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|April 28, 2001||
Awaken the kid in you!
They are back. Only, this time, there are 102 of them.
Walt Disney's latest dalmatian flick 102 Dalmatians is a sequel to its 1996 uninspiring counterpart.
Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close), true to her name, established her credentials as an evil designer obsessed with dressing in garish fur coats who will go to any lengths to fulfil her lust.
Here, she is released from her rehabilitation centre, assured that she is completely cured of illness. Tough cookie Cruella crumbles soon enough the moment she lays her eyes on a cute lil puppy with spots.
She teams up with fellow heinous fur-loving French designer Le Pelt (Gerard Depardieu), and hatches a plan to smuggle 102 dalmatians for her exotic spotted outfit.
On the good side are parole officer cum dalmation owner Chloe (Alice Evans) and her animal activist friend Kevin (Ioan Gruffudd).
The duo discovers her puppies have been stolen by you-know-who. Now it's up to Oddball (an adorable spotless puppy) and Kevin's parrot Waddlesworth (voiced by Eric Idle) who considers himself a Rottweiler to rescue the dalmations from the wretched Cruella and Le Pelt.
Need I say any more? Post-interval, the film is at its predictable best. Same old gags, goofs and bungling.
It has its moments, though. Like the hilarious scene where Waddlesworth puts the cop to sleep or when Cruella starts regaining her old mean self.
It also goes without saying that Glenn Close is the heart and soul in this doggy adventure. Her menacing laughter, deafening shrieks, disgustingly fake kind-heartedness act is a treat for sore eyes. She is what wicked stuff ought to be made of.
Also, one must mention the ease with which she carries herself in the elaborate and imaginative gowns designed by Anthony Powell (nominated for the Oscars).
But the same cannot be said about Frenchman Gerard Depardieu. He is reduced to a quirky sidekick of Close.
Eric Idle, who was the voice behind the Monty Python series, has you in splits as the attitude-throwing parrot.
Director Kevin Lima (who co-directed Tarzan), doesn't fully explore the opportunities his script offers. The love angle seems quite pointless.
Composer David Newman comes up with some excellent scores giving the film and Cruella's character that extra zing.
102 Dalmatians is a film for your kids and the kid in you. All the better if you happen to love dogs or if you are a Glenn Close fan.
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