There is something slightly alarming about watching the early scenes of Cruella and realising just how much 12-year-old Estella (Tipper Seifert-Cleveland) is a sympathetic and likeable character. Where is this film going to go? Creative, rebellious, dismissive of joyless authority figures and soulless institutions – and not to mention the survivor of bullying and one especially traumatic incident – Estella’s chaotic energy and desire to operate outside the confines of conventional society is difficult not to like and even admire. How then, in this live-action prequel film, is Estella going to become the iconic villain Cruella de Vil, notorious for her murderous impulses towards dogs in Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians, plus also the 1961 Disney 101 Dalmatians animated film and the 1996 and 2000 live action films starring Glenn Close as the evil puppy killer with a flair for fashion?
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