Cruella: Badass but Botched

Cruella, Disney’s newest movie, got rough press.  While some complaints neglect to give the fashion extravaganza the credibility that it deserves, the script is kind of “a mess”, as Seitz notes. Lawsen’s complaints about the “confusing” character of Estella has merit.  Even Kirby, who enjoyed the film as I did, offhandedly refers to the film’s “unwieldy and jumbled plot”.

Throughout much of the movie, the storyline engages and even inspires, and then, some serious problems occures when it changes its targeted audience.

The writers begin with a rags-to-riches story that appeals to a general, lower to middle-class audience. The writers reach out to the average-joe viewer when they case Estella and her ragtag team into poverty and as the characters struggle to survive the city streets. When the fashion-genius in town, the Baroness, spots Cruella’s talent, the audience enjoys seeing the possibility for advancement on the wide screen.

Then, at the height of the film’s fashion extravaganza, the writers alienate the very audience that they were satisfying.

In the last segment, the film reveals that the Baroness is Estella’s biological mother, and here the lower and middle-class audiences are let down. The notion that the only fashion geniuses in town have aristocratic-born genetically inherited traits excludes them. While attributing Cruella’s high talent to the Baroness’ royal-bloodline, the writers exclude the lower and middle class audience and appeal only to the upper class viewer.

The Business Insider article on the rich people’s delusions might explain this botched plot to some extent. My instincts lead me to believe that a privileged Hollywood executive must have been responsible for the shift. I can imagine the man, sticking his neck into the writer’s room and pushing this crazy notion of genetic superiority on a reluctant and hesitant writing staff. To that misguided individual, I’d like to mention that geniuses like EinsteinShakespeare, and Michelangelo all had middle class upbringings. 

Filled with visual candy, Cruella gets a B for Badass & Beautiful but Botched. Originality: 4.5/5, Engagement: 4/5, Clarity: 3.5/5, Production 5/5 = 17/20

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