"101 Dalmatians" (1996) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #109 Gem Mint 10.0

“101 Dalmatians“ (1996)

Director: Stephen Herek

Writer: John Hughes, Dodie Smith (Novel)

Starring: Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, Joan Plowright, Hugh Laurie, Mark Williams, John Shrapnel, TimMcInnerny, Hugh Fraser

Rated: G

Runtime: 1h 43min

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Crime

Country: United States / United Kingdom

Language: English / Spanish

"An evil high-fashion designer plots to steal Dalmatian puppies in order to make an extravagant fur coat, but instead creates an extravagant mess."

You might like this if you like: Disney, Dalmatians, Dogs, Animals, Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Fashion, John Hughes, Stephen Herek, Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, Joan Plowright, Hugh Laurie, Mark Williams, John Shrapnel, TimMcInnerny, Hugh Fraser

Joely Richardson (left) & Jeff Daniels (right) in "101 Dalmatians" (1996)

Continuing my re-watch build up for Disney+’s “Cruella” (2021), I queued up the first live action adaptation of “101 Dalmatians” (1996) and had myself a wonderful time!

Very fun to jump back into the childhood! This one sort of is lopped in with the animated feature’s original viewing, having vague memories of the two sort of meshing together. Now I’m really able to see what I like or don’t like about either adaptations more clearly as an adult.

Mark Williams (left) & Hugh Laurie (right) in "101 Dalmatians" (1996)

Upon rewatching I was pleasantly surprised to recognize Jeff Daniels in the leading role, as I couldn’t have named a single actor at that young of an age, as well as, of course, the glorious Glenn Close whose face I couldn’t forget in association with just the word ‘Dalmatians’.

Both were wonderful, especially Glenn Close, as I mentioned in my review of the animated version, the character of ‘Cruella’ is by far the most interesting character in this universe / franchise. Makes 100% sense to me to give her a film of her own. But huge props to Glenn Close for being the first to bring that character to life. Not to put down Betty Lou Gerson’s incredible voice work - which in its own way certainly brought that character to life - just not as fully as I feel Glenn Close did who really got to WEAR, live and breathe inside this character.

"101 Dalmatians" (1996)

I love this movie to death, but I still favor the animated film as a whole over this one. My only issue with this version is I don’t feel as connected to the animals as I did in the original animated adaption. Of course in the animated version, you had the advantage of... well... animation and the fact that they gave narration. And talked. We could hear them and hear how they feel and what they think.

Glenn Close in "101 Dalmatians" (1996)

Overall though I still felt it was a worthy childhood classic of mine that I wanted to have in my ‘Gem Mint’ series. For Glenn Close alone, this film does it for me! A wonderful adventure, full of animals, love and fur!

Written by Sam Gall on June 16, 2021

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"Brilliant puppy wrangling, seamlessly blended with special effects, and a witty and sophisticated performance by Glenn Close as dazzlingly costumed Cruella DeVil more than compensate for spottier moments." - Malcolm Johnson, Hartford Courant

"...an entertaining, surprisingly charming update of the Disney's 1961 animated classic." - David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

"as good of a live-action Cruella as we could expect" - Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures

"One of the most hilarious films of its time, 101 DALMATIANS fits perfectly within the ranks of Disney's most outstanding remakes. Anybody want a dog biscuit? Woof woof!" - Cody W, Rotten Tomatoes

Official Trailer:

Behind the Scenes:

Available on various VOD platforms (Disney+)

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