101 Dalmatians Review
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Women will sometimes go to great lengths for fashion. Just ask Winona Ryder. Or Cruella De Vil (Betty Lou Gerson), one of the most infamous movie villains of all time. The chain-smoking, fur-wearing, fast-driving villain, after all, would do anything to possess the world’s most beautiful fur coat—even if that meant breaking up a happy family and skinning poor, defenseless Dalmatian puppies.

When proud new parents Pongo (Rod Taylor) and Perdita (Cate Bauer) discover that their fifteen puppies have been dognapped by the diabolical Ms. De Vil—who will stop at nothing to turn them into a spotted fur coat—they take matters into their own hands. With a little bit of help from helpful dogs on The Barking Chain, they head out to find their puppies and bring them home.

Based on the popular novel by Dodie Smith, 101 Dalmatians is one of the most enjoyable of Disney’s animated classics. From the very beginning—when Pongo tries to find his “pet,” Roger (Ben Wright), a suitable mate—the story is every bit as entertaining as the characters are lovable. In the beginning, the story is light and funny and entertaining—but this isn’t just another fluffy kids’ movie. As soon as Cruella storms her way into the story, things become a little less funny and a little more suspenseful. The light family comedy gives way to action and adventure. And, though the story does have a few slower moments, the tension just doesn’t let up.

As with many Disney classics, though, the best thing about 101 Dalmatians is its lineup of adorable characters. From Roger, the playful (and often lovably clueless) composer, to Pongo, the loving new dad, the story is filled with solid characters that you won’t soon forget. The puppies, especially, are absolutely adorable—each with his or her own unique personality. They’re so irresistibly cute, in fact, that they’ll make you want to run right out and get yourself a puppy.

And then there’s Cruella. She’s heartless and cruel. She’s wild and devilish (hence the name). And, without her, 101 Dalmatians would be just another cute kids’ cartoon. With her two-toned hair, her white fur coat, and the ever-present cloud of toxic green smoke that follows her wherever she goes, she’s an unforgettable villain. You just don’t find anything so undeniably evil—yet still, in a way, amusing—in any other kids’ movie.

101 Dalmatians is one of those essential DVDs for your family’s collection. Though wild-eyed Cruella may be a bit scary for the youngest members of your family, the rest of the family will love every thrilling minute.

DVD Review:
The 2-disc Platinum Edition of 101 Dalmatians is another Disney DVD that requires a map to navigate. There are so many features, in fact, that you can easily pass a rainy afternoon perusing/playing them all. The first disc offers two different pop-up trivia options (one for the family and one for the fan) and a flashy Disney Channel video. The second disc offers all kinds of games, as well as a making-of feature, a feature on the creation of Cruella De Vil, and more. And though 101 Dalmatians isn’t one of the Disney classics that are known for their music, you’ll also find around 45 minutes of deleted songs and other musical features. This special edition provides all kinds of interesting features for fans of all ages—so if you haven’t already added 101 Dalmatians to your collection (or even if you have), this one’s worth picking up.

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