Highlights: I may be a cat person rather than a dog person, but those little dalmatian puppies are so cute! I love that so many of them have their own personalities. Lucky is adorable: “my nose is froze. My toes are froze.” And Rolly is constantly hungry. It’s a cute, fun film with a good villain.
Low Points: But for all of the good points of the film, it’s just not all that memorable. It’s cute, and it’s fun, but it doesn’t have the power of some of the other films and doesn’t really teach a lesson or grapple with any important questions. Not that every Disney movie has to do that, but I’ve found that many of the ones I like have more interesting challenges – and still have happy endings. But 101 Dalmatians does what it does quite well, so that’s a good thing. I do think it would have benefited greatly from a few more songs, though.
Music: This film has one really memorable, fantastic song, “Cruella DeVil.” I think that probably everyone knows this song. However, there really aren’t any other songs in the movie. There’s a small piece of some little cutesy song at the end called “Dalmatian Plantation,” but other than that the characters don’t sing. It’s surprising since Roger is a songwriter, and Disney has music in so many of their movies. So the movie gets points for one fantastic song, but lacks anything else.
Villain Rating: Cruella DeVil is deliciously evil – it’s right in her name! She’s not just greedy and cruel, but she’s cruel to harmless, adorable animals who haven’t done anything wrong. She’s also clearly crazy, stating that she “lives for furs” and will go to such insane lengths for a coat. Plus, the idea of hiring someone to sneak into her supposed “friend’s” house and steal their dogs is just appalling. While every human in the movie is fairly realistic looking, Cruella is pretty grotesque. And that signature fur coat. Pretty high up there on the list of villains due to her horrid actions and her memorable appearance and personality. And it’s a shame she doesn’t really get what she deserves – no death for this villain, unfortunately.
Fun Fact: The movie is based on a book by the same title by Dodie Smith, who was a big fan of Disney and was thrilled that it was being made into a movie. She even felt that the changes they made to the story and the illustrations were better than what she originally wrote.
Where in the World: The only trace of 101 Dalmatians that I can find in WDW is at one of the hotels, the All-Star Movies Resort. Each section of that hotel is themed with a different Disney movie, and one section has a Dalmatians theme. Other than that, there are no rides/attractions/restaurants that I know of which have any connection to this movie. However, on certain occasions when the villains can be found, Cruella is out and about for meet and greets!
My rating: 7.5 out of 10. It’s cute and enjoyable if not my favorite, and it has a great villain. But… I probably would have liked it better with more cats 😉
Cruella and the puppies are memorable but the human heroes of the movie aren’t. I had to look up their names — Roger and Anita. They seemed very one dimensional from what I remember.
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Very true, though I will say that I think that might be done intentionally. They wanted the focus to be on the dogs, not the humans. They refer in the film to the dogs being the “owners” of the humans (probably too true!), and I was reading that they cast deeper voices for the dogs than the humans so that more emphasis was placed on the dogs as the main characters.