102 Dalmatians


Directed by: Kevin Lima
Written by:Kristen Buckley, Brian Regan, Bob Tzudiker, Noni White
Starring: Glenn Close, Gerard Depardieu, Ioan Gruffudd, Alice Evans, Tim McInnerny
Released: December 26, 2000
Grade: B-

Yay!  It’s time for another Disney rehash.  Cruella De Vil (Close) has been rehabilitated and released from the penitentiary.  She no longer poses a threat to dogs around the world and in fact has developed a love for them.  Chloe (Evans), her parole officer, is far from convinced and with several dalmatians of her own, is being cautious.

Soon after her release, Cruella helps develop a business known as “2nd Chance” with two other dog lovers.  It’s a place where dogs that have been rejected can stay before new owners are found.  Soon, Cruella on TV and magazine covers with tales of her remarkable transformation.

Of course that wouldn’t make much of movie?  Cruella’s evil side resurfaces and with the assistance of fashion designer Le Pelt (Depardieu), she plots to create a lavish coat made entirely out of dalmatian puppy fur.  Only this time, she’s added a hood to the garment and an extra dalmatian, making the total head count 102.

As with the original 101 Dalmatians, the star of the film is not Glenn Close but rather the adorable dogs that leave audience members giggling.  Throw in a bird that thinks it’s a dog (voiced by Eric Idle) and you’ve got everyone suckered.  All we needed was a baby and the audience stood no chance.

Following tradition of recent sequels, it’s the script that disappoints 102 Dalmatians and most of the original cast did not return as a result.  Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, Joan Plowright and Hugh Laurie all did not reappear.  The significant addition to the cast comes in the form of Gerard Depardieu but I cannot understand why he agreed to co-star.

The film has its moments with elaborately crafted action sequences combined with creative costuming and set decoration.  Kids will be kept amused but adults may find themselves a little weary.  With the other strong list of Christmas releases (including The Grinch and Chicken Run), 102 Dalmatians may struggle to find an audience.  You need more than just cute dogs to maintain the attention of this viewer.