Walt Disney’s ‘Cruella’ Trailer Breakdown

1961 animated 101 Dalmatians.

Walt Disney released its official trailer for Cruella on February 17th. It’s a much anticipated movie based on the villain of a Disney classic, The 101 Dalmatians.
The opening shot establishes the location as Britain. A Voice Over makes a case for the protagonist’s eccentricity as we move through England with a panning overhead shot. A quick series of shots introduce prominent characters that are left unnamed. The shots continue: a bottle of alcohol in the protagonist’s hand; a vehicle with the word “Devil” inscribed on its front; a wide shot of the protagonist turned away from us; and finally, the monologue climaxes with a sentence: “I guess they were always scared…that I’d be; a psycho.”

A bizarre Walt Disney logo displays. The traditional blue is now black and white and the words themselves are written in red. This choice of colour continues the dark, anxious tone the trailer has maintained from start.

Emma Stone as the titular Cruella. Via Disney.

The tone changes to a soothing track playing in the background. The monologue continues. The protagonist attends an aristocrat party. She wears a drab, white, hooded apparel but two Dalmatians recognize her and growl at her. This is a pointer to the Disney classic, “101 Dalmatians”. The protagonist’s entrance draws all attention to her just as she lights herself afire to reveal a glowing red dress underneath the white overall. Again, the monologue crescendoes to a sentence: “I am woman, hear me roar.”

Then the trailer picks up again with a series of action sequences: the protagonist driving a speeding car, an opened safe unleashes a pestilence of insects, a burning castle, the protagonist riding a speeding motorbike, and finally, a medium shot of the protagonist looking on at her handiwork on the burning castle, and the monologue climaxes yet again: “I am Cruella”.

The release date, 5.28.21, is displayed in blood red.

Emma Stone as Cruella in Disney’s live-action CRUELLA. Photo by Laurie Sparham. © 2021 Disney Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserve

For those who know little about Cruella, the trailer might hold no excitement at all because it is a drab affair shortened by its insistence on giving nothing of the plot away. But for Disney fans, there will be something, although not much, to look forward to from the trailer. Emma Stone looks prepared for a stunning performance, but it is the plot and this shy secrecy of it by the trailer that will leave us wary.

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