[Screen It]


(1996) (Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels) (G)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Minor None Moderate Moderate Minor
Moderate None Moderate None Minor
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Minor Moderate Minor Mild Moderate

Childrens Live Action: Dalmatian puppies are stolen by an evil woman who wishes to make a coat from their fur.
Roger (JEFF DANIELS) and Anita (JOELY RICHARDSON) are two Dalmatian owners who meet when their dogs, Pongo and Perdy, drag them together. Love blossoms between Roger and Anita, and Pongo and Perdy, and soon the humans are married and they all live in a home with Nanny (JOAN PLOWRIGHT). Some time later, fifteen puppies are born and this raises the interest of Anita's boss, Cruella DeVil (GLENN CLOSE), a tyrannical fashion designer. She thinks she'd look good in a puppy-spotted coat, but when the couple won't sell her the puppies, she gets her henchmen, Jasper (HUGH LAURIE) and Horace (MARK WILLIAMS), to kidnap the dogs. They've collected a total of 99 dalmatian puppies for Mr. Skinner (JOHN SHRAPNEL), a scary looking taxidermist, who's ready to skin them for Cruella's coat. From then on, the animal kingdom sets out to rescue the puppies before Cruella's plan is set into motion.
Yes. For those familiar with Disney's animated version and others under the spell of the Mouse's advertising clout, they'll definitely want to see this.
For not containing material to warrant a higher rating.
  • GLENN CLOSE plays the despicable fashion heiress whose taste for fashion drives her to want a coat made of the puppies' fur.
  • JEFF DANIELS and JOELY RICHARDSON play the dogs' owners and have no bad traits.
  • HUGH LAURIE and MARK WILLIAMS play Cruella's henchmen who kidnap the puppies.


    OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
    This live action remake of the Disney animated classic is yet another attempt of the great big Mouse of digging deep into their vaults to mine another hit. That aside, and looking at this feature without focusing on the advertising and marketing muscle behind it, this is a cute, family film. The puppy wranglers should get special credits for handling all of the canines which are certainly the stars of the show. The film is unique in that it lets animals be the heroes of the plot instead of the humans, and one expects the film makers to take a"Babe" like approach (with talking animals). Even though the original animated feature had talking animals, they opted not to in this version, which is good because that might have pushed the "cute" level a bit too far. Close gives an over the top performance as Cruella and chews up the scenery to match her outrageous costumes and makeup job. Some of the plot details have been updated to modern times (Roger is a computer game developer), but none of that distracts from the main story. Kids will absolutely enjoy this film and parents won't be bored stiff, but instead will find the cute, lightweight film to be an enjoyable excursion with their children. We give it a 7 out of 10.
    There is a Mickey Mouse cartoon that precedes the actual movie. It deals with Mickey being caught up in a Frankenstein type plot where a mad scientist wants to put Mickey's brain into the body of a huge, lumbering beast. It includes: A mild amount of scary music; the phrases: "I hate..." and "Stupid"; some scary scenes involving the brain transference sequence and a thunderstorm scene (always scary to younger kids); a menacing looking giant creature with sharp and menacing teeth; and Minnie nearly falls to her death but Mickey saves her.

    As far as the feature goes, there's also some stuff that might be scary to the younger kids. Cruella's appearance (wild hair and crazed eyes) and behavior (trying to kill the puppies) may be upsetting to some kids. The Skinner character will also scare those same kids (also for appearance and behavior) and Cruella's country estate has a spooky, haunted house look to it. Beyond that there's some slapstick type violence (people running into park benches, slipping and falling, being thrown through the air, etc...), but one act stands out as disturbing for its bad message. Two characters get a severe shock from an electric fence and this, and their stumbling about afterwards, is all played for laughs. While adults might laugh at it, kids definitely will and might get the idea that electricity (and getting shocked) is funny in real life. This is a strange trend in movies aimed at a young audience and we've seen several instances of it this year. Other than all of that, kids will enjoy watching the puppies and Pongo who performs all sorts of everyday tasks for his master (turning on the shower, opening the door, etc...) Since your kids are going to want to see this, we suggest you read through the category listings before allowing them to do so.

  • Jasper and Horace drink one beer each.
  • None.
  • Obviously all of those involved in the plot to kidnap, kill and skin the puppies for their fur have both types of attitude.
  • A kid at a software company says (about video games), "It's not hatred that's important. It's the desire to annihilate."
  • Cruella is demeaning to her staff, her personal assistants, and nearly everyone else she comes in contact with (ie. She won't shake Roger's hand and then always calls him by the wrong name after that).
  • Cruella fires Anita after she won't sell her any of the puppies.
  • Cruella's wild looking appearance and maniacal behavior (sinister laughing, angry screaming) as well as the use of scary music when she appears may be scary to younger kids.
  • Skinner will also be scary to little kids not only because of his appearance (scars on his mouth and neck), but also because of what he represents (death of the puppies).
  • There's a thunderstorm scene that may be scary to kids.
  • As Pongo pulls Roger (on his bike) through the city streets, they nearly hit several cars and a large truck.
  • Jasper and Horace enter the house with panty hose over their heads and grab Nanny, push her into a closet, and then lock her inside. They then steal the puppies.
  • Cruella's place has that old, Gothic, haunted house look that will be scary to some kids.
  • As the dogs rescue the puppies from Cruella's country estate, Jasper and Horace come after them. Some kids will find this to be rather suspenseful.
  • Cruella shows up at a barn and drives a pitchfork into the hay where she thinks they're hiding.
  • Dynamite/TNT: Seen in a cartoon video game that Roger demonstrates.
  • Phrases: "Imbecile," "You fool," "Shut up," "Stinking," "I'm not going to take any more lip from you, mate."
  • Jasper and Horace are severely shocked as they land on an electric fence they were trying to jump over. The imitative part is that their shock and subsequent staggered walking are played for laughs, thus giving impressionable kids the wrong idea about the dangers of electricity.
  • None.
  • There is a moderate amount of suspenseful music in the scenes where Cruella is present and in a few other scenes.
  • None.
  • 1 use of "God" as an exclamation.
  • A character says, "The sight of these dead creatures gives me a shrinky winky." He may be referring to his private parts.
  • Cruella smokes in nearly every scene she's in.
  • After the puppies have been born, Nanny reports that one of them didn't make it. Everyone's sad (including Pongo), but Roger massages it back to life and everyone's happy again.
  • Roger, Anita and Nanny must deal with the kidnaping of their puppies.
  • That getting shocked by an electric fence might be funny in this movie, but not in real life where it's very dangerous.
  • Why Cruella wanted to kill the puppies and make a coat from their fur.
  • Cruella's license plate and company sign read: DeVil (a capitalization play on "devil").
  • An alarm clock goes off and lands on Pongo's head.
  • There is a news story about a tiger being killed at a zoo, but no footage is seen. Cruella later receives the tiger's coat, so it's implied she was responsible for its death.
  • Cruella's goal is to capture all the Dalmatians she can find, skin them, and then have a coat made from their fur. Early on, when seeing pictures of Anita's dog and remarking how a spotted coat would look nice, she says, "If we make this coat, it would be like wearing your dog."
  • A "rollerblader" smacks into a lamp post while avoiding Pongo and Roger, and another person is knocked down.
  • Roger, out of control on his bike, runs into a park bench and then flies through the air, finally landing in a pond. Later, Anita also crashes into the pond after Perdy runs her in there.
  • Anita hits Roger on the head with her handbag when she thinks he's trying to steal Perdy.
  • Roger and Anita's clothes catch on fire while drying near the fireplace (the two have other clothes on).
  • Jasper and Horace talk about Skinner and how a dog attacked him and pulled out his voice box.
  • There is the sound of Jasper punching Horace behind a closed door.
  • Cruella whacks Jasper and Horace with an umbrella in anger after Anita has refused to sell any of the puppies.
  • One of the puppies bites Jasper on the hand causing him to bash his head on a low overpass.
  • Cruella says, "Poison them. Drown them. Bash them on the head. I don't care how you kill the little beasts. Just do it, and do it now!" Jasper says he prefers to use a large pole to kill the puppies and shows how he'll do it by smashing it onto a nearby table.
  • Jasper throws his beer bottle into the fireplace.
  • Jasper and Horace throw rocks at some racoons that were messing with their truck.
  • Jasper and Horace slip on a magazine and fall to the ground, slapstick style.
  • Jasper falls through the floor, lands on a pool table below, and is nearly impaled by the horns of a mounted animal's head that falls onto the table.
  • Horace slides across the floor, breaks through the window and falls several stories into a frozen pond. He then gets out and freezes like a statue.
  • Skinner reaches out for one of the puppies that he's cornered, but another dog races up and bites him on the butt.
  • Horace turns on the heat in their truck, and a fire breaks out and they get out just as the truck is engulfed in flames.
  • A horse kicks at the barn door where Cruella is standing and knocks her backwards.
  • Cruella repeatedly jabs a pitchfork into a mound of hay where she thinks the puppies are hiding.
  • A large hog lands on top of Cruella and pins her to the ground.
  • Jasper and Horace are severely shocked as they land on an electric fence they were trying to jump over.
  • Cruella says, "I'm going to cut you off and then I'm going to cut you up."
  • Cruella falls into a vat of molasses and is completely covered in the gooey mess.
  • A horse steps down onto a floor plank sending Cruella through the roof and then down into a muddy pig pen.

  • Reviewed November 21, 1996

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