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101 Dalmatians (Live Action)
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 101 Dalmatians is the 1996 live-action remake starring Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil. Cruella De Vil is played to the over-the-top hilt in this one: She's never without a cigarette in a holder, and she's constantly demanding that the titular dalmatians be dog-napped and skinned to make a fur coat. There is frequent pratfall comedic violence throughout the movie. The two bumbling puppy thieves are shown falling on an electric fence and getting their groins electrocuted before they're violently thrown off. The two protagonists are shown being tugged by their respective dalmatians while riding their bikes, avoiding several near-collisions and crashes before riding out of control into bodies of water.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Disney's updated movie version of 101 DALMATIANS stays true to the 1961 animated classic, with some minor changes, most noticeably the careers of the three main human characters. Instead of being a lyricist, Roger (Jeff Daniels) makes video games, and Anita (Joely Richardson) is a clothing designer for nasty Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close), a fashion maven who specializes in exotic furs. Roger and Anita are lonely singles before they're brought together by the antics of their dalmatians -- Pongo belongs to Roger, and Perdita belongs to Anita -- and it isn't long before the human couple is married and the spotted couple has a litter of 15 pups. Once Cruella gets it in her mind to have her own dalmatian fur coat, the story kicks into gear and the familiar mayhem ensues. When Cruella isn't able to buy the puppies from Roger and Anita, she hires goons to "puppy-nap" them along with 84 other dalmatian puppies, bringing the total to 99. Pongo and Perdita must set out to find the puppies and save the day, sticking it to Cruella in the meantime.
Is it any good?
Glenn Close plays Cruella with gusto, and it's easy to see that she had fun with the part. Despite the slight modernization of the story line, 101 Dalmatians retains most of the original innocence of the story. Sure, it gets a bit sappy, but it's refreshing and more appropriate viewing for younger kids when the humor isn't tongue-in-cheek and jaded. Dog lovers and fans of the animated classic are sure to enjoy this live-action version.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss villains. What makes Cruella De Vil a spectacular villain? Why doesn't Anita see right away that she's up to no good?
How does this movie compare to the original animated 101 Dalmatians?
Did the pratfall violence add humor to the movie, or did it seem a bit much? Why?
- In theaters: November 27, 1996
- On DVD or streaming: December 12, 2000
- Cast: Glenn Close, Hugh Laurie, Jeff Daniels, Joan Plowright, Joely Richardson, Mark Williams
- Director: Stephen Herek
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.