Sunday, July 14, 2013

101 Dalmatians- 1996 Version

101 Dalmatians the 1996 version

Having recently watched the cartoon version and “live action” version of 101 Dalmatians, made me want to do a review on the movie itself as well as the actors & actresses within it.   To give a bit of background knowledge in case you have not seen it before the “live action” version came out in 1996.  101 Dalmatians is about 2 people Roger & Anita who both have Dalmatians Pongo & Perdita (name changed to Perdy for the “live action” version) who have 15 puppies.   Anita works for a horrid woman named Cruella DeVil.  Cruella has an insane fascination for furs and wants to make a fur coat out of Dalmatian puppy skin.  She tries to buy the puppies but Roger & Anita refuse to sell to her which causes Cruella’s henchmen Horace & Jasper to steal the puppies.  Altogether there are 99 puppies that are stolen waiting to be skinned and turned into a fur coat.  This results in dogs and a few other barnyard animals bonding together to attempt a puppy rescue.
I have to take a moment to say that this could possibly be one of the most brutal animal villains in Disney’s history.  I can’t think of any other movies that want to turn animals into coats, especially not puppies.  You can tell that in the 60s this was more of an acceptable villain than today.  There would be an uproar if that was to be created today as I can see parents saying how it would affect their children to think of dead puppies….  Not that I fully disagree, but we can’t shelter them from everything.  However, that is a whole other topic for another day.
For the live action version there was a pretty great cast.  Glenn Close was cast as Cruella DeVil and she owned that role.  She did such an excellent version that it was almost seamless from the 1961 cartoon version.  Her henchmen were played by Hugh Laurie & Mark Williams.  Mark Williams looks as if the cartoon version was created in his image and Hugh Laurie does a wonderful job in his role as well.  Anita is played by Joely Richardson and she also does quite well in her role.  Now we come to Roger who is played by Jeff Daniels.  Now as much as I think he can be a great actor I think that he drags the movie down in his role.  He is somewhat slap-stick funny in the beginning but than his character feels mostly empty for the rest of the movie as if he is trying to force the role instead of actually BE the role. 
As I was doing more research into the “live-action” version of the film I ended up doing quite a bit of comparing with the stars of the film and what they have done since.    I found it very interesting how many of the characters ended up being huge TV show stars.

Glenn Close with The Shield, The Simpsons & Damages.  Hugh Laurie with Fortysomething, Stuart Little & House.  Joely Richardson with Nip/Tuck & The Tudors.  Mark Williams with The Fast Show, Grass, Carrie & Barry, The Indian Doctor, Father Brown & Blandings (He sticks to mostly British filming).  Jeff Daniels in the Newsroom.
 It is always interesting to watch an old movie and see how big some of the stars’ careers took off.  I definitely recommend watch the “live action” 1996 version on 101 Dalmatians if you haven’t had the chance to see it.  The animals did the best job of all in my opinion, it is always great to see a lot of highly trained animals fulfilling their roles and interacting with other animals. 

The above video is taken from YouTube and is not created by me, it is used for entertainment purposes only.  Please enjoy

*There was also a 102 Dalmatians movie made with a return by Glenn Close.  I have yet to see this movie and hesitate especially due to the majority of rushed production of Disney sequels.  

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