the animated movie they claim to work for the electric company. They'll be played in Cruella by Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry.
Ok, so nobody gets any points for recognizing the fact that there are dalmatians in the Cruella movie. It's a brief look at a party where three angry dogs are in attendance. The party appears to be a formal black and white affair. Literally everybody in attendance and every decoration we see is in those two colors alone, which makes the fact that Cruella shows up in red interesting, and clearly meant to be provocative. It will be interesting to see if these dogs actually play into the story, or if they're just there as a way to reference 101 Dalmatians. They could just be set pieces for the party because they are also black and white. Maybe this is where Cruella decides these dogs would be better as coats.
With origin stories you often get details that you never really needed about various minor characters or objects. It looks like Cruella will not be immune to this idea, as the movie will actually give us the origin story of her car. The car that Cruella De Vil apparently hotwires and steals is of a model remarkably similar to what she's driving in 101 Dalmatians, so it's possible this is exactly the same car. Is this important? Probably not. And maybe it's not the same car, but rather an indication of why she likes that model. Either way, it's the sort of thing only the serious fans are even going to notice. Which is nice in as much as it won't take away from the enjoyment of those that don't get the reference
The Destruction of Hell Hall
At the beginning I mentioned that Hell Hall, while being associated with Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmatians, isn't where she lives. The place has been deserted for years according to the film, and it's not hard to see why. The building has seen better days. It's in significant disrepair. There're are holes in the walls and the building looks like it might collapse at any moment. In the Cruella trailer we may see exactly why this is the case. The end of the trailer shows us what appears to be Hell Hall on fire. This certainly would have left the building in the state we see it in for the animated film. What led to the blaze, and who specifically caused it (perhaps intentionally?) is the much bigger question.
For the most part it appears that Cruella won't deal directly with the events of 101 Dalmatians, Two of the main characters in that film, the dog Pongo, and his "pet" Roger, wouldn't enter the story this early. However, there is another character we might met that the trailer does not reveal to us, Anita, the owner of puppy mother Perdita, is described in the film as an old school friend of Cruella, and some sources are reporting that actress Emily Beecham will be playing that role. Though even if that's the case, it's unclear how significant that role will be.
There will almost certainly be more easter eggs and references for fans to find in Cruella, even if this film doesn't end exactly where 101 Dalmatians begins. We'll get to see more when Cruella arrives this May.
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