101 Dalmatians (1996) & 102 Dalmatians (2000)

Trying to lick your balls is a better way to pass the time

101 Dalmatians (1996)

Fashion designer Anita (Joely Richardson) and computer-game writer Roger (Jeff Daniels) meet, fall in love and marry along with their dalmatians Perdita and Pongo. But the proud dogs' puppies are kidnapped by Anita's boss Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close), who is stealing young dalmatians to make the coat she has set her heart on. Enlisting the help of the British animal kingdom, Pongo and Perdita set out to find and rescue all ninety-nine pups from their fearsome captors, Jasper (Hugh Laurie) and Horace (Mark Williams).

Who honestly believed that a live-action remake of the Disney cartoon classic was needed? At least there's an excuse for remakes of films that aren't American, because people are too lazy to read subtitles, but what's the excuse for a live action remake of a classic animated film? Because people are too lazy to sympathize with a character that isn't flesh and blood? In that case, let's get live action remakes for all the Disney classics. The Lion King, starring Luke Wilson as Mufasa and Owen Wilson as Scar. Lady and the Tramp, starring Portia De Rossi and Thomas Jane. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, starring Steve Buscemi as Quasimodo (no make-up required). But I digress.

Roger has been changed from a song-writer to a video-game designer, which feels dated when watched anytime after the 90s, and has changed nationalities to account for Jeff Bridges playing the role. The relationship between Roger and Anita feels underdeveloped and rushed. The jokes are handled in the typical slapstick, kiddie friendly manner that'll make children laugh and adults roll their eyes.

The only good thing which I can say about this film are the performances. While being nothing extraordinary, you can see that the actors really put their all into these roles. Glenn Close gives the most remembered performance of the film, despite managing to stray into over the top territory, but Hugh Laurie and Mark Williams give the best performances of the film.

101 Dalmatians is, without a doubt, one of the most unnecessary remakes in the history of cinema. It is a bad film, but there's nothing truly godawful about this film, which is the kindest thing I can say.

102 Dalmatians (2000)

After a spot of therapy Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close) is released from prison a changed woman. Devoted to dogs and good causes, she is delighted that Chloe (Alice Evans), her parole officer, has a dalmatian family and connections with a dog charity. But the sound of Big Ben can reverse the treatment so it is only a matter of time before Ms De Vil is back to her incredibly ghastly ways, using her new-found connections with Chloe and friends.

What's the one thing that's even more unnecessary than an unneeded remake? An unneeded sequel to an unneeded remake.

For my review of the first film, I managed to give the only bit of praise to the performances. Sadly, I cannot do the same for this film. Glenn Close goes from straying into over the top territory to constantly staying over the top throughout the entire film, which easily gets annoying. Gérard Depardieu chews the scenery like a hungry orphan in a set made of gingerbread, whilst winning the award for 'Most ridiculous looking' as he's dressed like he's starring in a Z-grade porno.

Ioan Gruffund gives a bland performance as Kevin, the obligatory love interest for Alice Evans' character, who fares no better as she's reduced to chasing after her dogs and shouting their names. Their relationship is handled unconvincingly, by the time the film directly rips-off Lady and The Tramp while intercutting scenes of the animated film, you'll be left wondering to yourself why you're not watching that film instead.

Once again, the jokes fall flat on their face. The most prominent one that can be mentioned is how Waddlesworth, the annoying parrot voiced by Monthy Python member Eric Idle, thinks he's a dog. This 'joke' wears thin due to not being funny in the first place and being stretched out, testing your patience whenever it is mentioned, leaving you wanting Cruella to make a nice hat out of Waddlesworth instead.

Like the first film, CGI are used on the dogs to allow them to do more than puppets and real-life dogs ever could. It's a shame that the CGI is more glaringly obvious this time around. It's mainly used on Oddball, who constantly annoys by getting into ridiculously implausible situations of trouble, making you want this to be the one dog Cruella makes into something to wear.

While the 101 Dalmatians remake was merely a bad film, the sequel is utterly terrible. Packed with bad performances, weak jokes, plot holes and plot conveniences, this is a formulaic, kiddy film that will get on your nerves.


H.A.K. said…
that sounds about right. I've been thinking about seeing these and reviewing them myself. maybe I'll feel the same way as you do. Good reviews Rodders.
Jamie said…
The first film had racoons in. IN ENGLAN FOR FFS! Terrible.
James Rodrigues said…
Is that all it takes for you to call a film terrible?